Nisi brings its first wide-angle lens to the market. And it does so by entering through the big door. It is the new Nisi 15mm f4, a very compact lens, volatile and that will give us more than fine results with a good sharpness. These last two months I have been lucky enough to test it and I come to tell you about it.
This wide-angle lens is available for Sony E, Fujifilm X, Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts, which thanks to its wide focal length of 14.5 mm makes it an ideal lens for landscape, architecture or other categories as it offers a perspective that covers a large field of view with very little distortion. It has a maximum aperture of f4, more than enough for daytime situations. However, its operation is completely manual, so to focus and change the aperture we must do it by turning the focus wheels. As it is manual, it does not incorporate EXIF data of the aperture either.
The construction is quite solid and of high quality. It has dimensions of only 75.6 mm x 80.5 mm and a weight of 470 grams, which for me is one of its great advantages, since for my adventure or mountain trips I always look for a small and light equipment but at the same time robust and of high quality. So in this aspect it is perfect if you are also looking for low weight and small size. Being a very small lens has a diameter of 72mm, so it allows us to incorporate 100mm filters, something also to consider if we are looking for space in our backpack.
Another great advantage of the Nisi 15mm f4 is its minimum focusing distance. We can focus on any element that is only 20cm away from the lens, which is ideal for flowers, for example.
One of the strongest points of this lens is its 'sunstar', which is achieved by aiming at any strong light source (sun, street lamps, etc.) It is a 10-blade sunstar, as the diaphragm is composed of 5 blades. These rays are straight, long and pronounced, creating a quite attractive sunstar. Although this varies greatly with individual tastes. Best of all, unlike other lenses, there is no need to close the diaphragm to create a sunstar. With an aperture of f4 we can also capture it, although somewhat smaller. Here are some photos of the sunstar at f4, f9 and f16 to show you the small difference.
Regarding flares, they can become noticeable at a certain angle when photographing against the light. In my tests I have seen that at a very specific angle it produces three types of flares, two very small ones that are very easy to correct and a larger one that may give us a headache if we want to clone it. So when shooting in very strong backlit conditions we may have to resort to a lens cap to avoid this problem or simply change the angle. At night, in low light conditions we can also get to appreciate them at a certain angle when they look strong as streetlights, but they are easy to control.
It has more than enough sharpness both in the center and in the corners. Obviously in the center it reaches its highest sharpness, but as we go to the corners it doesn't lose too much. Here are three photos at f8 (sweet spot) at 100% magnification so you can see the difference in sharpness in the center, middle and corners.
Vignetting is quite noticeable and persistent at all apertures, but it is no problem that cannot be corrected, for example with 'profile corrections' in Lightroom.
The chromatic aberrations produced by the Nisi 15mm f4 are also very noticeable on the sides and corners of the photos, something quite common in almost all wide-angle lenses when we face high contrast situations. Again, nothing we can't easily correct with a single click.
Undoubtedly a very versatile manual lens that has surprised me a lot for the incredible price it has (479€). The minimal distortion, good sharpness, sunstar, weight and size make it a lens that is on par with many others around a much higher price. It is true that there are some details such as flares at specific angles or chromatic aberrations that can be a drawback, but they are easily correctable in post-production.
Examples of photographs taken with the Nisi 15mm f4:
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