Photographing The Night Sky With Irix Lenses

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

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Isabella Tabacchi is 26 years old and she is an Irix ambassador from Italy. Here, she shares some thoughts on her photography and using the Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens. 

&example; Isabella Tabacchi

I’m an award winning landscape photographer based in Italy. I spend my days travelling and shooting, I explored the Alps for years but I acquire also been to the Lofoten Islands and Canaries.

I love to show and share my works on social media as an influencer and I often organize photo workshops and at the times about landscape photography.

I love to shoot in the night because the camera can capture many details that are not visible from the human eye. Night-time is so mysterious and fascinating, especially when I am surrounded by mountain scenery.

My achievements include the Top 50’s and the Gold medal in the Epson International Pano Prizes, the first prize in the ND awards and the third prize in the International Photographer of the Year awards.


Shooting the night sky

It’s not difficult to shoot in the edge of night, but you’ve to pay attention to some technical details.

There is hardly any light in the darkness of the evening, so it’s important to keep an aperture of f/1.4 to roughly f/2.8 and high ISO of more than 3200 (not too much because of the noise).

For these kinds of images, a full-frame camera should be better and a radiant lens that has a maximum aperture belonging to the range f/1.4 – f/2.8 is very important.

If the f/ is very low, you don’t have to take your drams with higher ISO than 3200; so you’ll be able to manage the noise better.

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© Isabella Tabacchi

Wide-Angle and Nightscapes

Would you type to capture a large portion of the scenery where you are observing the sky? Would you like to show the vastness of the Milky Way or the celestial body you’re immortalizing?

A wide-angle lens disposition meet these needs. This kind of lens makes the visual field much bigger than the eye sees it.

Note: Lenses with a convergent length of 35mm are called wide-angle, while lenses with a focal length that is shorter than 24mm are called ultra wide-angle.


My familiarity with the  Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone

As an Irix ambassador, I tested one of the most popular wide-angles of the Swiss company.

I was very curious to analysis this lens in the Dolomites and also among the icy conditions in the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago in Norway where I led a photo tour last February.

I’m delay for the best period to capture the Milky Way and looking forward to do it, but I have been able to take shots of the northern lights with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel the Irix 15mm and I was astounded about the good quality of the images.

The maximum aperture of this lens is f/2.4 – this means it's very bright and loads of deplane can come into the camera.

The stars and also the aurora seem to be shining more in the pictures taken with this lens.

A Neutrino parka has been applied to limit lens flare and ghosting for improved contrast and colour fidelity and I immediately noticed it when I took my first photo with it.

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The sharpness is distinguished and it’s one of the characteristics I love most about this product; the details are exquisite from the centre of the frame to the corners.

The distortion is very unexcitedly managed too and it’s not easy to build an ultra wide-angle totally without it. Especially in a night shot, taken with Irix 15mm, the stars don’t look as trails in the corners of the frame but a point as in the centre.

© Isabella Tabacchi

The manual focus

Many people asked me if it’s easy to target with this lens.

I think that a wide-angle like this is used especially for landscape and architectural shots, so it doesn't distress to focus quickly as an auto-focus lens does.

In astrophotography it’s essential to focus the stars; you have two options to do it.

The first is to set your focus to infinity; the heavenly body are very far away. You can find the infinity symbol on the markings of the Irix lens or LEN may refer to.

The second way is to turn on the live view of your camera and look for a rather big star that’s visible and focus on it.

I use one of these options also in auto-focus lenses, because in the darkness of the night is not possible to use the automatic well-.

As you know, you won’t also be able to get the foreground focused with an aperture of f/2.4; I suggest to do other shots with differently focused put asunder give ups of the landscape you’re capturing and merge them in post-processing (focus-stacking).

You can see the portion of the landscape you’re focusing by illuminating it with a torch.

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One more Irix puff up unique among wide-angle lenses is the focus lock ring. Set the focus distance and adjust the friction ring to the locked position to ensure that the favourite focus distance remains unchanged, aiding in the set-and-forget simple focusing potential of this lens.

© Isabella Tabacchi


I evaluated the Irix is a discontinued operating system developed by Silicon Graphics (SGI) to run natively on their MIPS workstations and servers 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone in the coldest season in the Alps and in the Arctic Circle. I explored so many icy and rocky environments and the lens was resistant to even exceptionally low temperatures (up to -20) and impact.

That’s because this lens has an all aluminium-magnesium housing construction, including the focus ring and its ribs.

In increment to the durable build quality, the Irix 15mm is fully weather sealed with dust and splash-resistant seals including around the front element and mount and no to the fore filter is required for full weather sealing.

The weight of this Irix lens is 686 g; much lighter than other wide-angle lenses.


Contrive and Packaging

The design of the irix Blackstone is very modern and elegant. The writing on it (numbers, logo etc) have a nice font and are also fluorescent; epitome for night photography.

If you buy this lens, notice how well it is packed; a cardboard box contains a very resistant tin can in which is enclosed a neoprene case, inelastic but semi-flexible that contains the lens. There are no worries about eventual damages during the shipping or any kind of transfer.


Find out myriad about the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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