Irix has been pursuing a very interesting strategy with its cine lenses, starting with the long 150mm macro, then going far to the other end of the spectrum with a super wide 11mm prime. An 11mm lens, especially when covering full-frame, has an impressively wide field of view, getting you close to something like an 8mm from the Academy days. Not as wide as the 5.9mm Kinoptik, but really darn wide.

Available in all the major mounts including PL, covering full-frame sensors, and with a repeatable focus ring, this is a lens that filmmakers should definitely have on their radar for a few key situations where it's going to be very clutch.

We first got a chance to shoot with the Irix 11mm quite a bit earlier last summer when working on our Wheelie Boyz video. For that kind of action-oriented work, with stabilized cameras on bikes and moving cyclists, it was an absolute joy.

But there are a host of other applications where we think it's worth considering.


The Ultra-Wide Frame

Since ultra-wide angle lenses are popular in sports and action, this was a great chance to get a handle on how the lens performs in both day and night environments, and we walked away very impressed.

The wide field of view delivered by the 11mm focal length made the most sense in these situations since we were specifically interested in something smooth, and the wider the lens, the smoother your image when the shot is moving. The combination of the DJI RS2 with the 11mm gave us slick images that, frankly, shocked us with what we were able to create on such a limited budget.


Small Locations and Tight Spaces

We got to keep shooting with the 11mm for a bit, and there is another application that we thought filmmakers should keep in mind as they consider this lens: small room work.

We've all booked a job with a script that says something like "two characters talk in a New York studio apartment bathroom" or "two characters have a heart-to-heart in a dorm room." Working in such spaces is always a challenge when the production goes on location instead of building a set with a flyaway wall.

Aside from the obvious issue of where to hide your lights, you also end up limited by your coverage. You usually can't get the camera very far from the scene, and if you are on your widest normal prime (an 18mm or even occasionally 16mm prime) and the director says, "I'd like to be a bit wider," you are out of luck.


With the 11mm, that's no longer the case. Even in tiny spaces, you can get wider shots.

When switching to a wide lens, our big worry is getting distorted faces, but this lens held up surprisingly well with reproducing faces without unpleasant distortion. As you can see from the shot, the statue of Robert Moses is not nearly as distorted, even when moving up close, as you might normally expect from such a wide lens. 

This opens up a whole other world of shooting in tight spaces. But with something like this lens, combined with a full-frame sensor and a small camera body, you actually could get away without major facial distortion.


Drawback and Limitations

The biggest drawback to the lens is the maximum aperture of T3, which is just a touch slower than a T2.8.

Of course, every single lens you will ever work with will have some drawbacks. It's always about balancing performance versus price. To give you 11mm in combination with full-frame coverage at an affordable price point, you will have to give something up, and that something is a wide aperture. 


In the vast majority of situations, shooting at a T3 is going to be just fine. However, if you are planning a night exterior (like we did with the Wheelie Boyz video), you should pair this with something that gives you stronger low-light performance. A Sony A7s III or a Blackmagic 6K Pro comes to mind. You're going to be able to get good results in those situations.

If you want to pair this with a RED Komodo for a night exterior, you might have to put on more noise correction in post.

Some might wonder about the suggestion of pairing it with a Super 35mm camera like the BMPCC 6K Pro, but honestly, 11mm is still pretty darn wide on a Super 35mm sensor, so we think it makes a good pairing in that situation with the EF mount version.


Like the 150mm lens before it, this is another lens from Irix that opens up possibilities for the busy independent filmmaker that might not otherwise be possible while not breaking the bank.

If you understand the limitations of the aperture, the optical performance of this lens is amazing for the price point. Action, sports, and real estate shooters need this lens on their radar, and indie filmmakers frequently booking location jobs in tiny sets should have this in the back of their minds as well.

Check out weekly specials, deals, and rebates: Pro Video GearPro Audio GearLighting