IRIX 150mm f/2.8 1:1 Dragonfly Macro (Mantids & others ...)

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John Koerner
John Koerner Contributing Member • Posts: 629
IRIX 150mm f/2.8 1:1 Dragonfly Macro (Mantids & others ...)

Back to the subject of macro photography ...

The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Dragonfly is a unique lens, both that is is very inexpensive (~ $600), yet it is also a very good performer. While it may not be the proverbial "sharpest tool in the shed," it does perform quite well, sharpness-wise, but (more importantly) it simply feels good and handles nicely in the field. It performs admirably by any metric.

While the Irix may not break any categories, in any "one" area, it handles ALL areas quite competently ... if not excellently.

The over-sized, rubber focusing ring is instantly recognizable, tactically, and the overall impression is this is a "Glock" of a macro lens. By that I mean, like the ultra-durable "use under any conditions" Glock pistol, the Irix 150 DragonFly also feels as if it is made from "composite alloy" ... read, durable. You don't have to worry about "damaging your fragile/expensive Zeiss," or otherwise be forced to handle it with kid gloves. You can just use this lens and enjoy it. The 270° of manual-focusing rotation is smooth and precise. (Its best aperture values are f/4 - f/8.)

If I had to criticize the lens, I would say the color/contrast are somewhat muted compared to some of the finest comparable lenses. (I compared it side-by-side with the Zeiss 135 APO Sonnar, the Micro-Nikkor 200 f/4, the Micro-Nikkor 105 f/2.8, and the Laowa 100 f/2.8 CA Dreamer. I have also owned the Canon 180 f/3.5 for many years.)

That said, here are some images (all single-shot, natural light, non-posed, authentic "as found") that I've taken with it over the last several months. There is nothing special about my images, I was just shooting/testing this lens around home.

Bottom line, if you like shooting on a tripod, and are looking for more reach, the Irix 150 Dragonfly definitely a nice lens and a pleasure to use (5000 px images):

Arizona Mantid ♂ (Stagmomantis limbata)

Arizona Mantid ♀ (Stagmomantis limbata)

Gray Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca nitens)

Leafhopper Assassin Bug (Zelus renardii), guarding Oleander Aphids (Aphis nerii), heavy crop

Scarlet Monkey Flower (Mimulus cardinalis)

Hillside Gooseberry (Ribes californicum)

Western Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum)

Iris oratoria ♀ cannibalizing an 'errant breeding effort' from a Stagmomantis limbata ♂ (Note: 2nd S. limbata male observing in the background ...)

Iris oratoria ♀ cannibalizing a second errant Stagmomantis limbata ♂ breeding effort' ...

Again, none of these subjects was touched, manipulated, or posed in any way ... they were each photographed exactly as found and observed.

Hope you enjoy ... and comments welcome.


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