It can be tough to find that ideal sweet spot among cinema lenses. The great ones are too expensive, while the cheaper ones could exhibit inexcusable flaws… Or, even if you’ve found that middle ground, it may not even be a full-frame lens. So, it’s rare to find a cine lens, like this here Irix 45mm T1.5, that meets all those three criteria – (relatively) attainable, great visual quality, and a rugged build.
The Irix 45mm T1.5 full-frame cinema lens is an attractive addition to their line-up, featuring many of the features that you and I are looking for. Especially, with more video-focused lenses that cater well to the needs of videographers and other cinematic works. Having been in the business for some time, you’d expect Irix to craft something that’s nothing short of impressive. Indeed, it’s a great one.
Built To Last Any Shoot
As far as build quality goes, the Irix 45mm T1.5 cinema lens features an all-metal construction and an abundance of weather sealing. There are enough rubber rings here to keep out dust, rain, and anything in between. Thus, it’s not a surprise that the Irix 45mm T1.5 feels robust in the hand, in addition to its satisfying weight. Yet, it weighs just about 1.1kg, so it’s not as cumbersome to lug around with you.
With any manual-focused lens like it, you’d naturally want the aperture and focus rings to be smooth and easy to use. This is a typical oversight with cheaper lenses, which makes those quick adjustments while on a shoot tougher (and more annoying) than it needs to be. Thankfully, the Irix here is great to use, with a pleasant volume of tactile dampening. On top of that, it’s got a long focus throw, too.
Adding to the niceness of the experience, I appreciate Irix’s attempt in making the markings just a bit more legible, so that they’re easier to read, even in low light. Besides their top-notch build, Irix is also keen to showcase the immense versatility of the 45mm T1.5 cinema lens. Of course, we all know that a good cinematography setup won’t be complete without a few other accessories to bolt onto.
Enough Accessories For Days
This could be something as simple as rigging the lens with a follow focus. Given how the grooves are designed on the lens, the cut-outs make it so that your follow-focus gears can connect with it handily enough. Or, you could try using the included lens support for additional stability, or mount the entire thing onto a gimble. Its focus on customizability doesn’t end there, as we’ve yet to discuss mounts.
As you’re seeing here, our Irix 45mm T1.5 full-frame cinema lens is fitted with a Canon RF mount. It can be specified with a wide variety of other mounts, including Nikon Z, Sony E, Leica, Canon EF, Arri PL, and Micro Four Thirds. Elsewhere, it’ll also accommodate numerous sensor types out there, such as Full Frame 35, Super 35, Red Dragon 6K, Arri Alexa, APS-C, MFT, Super 16, and Sony Venice.
In our case, we’ve fitted it onto a Canon R5C. Alternatively, if you’re keen on trying out a unique shot, it comes with an 86mm thread to install additional filters. Albeit, it works best when you throw on an Irix filter, using their unique magnetic mounting system. This same system doesn’t, however, let your attachments lock permanently to the lens. So, be careful when you’re grabbing it by the lens hood.
How Much Flare Is Too Much
So then, how did the lens itself actually perform? As we’ve noted earlier, it comes with a 45mm fixed focal length. If you’ve been shopping around, then you’ll know that this is a very specific focal length to be toying around with. Typically, industry-standard focal lengths are either 35mm or 50mm. Folks might say that Irix’s 45mm T1.5 sits comfortably in that sweet spot between the former two.
In the end, it’s up to personal preference. I didn’t have any other lenses to quickly hot-swap with, but I’ve learned that it’s a versatile enough focal length that it could adapt well to a variety of situations, rewarding you with satisfying videos at the end of a long shoot. Elsewhere in the box, the Irix 45mm T1.5 full frame comes with a lens hood, as well. That should help with cutting down the excess flare.
