On the road with the new Tokina Firin 20mm
As being a dedicated Sony shooter for close to 5 years and a Tokina ambassador this day could not come any sooner. I got notice by the Tokina staff in early Spring of 2016 that my dream of a Tokina e-mount lens line was quickly becoming a reality.
Till now, I've always used the Tokina Canon based line and use a Sigma Mc-11 adapter to attach my Tokina glass to the Sony e-mount line of cameras. One of my favorite pieces of glass by far is the Tokina 11-20mm f2.8. Some time in July I got asked to come in to take a look at a certain something. I really had no idea what was going on at all. I arrived, was greeted at the front and was lead into the conference room.
Long story short, they pulled out a prototype of one of the first Tokina Firin 20mm that they have ever made and placed it right in front of me on the table. I seriously could not believe my eyes! I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. If anyone knows me when I get excited I get so darn stoked I can't contain myself. I fell instantly in love with the form factor, size, weight and feel. My jaw basically dropped to the floor.
I couldn't take it out in the field just yet because they needed it for a line up of show for the rest of the Summer into early Fall. But when the dust settled I was the first hands they trusted it to taking it into the field on a recent trip to Oregon.
Before I get into the general specs, details about the lens all that stuff that you can actually see online at www.tokinausa.com I rather show you why I LOVE this lens so much through proof. Like that old saying goes. "The proof is in the pudding." As you will notice in the images I've posted this lens is a work horse capturing stunning imagery in the surf, landscape and even at night. I might be ambassador for the company but I will and always be brutally honest, bringing to you my personal experience and thoughts with any piece of gear I use.
Being possibly the first one to try out this new lens brings great responsibility and feedback to Tokina. I'll be frank. This was a prototype and they said it had a few flaws. I couldn't find them at all! On both the full frame and crop sensor Sony bodies this lens was tack sharp from corner to corner. Check out this image of the the stars in the upper corners shot wide open at f2.0. That's pretty darn sharp to me with barley no trace of coma or that funky bloomy you get from a lot of lenses out there shot at their widest open aperture.
For you astrophotographers out there this lens will be certainly be your new go to lens for capturing the milky way and the night sky on a Sony body in my opinion. I can't wait till the milky way season starts up once again! At fist glance this lens was a perfect match for that photographer that does both stills and video. It's completely manual which I do prefer with a de-clickable aperture ring that is as smooth as butter. This feature alone kicks the door wide open in the cine world to take full advantage of.
Because the lens Internal contacts relay distance and aperture information to the camera body to enable full support of in-camera focusing aids. It was extreamly easy to work with the Sonys focus peaking system to achieve pin-point sharpness in every photo and video clip. I had a blast with this lens and seriously felt broken hearted when I had to return it. HAHA not really but pretty darn close. I can't wait to get my hands on my own copy soon of the new Tokina Firin 20mm.
A FEW QUICK TIPS WITH THE FIRIN 20MM
1. For you astrophotographers out there I found the sweet spot to be right before the infinity sign. I played around with moving it a little bit to the left or right but trust me. The "money" tack sharp location of the lens for those pin-point stars is certainly right there. I know Tokina glass really well and like other manufacture out there each lens seems to differ from one to the next. I can bet if you place it right at that exact spot for your next night shoot adventure you'll see exactly what I mean.
2. For you surf shooters out there. I taped it down at one meter. Absolutely perfect hyper-focus distance for both my Sony A7SII and A6300 cameras. Since it's a all manual lens, I set the aperture in the clickable mode to f7.1 so it doesn't move. In my opinion, in average everyday light this is a great f-stop to hang around at. Before sunrise till the sun is above horizon I set the lens to f4.
3. For the peps out there that shoot land and seascape photography I set my aperture to F11. Man oh man!!! Crazy sharp! For most of the time when shooting this style in Oregon I stayed at F11 for photos but experimented all around the board when I shot video.
I'll keep this as a ongoing blog and add tips from time to time. So be sure to check back once in awhile as I dive deeper into this little powerhouse of a lens. I'll also add a link to purchase the lens as soon as it becomes available at the beginning of 2017.
So no joke and I'm not just saying this. This piece of glass will blow minds! Tokina has FINALLY entered the mirrorless game. Maybe a little late but never less they came in kicking the door down with their first of many e-mount lenses to come. Hope this review and sample images with the new Tokina Firin was helpful to you.
If you have any questions about the Firin or anything else about photography in general please do leave a comment below or contact me here. I'm always available to lend a helping hand. And for you folks out there that want to geek out a bit more about the specs visit here. Alright gang! Till next time adventure hard, journey long! Have a good one. Stan signing off!