Irix team, Irix brand, Irix product – how has it all started?
Can you imagine? It was only two years ago that a brand called Irix was established!
But to be honest, its creation and gestation took place over a much longer period than that. It was a concept that began in the hearts and minds of a bunch of photographers who – along with their passion and enthusiasm for photography – were developing a dream. Their dream. They wanted a brand that would create the photographic products they had always wished to have in their hands.
In short, Irix was a photographer’s dream.
And that is how the brand appeared – a brand that has been built up from a combination of many years of experience, deep technical knowledge and a team of professional photographers.
Each of us is different, and not only because of our nationality. We’re all crazy about photography in different ways. Some will just pack themselves and the whole family up and fly them from Europe out to South America in order to travel all around Chile just so they can test out a new Irix lens. Others will have spent several sleepless nights just so they can grab that perfect moment of night sky. Others hunt… well, for planes in the sky. Some prefer studio photography. Many remain traditional in their approaches. But many of us are, perhaps, not so entrenched!
We are active photographers who love travelling and bring tons of memories & photos from each trip
But if one is to realize a dream project, it would mean we would need a name. And contrary to expectations, this is one of the hardest parts of the dream. How does one come up with a name that will be original, easy to remember and, ideally, bring some meaning close to photography? After an uncountable number of hours and hundreds of propositions, it was “IRIX” which emerged. “Irix” is a derivative from the word “Iris”. It’s your eyes and your imagination. That is how photography was born.
Regardless of the fact that the team consisted of photographers from different countries, we decided to choose two countries to start up the business and from those places. Switzerland was the country that first gathered all the Irix team, and Korea was chosen as the company’s production centre.
First post ever appeared on Irix facebook profile
The first event that we made an appearance as Irix was at the NEC in Birmingham, in October 2016. It was there the team presented both of their wide-angle lenses, but officially the first Irix lens was the 15mm f/2.4 – an ultra-wide, ultra-high quality lens which has quickly gained plenty of loyal fans around the globe.
Our first photo fairs – at the NEC in Birmingham, 2016
Since 2016 our sales team have completed a tremendous amount of work to make Irix products available worldwide. Therefore Irix is present in the whole of Europe. And even better, after two years of hard work, you can now find them in many countries around the world!
Irix market coverage
And this number is consistently increasing. Only last month the Irix community expanded into three more countries – Mexico, India and Canada.
In general, along with delivering high quality products, we wanted to create a community of passionate photographers who wished to express themselves through their photographs and never stop developing (pun not intended!). Thus, to attract the attention of as many enthusiasts as we could, we began travelling across the globe to take part at photographic events like Photokina in Cologne, Salon de la Photo in Paris, Photo Plus in New York, and so on. These meetings are also an amazing source of feedback and an opportunity to meet up and talk with passionate photographers who already had an Irix or planned to test it.
Irix team at Photokina 2018
Needless to say, the Irix team are not the only employees of the brand. There is also a very strong community of Ambassadors from around the world. These are the people who live their lives in photography, people who have built themselves up into a very strong community of photographic enthusiasts and are able to share their knowledge with others. The number of Ambassadors is also growing all the time. Only during the last twelve months, fifteen professionals have joined the Irix team; people who believed in Irix, and agreed to become a part of the team. These are men and women who spend their time climbing mountains, chasing the sun, go hunting for the northern lights, blend into crowded streets or, in contrast, go looking for abandoned places and in turn overcoming their fatigue, fear and doubts to continue developing the art of photography.
Coming back to Irix products, some people have been asking us why we started with the 15mm lens. The answer to this is simple: We wanted a wide-angle lens which was lightweight and reasonably sized so that it would fit every bag or backpack of the landscape photographer, but with the aim of providing many functionalities. Functions like the front thread are for use on all ranges of square and round filters, but there is a removable lens hood for more compact sizes, and equipped with a filter window enabling the CPL filter to be easily rotated. There is a focus lock that enables the use of the lens in all conditions, day and night, and a rear filter in case having a front filter isn’t enough. There’s an infinity click allowing the user to feel where the infinity position is, but without continuously checking the scale – they simply have to feel it. In addition, there’s an AE chip for easier post processing pictures with your favourite software, and it is weather and dust sealed to survive difficult conditions.
All of the above have been packed into the body of one lens to provide the most versatile lens available on the market. It is a lens that is breaking all standards, a lens that naturally meets all modern requirements about extreme low distortion, coma and chromatic aberration, plus with high resolution and a great F stop. To make it better for photographers when making their choice, we dressed it into two different housing finishes. We believed at the very start that the goal we had set ourselves would seem impossible, but we made the dream come true – a photographer’s dream.
The 15mm was our first dream, but then came another; a dream about another lens that would cross all borders. It was to be the widest rectilinear full frame ever made. That’s how the Irix 11mm came to be. Again there would be no compromises as regards distortion, resolution and functionalities. Again it is loaded with a focus lock, infinity click, weather sealing and a rear filter slot. Again with two finish options. Doing things again. And again to get it right.That’s how we work. If we receive positive feedback we keep battling with physics, mechanics, and accountants to give you the best piece of glass available at a reasonable price. Yes, accountants hate us, but they have to accept that this is what we do!
One of the first Irix 15mm lens, NEC in Birmingham, 2016
So how can such a (still) small team be working together in different parts of the globe? Well, while modern reality undoubtedly facilitates such an issue, you never know when you’ll have to make that conference call at 2 am
Now what are Irix’s aspirations? Well, we’re looking at seeing further growth within the photographers’ community, bringing them added value and strengthening the international brand. We’re still a young company and chasing ever-ambitious goals, but we strongly believe in what we’re doing. Every year, month and day we are meeting more and more people who, like us, love photography with all their hearts.
These are our Partners, our Clients.
This is YOU!