WHILE THERE’S NO DOUBT that the emergence of mirrorless cameras has enabled brands to push new technology, it could also be argued that lenses for these full-frame mirrorless cameras can be a little on the pricey side. Step forward NiSi, who could have the perfect solution for landscape and architecture photographers who are looking for excellent image quality without wanting to break the bank. It comes in the shape of the 4/15mm lens – a manual focus optic with a 15mm focal length and a max aperture of f/4.

Of course, NiSi is best known for its range of excellent filter products, offering holders and ND/ND grad accessories. The brand has released cinema lenses before, so has pedigree in the lens making game, but the 4/15mm is NiSi’s first lens for what can be called general photography.

Available for Canon RF, Nikon Z, Sony E and Fujifilm X-mounts, the lens is lightweight and highly portable, measuring just 7.5cm long and tipping the scales at only 470g – this makes this optic suitable for pro photographers who are looking to travel light or for those who don’t have much room in their kit bags.

The build of the lens is interesting and features a ‘12 elements in 10 groups’ design and this includes one aspherical and two Extra-Low Dispersion elements to provide enhanced image quality. If you’ve always relied on autofocus then the 4/15mm won’t need too much getting used to. The wide focus ring gives a lot of precision and, with the ability to magnify the live preview on a big LCD, you should have no problems achieving sharp focus.

One of the best USPs about this lens is its 10-bladed aperture, which creates fabulous starburst effects from light sources in the scene. This could work well with landscapes making use of the sun in the frame, or there could be multiple starbursts from streetlamps when capturing architectural imagery at dusk – the applications are numerous and serve to add interest to the frame.

A smaller ring around the lens barrel enables the aperture to be changed quickly and the 4/15mm features a 72mm filter thread, enabling users to quickly add a holder and make use of those impressive NiSi ND filters that so many landscape photographers love to use.

The critical judgement on a lens of this nature though tends to be made based on price and performance. Costing just £429, the 4/15mm is great value and the quality of the images helps it punch well above its weight. After reviewing my test imagery, I’d place the 4/15mm on a level with optics costing twice the price.

Verdict

GREAT VALUE AND offering excellent image quality, the NiSi 4/15mm fills a genuine gap in the market and will be of particular interest to landscape shooters who have the time to make the most of a manual focus lens that is light, compact and incredibly well built. Now view the video review above.

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