At the Photokina 2018, the Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4, a high-end standard lens for Nikon and Canon SLR cameras, was shown. Its availability was announced at the end of October 2018. I took the Tokina Opera 50 mm f/1.4 with me to Namibia in December 2018 to do practice shots. Then we subjected this lens to Imatest. Now we are sharing our experiences with this fantastically performance lens in this Tokina Opera 50mm review.
There was already a Tokina Firin 20mm f/2 MF: a bright full-frame wide-angle lens for Sony system cameras, such as the Sony A7 II, A7R III, A7s or the Sony A9. Now there is also a Tokina Firin 20mm f/2 AF version of this ultra-wide-angle lens with a fixed focal length for the Sony FE mount.
We have tested a number of new lenses from Tokina for videographers, including the AT-X 11-16mm T3 PRO DX (appearing later) and the impressive AT-X 16-28mm T3.0 CINEMA PRO FX. The Tokina AT-X 16-28 is a bright ultra-wide angle lens for full-frame. It is an impressive lens, in more ways than one.
The Tokina AT-X 14-20 F2 PRO DX was announced at the end of 2015 and is now finally for sale. A couple of months waiting time between announcement and introduction is quite usual. And yet I write “finally.” That is because this is a very special lens.
Both photographers and videographers who use an SLR camera with an APS-C sensor crave a bright wide-angle zoom lens. And the choice for them is very limited. The Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art zoom lens had the monopoly (if I do not count the Samsung 16-50 mm f/2.0-2.8) as a wide-angle zoom with higher brightness than f/2.8. This Sigma zoom is the world’s brightest wide-angle zoom lens and offers fabulous image quality. But, some critics quickly respond, it would have been great if the field of view had been a bit larger.
The Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX II SD, on the other hand, is also a popular bright wide-angle lens with the desired extra field of view. And this Tokina also offers fantastic image quality. The focal depth and bokeh of this lens correspond with a 17-24 mm f/4 on a camera with a full-frame sensor. But, some critics quickly respond, it would have been great if this wide-angle zoom would have had even higher brightness.
Is there no way to win?
Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 list price: 1099 euros
Tokina picked up the gauntlet and expanded their series of high-quality wide-angle zooms with a professional 14-20 mm zoom lens that couple a 1.5 zoom range at a colossal field of view with unprecedentedly high fixed f/2 brightness. With a 14 mm lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor, you get the same field of view as with a 21 mm lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor. This new and surprisingly bright Tokina zoom lens makes it possible for owners with an APS-C sensor camera to play just as much with background blur as an owner of a 21 mm f/2.8 lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor—but then with a more compact and lighter camera/lens combination. As far as photographing in the dark is concerned, you are even better off with a 14 mm f/2 on an APS-C than with a 21 mm f/2.8 on full-frame, because you need less light for a sharp picture at the same ISO value with a 14 mm f/2.
That is why this is a very special lens and why waiting for a couple of months seemed like a very long time before getting the chance to try out this new sensation in photo-land. Would the Tokina 14-30 mm f/2 be just as sharp as the other wide-angle zooms? Let the games begin!
Build and AF
The build quality of this lens is of professional level, although the exterior might look a bit less modern than some lenses from other brands The lens is also not extra well-sealed against dust and splashwater. With a diameter of nearly 9 cm, a length of nearly 11 cm, an 82 mm filter size and a weight of 725 grams, the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 is a sturdy lens for APS-C and is simultaneously a light dwarf in comparison with f/2.8 wide-angle zooms for a full-frame sensor camera. The lens design consists of 13 elements in 11 groups. A cast plastic aspherical lens and a cast glass aspherical lens are used. By applying the cast aspherical lens elements, Tokina probably avoids the onion ring bokeh that happens with lenses with a ground aspherical lens element. The lens makes use of internal focusing, so that the front element does not turn when you focus. That’s nice when using polarization or grayscale filters. And since we’re talking about filters: despite the large field of view, this lens has a surprisingly flat front lens element, so that you can actually also screw filters onto this lens. This lens has the familiar Focus clutch mechanism with which you can switch between AF and manual focusing. Automatic focusing with the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 on a Canon 760D is reasonably fast (within 1 sec from infinity to 1.5 meters) and reasonably quiet.
Sony A7 and Sony A6300 owners take note: 4K video with an f/2 wide angle!
