Barrel distortion is a common problem among wide-angle lenses and Irix is the latest company to tackle the issue with a new design.
Lens startup Irix is launching its latest option and it is an 11mm lens designed to minimize distortion and maximize usability.
Irix, a group of photographers and engineers working together to develop lenses and accessories, displayed the 11mm f/4 lens at Photokina late in 2016, but now the details are out. The lens will come in two different variations, selling for $599 and $825.
Wide-angle lenses are notorious for barrel distortion where the image appears to curve toward the edges and the wider the lens, the more obvious the distortion becomes. Irix says the lens is unique because it is designed specifically to minimize that distortion — in fact, the company says the lens is rated with as low as 3.13 percent distortion. The 11mm uses four refractive lenses, two ED lenses, and three aspherical lenses to make that minimal distortion happen. With all those pieces, the lens uses 16 elements in 10 groups.
The lens can focus as close as 0.9 feet away. The nine-blade aperture, while not as bright as the company’s first lens, ranges from f/4 to f/22. The lens doesn’t use threads at the front for filters, but a rear slot allows for the use of gelatin filters.
While the optics remain the same, Irix offers two different housing options to cater to different needs. The Firefly is lightweight, designed for travel and the most affordable of the two. The Blackstone variation, on the other hand, is designed for durability and weather sealing over portability, with an aluminum-magnesium alloy and even glow-in-the-dark markings for making adjustments during those low-light shoots. Both lenses include a focus lock control and an infinity click stop.
The lens is only the second for Irix, behind a 15mm f/2.8. The company plans to release a 45mm f/1.4 lens next.