Rambling Film

Don't get me wrong, I love digital and I love my Sony setup. But sometimes it's a welcome break to slow down (significantly) and shoot film. Specifically I enjoy medium format film (since digital MF is out of the question) though I'll occasionally shoot 135 film as well. A few thoughts and samples below. I'll post more about gear some other time...

I'm really liking the Ektar stock from my first roll back. I haven't figured out how to get the colors I want from it yet (it's going to be more muted than digital, I can tell that...) but I like it's tonal palette and it's grain. I tried Provia recently and didn't care for it at all, so I was happy that Ektar delivered.

Updated Thoughts on the Firin

If you missed the first part, you can see more here: www.mattparvin.com/adapted-lenses/firin-20mm

I had some time to kill yesterday so spent a while longer with the Firin kicking around town and thought I'd share a few more of my findings. First, let's talk flare. I noticed it when trying to shoot this door way. I has a pretty narrow angle that affects it, the hood or a blank filter or two may well fix it, but it's there. I might even like it for this image, but maybe not for all. Lens was probably hitting the front element at about a 65 degree angle or so. Next, shooting into the sun, this is no Loxia. It's not terrible, and it's fixable with a Dehaze adjustment brush, but had to be careful playing with sunstars. Too much light and it fell apart. Shots below are an average with the Firin and a Sony 16-35 for comparison (at f/14, Firin was at f/16). More direct testing is needed, but happened to take that shot earlier in the day for a client so thought I'd include for comparison's sake.

Since we're on the topic, let's look at Sunstars. Once again it's not a Loxia, but I personally like it. This is better performance with a bright sun in a clear sky than I've been able to get in the past. At f/16 it's nice enough for me, but I'm not a junky like some of you are. The lens does lose some contrast shooting into the sun, but in general it's within editing tolerances. I can live with it for the price difference, others may not.

Alright, one last thought... Distortion. I thought I saw it in some landscapes so went to the old reliable brick wall. Sure enough, the lens doesn't have significant amounts of distortion, but it is a complex wavy distortion. As there is no lens profile yet, it remains to be seen how well it will correct. If they get the pattern right it's small enough that it should correct with very minimal loss of resolution. I probably wouldn't really hesitate to use it for architecture, but it could limit 1 Point Perspective compositions if you have lines near the edge of the frame. I'll withhold final judgement until there's an Adobe profile.

I'll leave you with a few random shots around Southport. The lens is a fun walk about. With a wide aperture it handled well in dark shops and outside on a nice spring day. None of the above dampened my enthusiasm for the lens, like any its best just to know how it performs and work with it.

First thoughts on the Firin

TL;DR: I hope thy make a 35 and a 50. I'm probably biased, I've always liked Tokina lenses. They aren't the best but they're well made and enjoyable. This 20mm is a winner.

Only had a brief, windy, dark outing with it, but it performed stellar. It's nice to have a fast wide prime that isn't a massive adapted beast from a DSLR body. The Firin is quite compact and easy to work with. Performance seems good (in the dark) straight from wide open. I'll do more testing as I go, but this seems to be a winner, and as part of a 3 or 4 lens set (throw in a 75 or so) and it'd be all you need.

Update: Took the Firin out this afternoon for some more testing. I'm liking it more and more. Lens shows good separation at f/2 and closer distances. Central sharpness is simply stellar (the lizard's head was basically centered, then cropped). It has a pleasant vignette at f/2 that I personally prefer. If the lens didn't do it I'd probably add it in post. Bokeh is fairly smooth, but check out a few of the shots in the trees. I don't consider this too bad a performance for a 20mm. When there aren't points of light I find it pretty calm, other than the "coins" nothing jumped out at me. 

Stopped down at longer distances the lens also sings. Same as last night, I find it hits infinity a bit before the hard stop. Stopped down it seems you can use the hard stop without much penalty though. Edge to edge performance works well for me. All of the below are edited, I'm not comparing lenses so I want to see how they'll do creating a final image. Disclaimer: I'm not saying this are the finest photos ever, it's what I could pull off on a lunch break.

Lastly, since we're all hopeless addicts, some central and edge crops from f/2 to f/22 for the below scene. Honestly I have to work to find significant differences. I mean they are there, but f/2 at infinity is great pretty far into the corner. I'll do some other testing later to better evaluate the corners, but I don't expect to be disappointed.


That's all for today. The sun was high, the light was harsh. Didn't get to check flare, but I think that's been covered already and it's a decent but not spectacular performer. Sunstars will be interesting too. The light last night suggests you want f/16, and they still aren't a Loxia, but I'm not as much a sunstar junkie as many, so I don't think it'll bother me. This one's staying in the bag a bit.