This zoom lens is designed for Canon and Nikon SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor. But this is also a very interesting option for using with an adaptor on a Sony A6300 or even an A7S II/A7 II/A7 R II (in the APS-C mode). During this test, I made video recordings in 4K with the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 on a Sony camera, where the combination of a high brightness and a large field of view came in handy. For that reason, the Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 is just as popular with film makers. The Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 has no built-in image stabilization. But if you combine this lens via an adaptor with a Sony A7 II, A7R II or Sony A7S II, then you benefit from the in-body image stabilization of Sony cameras, so that you can shoot videos by hand, as in the video on this page.
Little vignetting, chromatic aberration or distortion
The shortest focus distance of the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 is 28 cm. A large aperture, despite the short focus distance and the relatively small APS-C sensor, makes it possible to isolate the subject from the background.
RAW files made with the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 show remarkably little vignetting: a maximum of 1.5 stops
A half stop of vignetting in RAW files shot at full aperture across the whole zoom range is very good for a wide-angle zoom lens. That is thanks to a good design by Tokina and not to lens correction in Lightroom or Photoshop, since because this lens just came out, there is not yet any lens correction profile available. And if you use the lens correction profile for the Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 for the time being, vignetting at all apertures is completely absent across the whole zoom range, without the signal-to-noise ratio significantly deteriorating in the corners.
The conversion of the RAW file in the Canon 760D test camera does create visible more vignetting. In the jpg files, vignetting amounts to 1.5 stops at full aperture; that is 1 stop more than the RAW file that was stored in the camera at the same time. With Nikon cameras, this problem probably does not occur, or does to a lesser degree. That is because with Nikon cameras lens corrections such as chromatic aberration and vignetting can be done regardless of the brand of the lens. With a Canon camera, lens corrections can unfortunately only be performed for shots made with Canon lenses.
Barrel-shaped distortion is clearly vision at focus distances below 17 mm. I had not expected anything else for such a short focal length. At 20 mm, the distortion is low (less than 0.4%) in comparison with other wide-angle lenses for APS-C and about the same focus distance. Without the use of lens corrections, the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 stands in the best half of the 80 APS-C lenses that have reviewed with a focus distance under 35 mm (converted to full-frame) for all the tested focus distances. As soon as a lens correction profile becomes available in Lightroom or Photoshop, distortion at all focus distances will be absent.
Bokeh & Flare
It goes without saying that a flower-shaped lens hood for combatting unwanted reflections from bright backlighting is included. There is also multilayer film coating applied to prevent internal reflections. The video above is deliberately made with the bright sun shining directly in frame, in order to test the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 for flaring and ghosts. In order to make ghosts more visible, shots are over-exposed and the shadow areas are subjected to extra lightening in post-editing. The Tokina put up a brave fight, but there is still some room for improvement here. You sometimes see some ghosts, which videographers who want to use this lens might even see as good news. I notice on TV how crazy videographers are about backlit shots with ghosts, while photographers try to prevent that. There are few (perhaps no) wide-angle lenses that are completely free of ghosts and flare under such extreme conditions.
Practically all wide-angle zooms for APS-C are less bright than f/2.8, so that they already deliver a lot of focal depth at full aperture and it is difficult to isolate the subject from the background. The bokeh is then usually not that great. That is different with the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2. With this lens, despite the short focus distance, it is still possible to create a beautiful background blur, even though you always have to creep up close to the subject. Click here to see an example of a shot made at f/2 or f/4: the water in the background creates a much more restless image at f/4.
Tokina has done everything possible to achieve a great bokeh: The Tokina has an aperture with 9 rounded lamellae for a beautiful bokeh. A cast plastic aspherical lens and a cast glass aspherical lens are used. By not applying any ground aspherical lenses, Tokina prevents the onion-ring bokeh that occurs with lenses with a ground aspherical lens element. The bokeh is indeed beautifully round. I did not find any onion rings, but there is a light ring around the bokeh.
Anyone who follows the reviews from DxO at all will not be surprised that this lens, just as other Tokina wide angle zoomlenses on DxO Mark, scores well on the point of sharpness. At the shortest focus distance, the sharpness is the highest. At all all focal lengths, the sharpness in the center is maximal after stopping down two stops, and the sharpness in the corners also increases further above f/4 . The sharpness is, even at full aperture, high. And that is unusual for an f/2 lens. let alone a zoom lens. This lens actually delivers sharp pictures across the whole range, although you do see differences if you place shots made, for example, at f/2 and f/4 next to each other for direct comparison. Click on the shot above for an enlarged comparison of the sharpness at f/2 and at f/4.
