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SEL20F18G Review: Shooting Architecture with Darren Soh 
Introducing veteran architectural photographer Darren Soh.

When asked about architectural photography, Darren Soh promptly conveys that he can be quite particular when it comes to keeping the lines straight in his photographs.

"Buildings shouldn't look like they are falling over," he elaborates.

  

Shot with the SEL20F18G, this photograph is taken with Darren's tip in mind: To keep the lines straight.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/160 sec | F8 | ISO 100

His words are to be taken heed of. After all, Darren is an acclaimed Singapore-based photographer who has been capturing man-made marvels of the modern world for the last 15 years. With numerous awards under his belt, he is not just sought after in the commercial world of developers and architects, but also has his works published in international magazines such as Wallpaper* and Monocle.

Captured with the SEL20F18G, this shot is taken to grant people a visual understanding of its exterior without needing to be there.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/500 sec | F8 | ISO 100

Understanding Architectural Photography

While architectural photography is a more contemplative field compared to wedding or sports photography, it is still one that is challenging to master.

To begin with, you may say that the field's purpose is to grant people a visual understanding of buildings that they may never visit in their lifetime. Therefore, architectural photography requires a considerable amount of time for pre-planning to best highlight a building's interior, exterior, and even sculptural details all for the sake of documentation. When capturing the image, it is crucial to find the right light and avoid tilting the camera. 

The SEL20F18G showcases the beauty of Singapore's city landscape.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/250 sec | F11 | ISO 100

Capturing Singapore's Buildings with the SEL20F18G

As an island city, Singapore is home to a large diversity of buildings constructed over the last 200 years. From heritage houses to towering skyscrapers, Singapore really is a treasure trove of man-made wonders, perfect for architectural photography. 

The FE 20 mm F1.8G is a wide-angle lens that effectively captures tightly packed buildings in total sharpness.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/500 sec | F8 | ISO 100

Darren observes that the buildings are generally built very closely together.

"I really do need wide-angle lenses very often," he continues.

One such lens is Sony's FE 20 mm F1.8 G lens (SEL20F18G), which easily captures the beauty of tightly packed buildings, while offering amazing sharpness with almost no distortion.

  

An Alpha full-frame body matches perfectly with the SEL20F18G.

With a maximum aperture of F1.8, the lens allows Darren to work in situations when there is not enough light. He goes on to say that the large aperture is extremely beneficial for someone like him who "occasionally needs to capture photos without using a tripod in challenging lighting situations."

The SEL20F18G has an F1.8 aperture that performs well under low-light conditions.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/160 sec | F11 | ISO 100

Furthermore, the lens is equipped with Sony's Dual XD Linear Motor Autofocusing to ensure precision and fast focusing are achieved in all his shots. This function works best with the newest Alpha Full-frame bodies such as the Alpha 7 III and the Alpha 7R IV

The SEL20F18G is equipped with Sony's Dual XD Linear Motor Autofocusing to ensure that precision and fast focusing are achieved in all shots.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/200 sec | F11 | ISO 100

Smooth Operating with the SEL20F18G 

It is not all just about performance when it comes to the SEL20F18G. 

For starters, Darren is really glad the lens comes with a manual aperture control ring. He shares how he can conveniently change the aperture on the lens directly without touching the camera body. In addition, the lens comes with a function button to adjust various camera settings on the go.

Since the lens is compact and lightweight, Darren is able to add it to his existing repertoire of lenses without affecting his mobility. When paired with any of the full-frame Alpha bodies, the lens offers him capabilities beyond what he could do previously without any penalties on weight and size.

  

You can conveniently change the aperture on the SEL20F18G directly without touching the camera body.

Alpha 7R IV | FE 20 mm F1.8 G | 20 mm | 1/160 sec | F8 | ISO 100

Final Tips

Darren suggests that aspiring architectural photographers should try and discover different vantage points from which to plan their shots.

Where do you start though?

"In Singapore, we have thousands and thousands of publicly accessible corridors," Darren offers. "So start exploring!" 

Watch the video to see Darren capturing the architectural marvels of Singapore. 

 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of Darren Soh. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore. 

Darren's Gear
ILCE-7RM4
Alpha 7R IV

ILCE-7RM4

SEL20F18G
FE 20mm F1.8 G

SEL20F18G