Personally, I would’ve preferred a bit more flare to come from the lens (with the lens hood off, mind). Seeing that in the frame can invite a shot that feels more cinematic and characterful – at least, to my eyes. The Irix here doesn’t completely nail that. But besides the point, it’s hardly a deal-breaker, and it’s still a pretty good lens as a whole. This is where we can uncover two distinct downsides.
As we’ve discussed already, there’s not a lot of lens flare in the shot – whether you’d want that or not. Other than that, we’ll have to come back to the focal length. 45mm is a very specific focal length. So, it might not appeal to those who’d prefer a wider lens or one that’s more zoomed-in. Yet, if a flexible and all-arounder focal length for day-to-day shoots is what you want, 45mm is a good sweet spot.
Quality Fitting For Top-Tier Videography
Another aspect of the Irix 45mm T1.5 cinema lens that we’ve yet to discuss is the aperture. At T1.5, it can go as high as T22. What we’re ideally looking for in cinematography is a lens that lets more light in, has a shallow field of focus and has a really nice fall-off for those blurry backgrounds. On top of that, a lot of shooters are also looking for a good amount of bokeh in addition to the image fall-off.
So, does Irix deliver? Indeed, this 45mm T1.5 cine lens achieves this target easily. That’s partly thanks to their inclusion of 9 rounded aperture blades. Another plus point is the lack of obvious distortion on the corners of the frame – Irix claims a distortion value of just 0.5%. It’s an especially neat bonus for a camera lens in this price range, where cheaper lenses can exhibit noticeable distortion in the shot.
Elsewhere, Irix’s 45mm T1.5 cine lens further pleases the eyes with its sharpness and contrast. And in addition to this, it features low focus breathing and highlights colors very well. Clearly, Irix has done its homework when putting together the 11 optical elements inside. If you want to fine-tune it even further, bringing it up to T2.8 and T4 could help to improve contrast and sharpness in some cases.
In this aperture range, chromatic aberration also seems to improve in T2.8 compared to T1.5. If your eyes are noticing any vignetting in the shot, it might also be worth bringing it up to T4 to get rid of it. Altogether, even out of the box, the quality is still respectably good and you’d be hard-pressed to get another cinema lens out there at this price range that’s on a similar playing field for sheer quality.
A Worth-While Pick For First Timers
In all, the Irix 45mm T1.5 full-frame cinema lens is a fantastic bit of kit given how much it’s worth. On that note, we’ve yet to mention the price, so here goes… It retails for $1,200, although you’ll need to pony up $1,300 if you want one that’s compatible with the PL mounts. On a side note, the PL mounts rob you of one rubber seal for weather-proofing – 4 instead of 5 in the other variants available.
If you take a peek at other cine lenses, you’re often looking to spend much, much more. Yet, this Irix 45mm T1.5 full frame lens still gets you excellent build quality. Furthermore, it has a lot of versatility should you need to install filters, follow focuses, and other accessories to rig it up. But if you’re using the bare lens itself, the quality of the images and shots are above part of what its price suggests.
The only downsides that I’ve been able to find are the (somewhat) odd choice of a 45mm fixed focal length, as well as the lack of lens flare. But then again, both of which are hardly negatives that your mind will have to worry too much about. If you’re looking to get a cinema lens for the first time and want a great jack of all trades as a starting point, the Irix 45mm T1.5 is worthy of consideration.
Irix 45mm T1.5 Full Frame (RF Mount) Cine Lens Specs
|Full Frame (43.3mm)
|T1.5 To T22
|Minimum Focusing Distance
|0.8 Gears (With 119 Teeth)
|Metric & Imperial
|0.8 Gears (With 110 Teeth)
|Front Filter Thread
|5x Rubber Rings (4x For PL Mount)
|Dimensions (Length x Diameter)
|Canon EF Mount
|Sony E Mount
|Arri PL Mount
|Canon RF Mount
|Nikon Z Mount
|Canon EF Mount
|Sony E Mount
|Arri PL Mount
|Canon RF Mount
|Nikon Z Mount
|Front Lens Cap
|Rear Lens Cap