Conclusion Tokina 14-20 mm f/2.0 review on a Canon 760D
Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
The test was done with a Canon 760D. Canon does not make it possible to do in-camera lens corrections. Because a Nikon camera does correct for chromatic aberration and a correction for vignetting on a Nikon camera is possible, those scores are higher if you have a Nikon camera.
Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. We open the file without converting it in Photoshop or Lightroom. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of lens correction profiles in DxO Optics, Photoshop or Lightroom for converting RAW files, then the RAW scores for vignetting, chromatic aberration and vignetting are (even) higher.
The Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 holds a unique position with its exceptionally high brightness. As far as sharpness is concerned, it is evenly matched with its family members, but it knocks them out at f/2. And that is unique. Together with the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art, which more or less starts at the focus distances where the Tokina stops, the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 is the world record-holder when it comes to bright wide-angle zooms for cameras with APS-C sensors. Due to the higher brightness, they deliver just as nice a bokeh as the less bright wide-angle zooms on cameras with a full-frame sensor. The Tokina 14-20 mm f/2 is without any doubt a winner for photo and video.
In 2005, the Tokina 100 mm 2.8 Macro was released. There are many lenses from 2005 for which the image quality was immediately exceeded by more modern versions. That is not the case here. It is precisely because of the high image quality that this is still a popular lens. After an extremely enthusiastic Tokina 100 mm macro review by Ken Rockwell in 2015, this lens was even sold out worldwide for a while. That seems to us to be a very good excuse for devoting a short review to this macro lens, to alert our readers to this potentially great buy.
The Tokina AT-X 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO FX is an affordable workhorse for the professional photographer or prosumer, designed to even fulfill the requirements of photographing with a full-frame 50-megapixel sensor. This universal zoom lens, available for Canon and Nikon cameras, is—due to its constant, high brightness and 24-70 mm zoom range—universally (from wide angle to medium telephoto) perfect for landscape, portrait, documentary, indoor, sports or theater photography. You can leave the flash at home and get more atmosphere in your shots. According to Tokina, they use the very newest insights and techniques to achieve the very highest image quality. Throw in the fact that the price of the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO is more than 50% lower than that of the original Canon and Nikon 24-70 zooms, and you immediately want to know: How well does the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 perform on a modern professional SLR, like the Canon 5Ds, Nikon D810 or Canon 5DsR? We explored that on a Nikon D810 and a Canon 5DsR (for the extra resolution).
What many people don’t realize: Even on DX/APS-C, you benefit from lenses for 50-megapixel full-frame cameras. The number of pixels per mm on a DX/APS-C sensor is the same size as on a 50-megapixel full-frame sensor.
Tokina AT-X 24-70 mm F2.8 PRO FX is an affordable workhorse for the professional photographer or prosumer, designed to satisfy even the requirements of photographers with a full-frame 50-megapixel sensor. This universal zoom lens, available for Canon and Nikon cameras—due to its constant high brightness and 24-70 mm zoom range—is widely usable. On a camera with an APS-C/DX, you lose a bit of angle as far as the field of view is concerned, which you gain with the telephoto. A field of view that corresponds with a 105 mm lens on a full-frame sensor is more suited to a frame-filling portrait than 70 mm. That makes this lens perfect on a DX or APS-C camera for landscape, portrait, documentary, indoor, sport or theater photography. You can leave your flash at home and get more of the atmosphere in your shots. If you are planning to ever switch to a camera with a full-frame sensor, then you do not have to buy a new lens. As a preview of our test of the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 on a full-frame camera, we start with a test on a Nikon D7200.
In February 2015, the Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX was announced. Videographers around the world jumped out of their chairs. Rightly so: with a bright wide-angle, you take beautiful pictures and perhaps even more impressive videos. If you a wide view on a camera with an APS-C/DX sensor in the dark, or to isolate your subject from the environment as well as possible with a wide-angle, then you want a high-quality 10 mm f/2.8 lens.
The Tokina AT-X 11-20 PRO DX goes beyond where the successful Tokina AT-X 11-16 PRO DX-II stopped. Not only is the zoom range great, but Tokina indicates that the optical design is further improved. That raises curiosity, since the Tokina 11-16 mm (version 1 and 2) scored very high in our tests.
Not long ago, we published a review of the Tokina 70-200 mm f/4 on a Nikon D800E. It would not surprise me if this lens gets more users with a high-end DX camera than with an FX camera. Professional photographers with an expensive, heavy camera with full-frame sensor often choose an—also fantastic—expensive, heavy 70-200 mm f/2.8 with image stabilization. If you're the fortunate owner of a Nikon D5300 or Nikon D7100, then the price and the dimensions of a lens, along with flawless construction quality and image quality, are important arguments for choosing a Tokina 70-200 mm f/4.
