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Street Smarts - Sony Alpha Professional Lee Won-Seok

Armed with a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera, Lee Won-Seok prowls the streets of Seoul in search of iconic moments.

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What does street photography mean to you? 

Street photographers uncover a hidden story behind each space and the people who inhabit it. Through my lens, I interpret each scene, and distil the subject’s inner thoughts and personality. These moments are transient, so I have to train my senses and equip myself with a high-performance camera.

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 1/200 sec | F4.5 | ISO 100

What is in your camera bag?

I rely on the Sony Alpha A9 II and the FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master lens. These two are always in my bag. The lens/camera combination is perfect for street photography, as it combines lightning-fast capture with low heft. I also carry the HVL-F45RM flash unit for creative lighting.

What are you looking for when you are on a shoot?

I look out for details and nuances that casual onlookers are unaware of. This could be a unique street background or the perfect lighting conditions. The picture below is a good example of the conditions that lend itself to an interesting image. The chessboard-like background becomes a grid to frame the skateboarder while the beautiful morning light freezes his athleticism perfectly.

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 1/1600 sec | F2.8 | ISO 100

For street photography, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master is my ideal lens. It offers excellent image quality with edge-to-edge sharpness and focuses quickly. Sony’s extensive lens line-up provides a wide range of lenses to choose from too. Whether it’s an exquisite G Master prime lens or G Master zoom, there’s a lens for every application.

How has Sony Alpha’s compact size and ergonomic design aided your work?  

For street photography, one needs to look for the right combination of elements (e.g. people, background, and light). This search could take hours so the less your equipment weighs, the more time can be spent looking for a great shot. In this respect, the Sony Alpha 9 II’s compact size and dimensions are ideal for street photography. Combined with user-friendly dials and customizable buttons, I am able to dial in the appropriate settings quickly without accessing the menu.

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 1/1600 sec | F2.8 | ISO 100

For shooting action shots, I can switch from single-frame to 20fps shooting with just a quick twist of the dial on the camera’s top plate. Excellent ergonomics is a hallmark of a great camera system, and the Sony Alpha 9 II is clearly designed with this in mind.

How has Sony’s fast focusing speed benefitted you as a street photographer?

Speed is one of the five fundamentals of the Sony Alpha system. I would say the Real-Time Eye AF function  is an invaluable feature that nails the focus effectively on the subject’s eyes. It doesn’t matter if the subject is stationary or on the move, the Real-Time Eye AF locks onto the subject’s eyes as I follow her movement. The confidence it gives me enhances the creativity in my work.

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8GM | 1/200 sec | F2.8 | ISO 160

Are you happy with the image quality your camera produces?

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8GM | 1/6400 sec | F5.6 | ISO 100

I love intimate close-up shots. It encapsulates the atmosphere of a busy environment. The photo above shows how the Sony Alpha 9 II handles high-contrast scenes under direct sunlight. It captures every highlight detail with its dynamic range. Conversely, the Sony Alpha 9 II is equally adept at capturing great images in low-light situations. The shadow details and low noise levels in the image below is impressive.

Alpha 9 II | FE 24-70mm F2.8GM | 1/125 sec | F4.0 | ISO 320

Overall, how would you describe your experience with Sony?

It boils down to Sony’s five fundamentals of superb image quality, exceptional ergonomics, speed, expansive lens line-up, and long battery life. These qualities keep me at the top of my game and enables me to bring innovation, creativity, and sophistication to my work.

5 Fundamentals - Uniquely Alpha

Sony’s Alpha mirrorless system encompasses the best in image quality, speed, lenses, stamina and compactness to forge the 5 Fundamentals of Alpha DNA. Journey with us as we discover how these winning qualities put Sony Alpha photographers at the front of the pack.
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