I’m wrapping up the tail end of a Sony Press media excursion, and while here I’ve been testing the new Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN a whole lot. After getting some initial thoughts after Photokina, I was really excited to play with the lens. It has much going for it as a wide angle, manual aperture, manual focus, and fairly compact prime lens. But one of the things that’s really great about it is how low the distortion is. In fact, it’s so low that I was confident in using it for shooting video of people.
Food Features on the Streets of Bangkok
While out here in Bangkok, we were taken into the streets of the city’s Chinatown. When I say we, I mean me and maybe around 12 other journalists from 10 or so outlets. So I put together the video above and got permission and clearance from everyone in the video. As you can see, when combined with the Sony a7r II’s image stabilization, it’s really good. The bokeh is nice, the distortion is kept fairly low, and when using my own methods of emulating the look of film, the colors are pretty great.
Because of this experience, I’m actually really confident in its use for videographers, not only due to the quality but also when you consider that the aperture can be set to be declicked. You can also use gears on the focus and aperture rings because of the grooved designs.
Mind you, this video was just shot for fun due to my having just a bit more creative freedom. I really like shooting video and before I got into stills, I was primarily a video guy. And to remind everyone, when you’re having fun and using your own creative freedom, you’ll enjoy it too.
Street Photography in Bangkok with the Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN
Now when you consider the lens for street photography, you, wait…yes I’m talking about the Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN lens for street photography and Urban Geometry (reminder: we’ve got two workshops for street photographers coming up and one is online). When used with zone focusing, it’s really effective. Plus when you consider its colors, sharpness, and the peaking system inside of Sony’s cameras then you’ve got a winner.
With this lens you’ll need to get really close to subjects and, because it’s so wide, they’ll seem like you’re further away from them than you actually are. For this reason, focusing pretty close up, around four to six feet (and stopping the lens down beyond f4 or f5.6) is ideal. Just walk up to someone about four feet away from you and shoot the photo. Otherwise, you should be zone focusing.
If you want more bokeh then realize that due to the f2 aperture you’ll be shooting and focusing really carefully. Most of the video was shot at f2. Here are more samples.
Stay tuned for our review and more reports.