The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is the latest addition to the companies “Opera” series. The Opera series is what Tokina is calling their next generation premium full-frame lenses for high-end DSLR cameras.
Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF – CP+ 2018
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is just the second lens in the Opera series and it now joins the 50mm F1.4 FF. We covered the Opera 50mm F1.4 FF when it was first shown at CP+ last year. The 16-28mm FF was also on display at the show, but it was under glass and still very much a prototype.
Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF
Tokina claims that the 16-28mm range allows the lens to be used as both a super wide angle lens as well as a traditional wide angle lens. This focal range allows the user to cover most wide-angle shots with a single lens. Tokina claims the lens has superior resolving ability coupled with high contrast and beautiful bokeh rendering. The lens is attractive for photographers who specialize in landscape, interior architecture, street snap, documentary, environmental style portrait and night sky/time lapse photography genres. For video shooters it provides a nice focal length for people using both Super 35 and full frame sensor cameras.
The Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is available in Nikon F and Canon EF mounts. There is no mention of whether Tokina will make this lens available in other mounts such as Sony E, M4/3, Panasonic L or Canon R mount.
The lens incorporates a complex optical design with 15 elements in 13 groups, 3 of which are of aspherical type including large aspherical P-MO element and 3 are glass molded Low-Dispersion (SD) elements for effective suppression of chromatic and spherical aberrations.
Tokina claims that this optical design allows for optimal resolution with the aperture wide open that greatly increases by stepping down to f/4 and narrower. To make the lens suitable for landscape shooting and BW photography, engineers made maximum efforts to make sure there was a high level of contrast and rich color gradation in the image.
Tokins states that their engineers were able to deliver a high performance, rectilinear, super-wide zoom lens with improved distortion control and reduced chromatic and spherical aberrations, at a price previously found in lenses that cost three times as much.
You can’t attach a filter
As the lens has a “bulb-like” shape front element, you aren’t able to attach a filter to the front of the lens. The lens also features an in-built hood petal that is there to protect the lens from accidental damage to the front element. Unfortunately, because of this design, it makes using the lens for video a little difficult. With no way to attach a variable ND to the front of the lens, if you are using it on a camera that doesn’t have in-built ND filters you will need to use an alternative solution such as the LEE Filters SW150 Mark II Filter System Holder for Wide-Angle Lenses ($206 USD), or NiSi V5 Pro 100mm Filter Holder Kit ($179.99 USD).
Ergonomics and design
The lens comes in a simple and slim housing with what Tokina claims is a well-balanced zoom and focus ring arrangement. The directional rotation of the focus ring matches the direction of proprietary Nikon and Canon lenses. The lens does not have a manual aperture ring. The lens weighs in at 940g (2.07 lb) and has a minimum focus distance of 28cm (11.02″).
The lens uses a Silent Drive module that is claimed to allows the lens to focus with speed while remaining quiet. This DC motor, coupled with a new GMR magnetic AF sensor, works together to increase AF speed and accuracy. Tokina also use a
One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism that allows the user to switch between AF and MF simply by snapping the focus ring forward for AF and back toward the lens mount for manual focusing.
Nobody else makes a 16-28mm f2.8 lens apart from Tokina. Other similar focal range lenses that are constant F2.8 and full frame (as the Opera only comes in Canon or Nikon mounts) are the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens ($1,999 USD), Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens ($1,696.95 USD), and Nikon AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED Lens ($1,951.95 USD). More affordable options include the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens ($1.299 USD) and Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens ($1,299 USD).
Just how it compares to these much more expensive offerings remains to be seen.
The Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF retails for $699 USD which looks to be good value for a full frame 16-28mm f2.8 lens. Companies such as Tokina, Sigma and Tamron have really stepped up their game in recent years and they are no longer thought of as the poor cousins to Canon and Nikon. The lens is expected to start shipping on the 15th of March.