Irix 11mm F4 Review Posted

Widest rectilinar prime lens for Pentax full frame

By bdery in Review Announcements on Aug 1, 2018

Irix is a newcomer in the photography market.  The manufacturer seems intent, for the moment at least, on offering high quality wide-angle lenses. The company has a growing user base and its products certainly garner interest. After testing the ultra wide angle Irix 15mm F2.4, we venture even further in extreme wide angle territory with our review of the Irix 11mm F4!

Like the 15mm, the Irix 11mm lenses are offered in two optically identical version. The Firefly is the cheaper variant, with a lighter plastic body, while the Blackstone is definitely more high-end, sporting a metal alloy body, full weather sealing and a few extra perks.

Like its sibling, the Irix 11mm is a full-frame rectilinear lens. Making such a wide focal length rectilinear is impressive (it covers a whopping 126° diagonally). Did the designers manage to preserve optical performance or is the lens too much of a compromise? Being more of a specialized product, user reviews of the 11mm are scarce.

In this in-depth review we try to answer these questions and see just how good the  Irix 11mm F4 can be.  Is it as good as the company's 15mm? Read on to find out!

Irix 11mm F4 Firefly & Blackstone Review

Pentax K-1 II vs K-1 Autofocus Test

An early but detailed look at autofocus with the K-1 II

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jul 13, 2018

Continuing our series of "first impressions" hands-on tests with the K-1 II camera, and prior to publishing our complete camera review, today we will take a look at the autofocus performance of the K-1 II.

From the beginning, a lot of emphasis has been put in the K-1 II’s increased ISO range and, even more, on the accelerator unit supposed to improve high ISO handling. However, the K-1 II also offers better AF tracking and general AF speeds, at least according to Ricoh representatives.

This article will look at the K-1 II's AF performance in detail. First, single AF will be studied. We will then evaluate AF-C in a variety of scenarios. In each case, we directly compare the K-1 II to its predecessor, the K-1.

Review of the Photocross 13 Sling Bag by Mindshift Gear

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jun 18, 2018

Always interested in fleshing out their lineup of bags for active photographers, Mindshift Gear recently released their first sling bag, the Photocross.

While most of the company's products are large bags meant to be used on long outings, allowing the photographer to carry hiking and camping essentials as well as photography equipment, the Photocross is designed for a lighter load. This does not mean the bag is in any way less rugged. The bag uses weather-resistant materials and shows that the company gave a particular thought to the needs of winter photographers.

The bag is available in two sizes, called 10 and 13 (referring to the maximum screen size of the electronics they can carry, and not to the internal volume). We tested the larger version.

Continue on to the Mindshift Photocross Bag Review

Irix 15mm F2.4 Firefly & Blackstone Review Posted

Ultra-wide full-frame lenses for Pentax

By bdery in Review Announcements on Jun 11, 2018

It is rare to see a total newcomer make its mark on the conservative photography market. This is especially true regarding lenses: the main actors are essentially the same as they were some decades ago, with a few names disappearing but almost no newcomers.

Things have begun to change in recent years, with new brands emerging and trying to make a name for themselves. One such brand is Irix, which released its first product in 2016. The lens in question, the 15mm F2.4, is an ultra wide angle, rectilinear full frame lens with manual focus but fully automated exposure. It comes in two versions, optically identical but with different bodies. The more expensive version sports a metal body and weather sealing. With such a list of features, the Irix 15mm F2.4 has caught the interest of many photographers— especially Pentax K-1 shooters, faced with limited ultra-wide options available from Pentax.

In this review we put the Irix 15mm lens through its paces and see if it can deliver on its promises. How does this newcomer perform? Read our review to find out!

Continue to the Irix 15mm F2.4 Firefly & Blackstone Review

Comparing the 3 Pentax FA Limited Primes

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each lens?

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on May 22, 2018

The three FA Limited lenses, often called the Three Princesses or Three Amigos, present many similarities but also a few significant differences. Now that we have completed our in-depth review of each on full frame, we can more easily compare them and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. In this short article, I will give my very personal evaluation of each lens.

In case you missed the recent reviews, here are some quick links:

The similarities between the three lenses relate mostly to those elements which contribute to their reputation. Build quality is superb in a small package. Colors, contrast and general rendering really set the lenses apart from many others. The so-called 3D rendering is consistent among the three models. Colors are rich and, more importantly perhaps, gradations are subtle and gradual, without any harsh transitions. In all cases, center sharpness is excellent at most apertures.

Chromatic aberration and vignetting are the weak points of the three FA Limiteds. Moreover, the 43mm and 77mm show softer corners at wider apertures. Because of this, these two lenses are maybe better suited for portraits or anything requiring subject isolation. On the other hand, the 31mm shows the most consistent sharpness figures.

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