In 2012, Tokina showed a prototype of a Tokina 70-200 mm f/4 VCM zoom. Tokina PRO lenses are known for their high-quality optical and mechanical properties. Tokina didn't complete the development of an incredibly solidly built zoom lens for prosumer and professional overnight. The Tokina 70-200 mm f/4 is the first Tokina zoom lens that is equipped with image stabilization (VCM) and – unless I'm mistaken – the ultrasonic AF (recognizable by the S in the lens name) is also a premier for Tokina. This Tokina telephoto zoom with a list price of 1200 euros/store price below 1000 euros is potentially an attractive workhorse for many (semi)professionals. Don't cheer too soon. The Tokina 70-200 mm f/4 is for the time being only available with a Nikon mount. We have reviewed it on both FX (the most pixels on a sensor) and on DX (the most pixels per mm), starting with the Nikon D800E.
The Tokina 10-17 mm Fisheye (AT-X 107 DX) came to market in 2008, not only with its own brand name, but also in a slightly modified form under the brand name Pentax. The zoom range of the Tokina fisheye strongly resembles that of, for example, the Tokina 12-24 mm, but the characteristic fisheye design really delivers a completely different image.
The Tokina 10-17 mm is a full-screen fisheye. That means that the field of view encompasses nearly 180 degrees and that the entire surface of the sensor is used. This is in contrast to a circular fisheye, which makes a circular-shaped image in which the corners are black. First, there was a version released with a fixed, flower-shaped sun cap. This was removed by some users of the lens on a camera with a full format sensor. We tested the new version (AT-X 107 NH), without a sun cap.
In mid-2013, the Tokina 12-28 mm f/4 was introduced as a successor to the Tokina 12-24 mm f/4. The trend towards ever-larger zoom range is irreversible. It may seem small, the extension of the longest focal length from 24 mm to 28 mm, but this makes the Tokina 12-28 mm unique because now you also have the view angle of a standard lens. Both Tokina zoom lenses, with a constant brightness over the entire zoom range, are designed for use on a camera with a DX/APS-C sensor. You can also use a camera with an FX sensor, but then you have to deal with extra vignetting and black edges at the shortest focal lengths. This is a pretty compact zoom lens, even though I personally find lenses with a filter size of 77 mm or more pretty impressive. Would the image quality of this Tokina lens also be so impressive?
The original Tokina 11-16 mm (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX II SD) had no built-in AF motor and has been for sale for a few years. It is a fast, constant f/2.8 wide-angle zoom lens, designed for cameras with an APS-C / DX sensor. Some cheaper SLR cameras, such as the Nikon D3200 , have no built-in AF motor. It is especially for owners of these Nikon cameras that a new version of the Tokina 11-16 mm arrived on the market, equipped with a built-in AF motor. Apart from an additional nano-coating which reduces internal reflections, the lens remained unchanged. We tested the Tokina 11-16 mm DX II for you, using a Nikon D3200 .
The Tokina 11-16 mm lens has been available for several years. It is a wide-angle zoom lens with a large aperture, designed for cameras with an APS-C / DX sensor. Cheaper Nikon SLR cameras, such as the Nikon D3200 , have no built-in AF motor. That is why in 2012, especially for owners of these Nikon cameras, a Tokina 11-16mm II has been released that features a built-in AF motor.
We will publish our Tokina 11-16 II review soon. We give you a little foretaste with a Tokina 11-16 mm DX review of the version without built-in motor. All more expensive Nikon SLR cameras have a built-in AF motor. For owners of such a camera, this Tokina 11-16 mm is a cheaper alternative to the Tokina 11-16 mm DX II. We have tested the Tokina 11-16 lens on a camera with as many megapixels as possible: a 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 .
Since August 2012, a new, exotic branch has been added to the list of micro-43 lenses and is now sparsely available: the Tokina 300 mm f/6.3 Macro MF. The design of this super-telephoto lens is unique within the line-up of micro-43 lenses. The lens system consists not only of lenses, but also of two mirrors. A major advantage of this design is the short length and low weight. Strictly speaking, this is not a macro lens, because there is no 1:1 imaging ratio realized. But a focal length of 600 mm (converted to a full-frame sensor), in combination with a minimum focusing distance of 80 cm, makes you get your subjects spectacularly (1:2) close.