Irix announced the addition of a new lens to their cine lineup, the Irix 21mm T1.5 cine. This lens is an incredible lens, with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. In addition, this also (probably) means what’s coming next is an even bigger deal.
For those who know, you already know. Irix has been in the game for a while, so saying that the new lens is a great deal – is just stating the obvious. The Entire cine line up is now becoming this super coherent and usable lens set. Any filmmaker of almost any budget can aspire to own this very attainable set to get outstanding results. The Irix 21 mm is no exception to the lens set.
The Irix 21 mm boasts the same aluminum construction. A hefty body with a really nice feel. Everything from the texture of the lens to the gears, to the smoothness of the rotation of the gears. Everything feels very premium. You get a small lens foot that can be mounted to either the top or bottom of the lens. This is great for stabilizing mounts that are not native PL. The lens also features a built-in metal hood and a convex lens. More on that later.
Wide lenses are always a tough space to hit sharpness. Because of the amount of distortion that goes on under the (lens) hood, there is a lot of impacting sharpness. Needless to say, Irix did not disappoint in the sharpness department. If I was designing the lens myself, I wouldn’t make it any sharper than it is. It has a beautifully sharp image edge to edge. It also features almost no distortion. It’s great that the lens isn’t overly sharp. Wider lenses that are too sharp tend to share that mobile phone look.
One of my favorite features of the lens is the bokeh. This camera has straight-up cine level bokeh. It is incredibly creamy. Even if it’s a little hard to come by since 21mm isn’t the easiest lens to get bokeh on. But when you do, it really is magical.
Color is on point with the rest of the lineup. Very rich, vibrant colors. The colors especially stand out on the wide lens. Going to the marina was a great choice to get some footage because you can see the lens’s unique look and feel.
Lastly, the moment I am always waiting for: the Flare. The flare has small circles of the elements that make up the glass. While it has a nice retro look and is controlled very well, it comes with a couple of quirks.
A couple of quirks
As we mentioned before, the lens has a built-in lens hood. For the most part, it is great because, with a convex lens, it serves as an extra layer of protection for that beautiful glass you just dropped a lot of money on. However, the lens is a wide lens. Sometimes avoiding a flare is your only option and with a built-in lens hood.
It makes it really hard to avoid the flare since the lens is so wide. Basically, if you’re getting a flare, there is not much else you can do. An ND is irrelevant because of the convex lens. Using a matte box is an option, but you’ll want to get a nice snug fit on it. Although if you’re mounting a matte box, you’re probably not putting this on a gimbal anymore.
As I mentioned in the video. This is by no means a word of caution or to discourage you from the lens. The lens handles the flare unbelievably well. However, it is something to take into consideration when reaching for it on production.
Lastly, let’s talk about the price. Irix usually has their lenses set up to be $1,095 for the native mounts and an extra $100 for the PL mount. No idea why it’s different this time around, but on B&H, you can save a hundred bucks by buying the PL lens. My personal recommendation is to always buy PL. It’s your way of future-proofing a lens since they can be adapted to just about everything. And for the most part, there are no electronics anyway. When you move up the ladder in your camera body journey, you’ll have a lens set ready to be natively mounted.
[Update: The official MSRP price of those Cine lenses in the US is 1,195 USD and 1,295 for PL mount, B&H will probably change those prices to match MSRP soon.]
Why this changes everything
While I am happy to have gained another lens for my set, I am more excited about the next steps that Irix has planned. Based entirely on a guess, I am convinced that this is the last lens Irix makes before closing the gap between their 45mm and 150mm. I hope they make a 65/70mm or a 90 macro. In any case, whatever they’re planning, you know it’s going to be a good lens based on the performance of their other lenses in the set.
All in all, Irix has outdone themselves. The Irix 21mm t1.5 superseded all my expectations and keeps all the good quality that I have come to expect from Irix. The lens is already available for purchase, you should really try to jump on the B&H deal before someone figures it out.