Irix seems to have taken a change of direction from their previous 11mm f/4 and 15mm f/2.4 ultrawide prime lenses. They’ve now officially announced their new 150mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro lens. Designed for full frame Nikon F, Canon EF and Pentax K mount cameras, the 150mm f/2.8 Macro comes in a new “Dragonfly” finish, which they say combines the best of the previous Blackstone and Firefly designations.
As with previous Irix lenses, this is a manual focus lens. So, it seems designed more for controlled precision macro work in the studio rather than chasing bees around your garden. The 1:1 reproduction ratio and long focal length should offer a great working distance for photographing small subjects.
- Focal length: 150mm
- Format: 35mm “full frame”
- Mount: Nikon F, Canon EF, Pentax K
- Max aperture: f/2.8
- Min aperture: f/32
- Field of view: 16° (diagonal)
- Minimum focus distance: 34.5cm
- Focus: Manual
- Focus throw: 270°
- Magnification: 1:1
- Aperture blades: 11
- Optics: 12 elements in 9 groups
- Filter thread: 77mm
- Dimensions: 87 x 135mm (without lens hood or tripod collar)
- Weight: 840g
The new Dragonfly designation combines the features of the previous Firefly and Blackstone models to provide lightness while still providing high mechanical strength, a solid feel, and weather resistance. Irix says that the new 150mm f/2.8 Macro lens has been sealed on the front element, the focus lock ring, the focusing ring and the bayonet mount for maximum protection in harsh conditions.
Of course, with a manual focus lens this long, that has such a huge focus throw, I can’t imagine this being used much in crazy environments. Perhaps if you’re shooting video and have a focus puller or remote follow focus unit that can adjust focus quickly. The 270° focus throw certainly affords that opportunity.
The 150mm, as you might have guessed, comes with a lens hood and tripod collar. The collar comes with an Arca-Swiss compatible foot, so it should fit straight into any compatible tripod head without an adapter plate. It also comes with a rigid lens case for transport and storage.
I’ve always preferred long focal lengths for macro work. I never saw the point in macro lenses less than 100mm unless you’re photographing something that’s backlit. With short macro lenses, it’s often too difficult to light it without the lens itself affecting it.
Of course, some shorter macro lenses now have LEDs built into the front to help with this problem. But I still prefer longer macro lenses like these (my favourite being a Nikon 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor) so I have the freedom to get the light exactly the way I want it without the closeness of the lens interfering.
Pricing and availability on the Irix 150mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro is not yet available and will come at a later date. But it will be available in Nikon F, Canon EF and Pentax K mount flavours. If you want to see it for yourself and happen to be in Cologne this week, it’ll be on display during Photokina 2018 in hall 4.2 on stand D030.