We got to try out the new Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF at CP+ 2019 in Japan. 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.
I was interested to see how the lens performed for video and tried it out on a Sony a7S using a Nikon to E-mount adapter. 16-28mm is a good focal length regardless of whether you are shooting on a full frame or Super35 sized sensor. At 16mm there is definitely some barrel distortion happening, but it is fairly well contained. In saying this, you don’t want to place subjects in the corner of your frame.
At 28mm when used at f/2.8 the lens is capable of producing quite nice bokeh and it is quite easy to separate your subject from the background. The lens also has good close focus ability. Speaking of focus, the manual focus ring was nice to use and I found it relatively easy to do when shooting video.
The lens is certainly sharp, even when used wide open, this is very evident when you are shooting at 28mm.
The lens incorporates a complex optical design with 15 elements in 13 groups, 3 of which are of the 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.
Tokina 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.
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).
At $699 USD I think the lens offers good value for a full frame 16-28mm f2.8 lens. From my experience using other full frame lenses with similar focal lengths and a constant f/2.8 aperture, the Tokina certainly seems capable of holding its own.