Tokina expands its new Opera line of premium lenses with the release of this new 16-28mm f/2.8 zoom lens. After the initial Tokina Opera branded lens, a 50mm f/1.4 prime, this is the first zoom lens of the Opera line. With a fast aperture of f/2.8 and a rather complex lens design, this new lens looks very appealing for both still photographers and indie filmmakers.
The lens features a zoom range from 16mm to 28mm and the fast f/2.8 aperture which stays constant throughout the whole zoom range. Fast (and silent) AF is also on board plus a so-called One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism for switching between AF and MF. This lens is designed for high-end DSLRs and offers a whooping 15 elements in 13 groups, including 3 aspherical and 3 low dispersion elements.
Tokina Opera 16-28mm
This first Tokina Opera branded zoom lens is not meant to be super compact. It’s meant to be a lens without optical compromises, a true performer. It’s 3.50″ x 5.35″ (89mm x 136 mm) in size and it’s not a lightweight lens either but a serious tool: It weights 2.09 lbs (950 g)! On thing to mention: It does not offer image stabilization.
The front element is a bit oddly shaped for this focal length range and it actually comes with a downside: You can’t use screw-in filters with the Tokina Opera 16-18mm. But, again, the design serves a greater purpose: Tokina claims that the bulbous front element helps achieving very even illumination and low distortion throughout the frame. Due to this lens design the lens hood comes built in. Additionally, a new multi coating helps with further reducing flare and ghosting, resulting in overall improved contrast when shooting in difficult lighting situations.
There are two versions available: Canon EF and Nikon F and it’s not only the mount you’re choosing. Tokina also wants you to feel right at home so the directional rotation of the focus ring matches the direction of proprietary Nikon and Canon lenses.
Tokina offers some MFT charts for the new Opera 16-28mm lens. If you want to learn more about how to read a MFT chart, Luminous Landscape has a superb article on the matter: Read it here.
Adapting the Tokina Opera Lens
Since Nikon F and Canon EF lenses were originally designed for D(SLR) cameras with a mirror box inside, the flange back distance is pretty large: 44mm for Canon EF and 46.5mm for Nikon F. Since nowadays mirrorless cameras lack the mirror box (hence the name) they use lens mounts with a way shorter flange back distance. This fact opens the door for adapting the Tokina Opera lens to pretty much any mirrorless camera you can imagine.
For APS-C sized sensors you can choose between so-called speedbooster lens adapters or regular adapters. In that case, the 16-28mm zoom range will transform to a 25.6-44.8mm equivalent focal length range. All you have to do is choosing between clockwise focus barrel rotation (Nikon) or counter-clockwise rotation (Canon). Once that choice is made pretty much any full frame or APS-C mirrorless camera will work with this lens.
The Future of Tokina
I might be wrong, but this new Opera line of high quality lenses could mark Tokina’s move into the same terrain in which Sigma’s ART series of lenses is already positioned. Let’s see where this is going but another brand offering premium lenses at relatively affordable prices is always good for us indie filmmakers!
The Opera line consists of two lenses as of now. One prime and one zoom. Maybe we’ll be seeing much more lenses to come in the near future, choice is always a good thing to have!
What do you think about this new line of high quality lenses? Share your thoughts in the comments below!