Review Tokina 300 mm f/6.3 MF @ micro-43

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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.

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Tokina 300 mm f/6.3 MF Macro, jpg
Tokina 300 mm micro43
Tokina 300mm f/6.3 MF Macro, jpg

Mirror lenses are used for some time in photography. Nikon was the first in the late fifties with the Nikkor mm/6.3 1000, a lens of less than 10 kg. In the late seventies of the last century, suddenly several brands offered a 500 mm mirror lens. These 500 mm mirror lenses were relatively cheap compared to ordinary lenses with comparable focal lengths. Shooting with a mirror lens delivers images with lower contrast. This is a consequence of the design. When shooting with a long focal length, contrast is also often further reduced by water vapor in the air. Standard jpg files shot with the Tokina 300 mm mirror lens are often soft.Β 

By shooting in RAW and increasing the contrast and sharpness afterwards, you can enhance the impression of sharpness in your images. Except for 3 images, which include both images above, all images in this test of the Tokina 300 mm are processed RAW files.

Construction and manual focus

The finish of the Tokina 300 mm is very nice. The Tokina is a 300 mm lens without autofocus. Fortunately, the focus ring works very well and has good tactile resistance. In the electronic viewfinder of the test camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M5, the image can be magnified 14 times to increase focussing accuracy. Note that you’ll need more time for manual focus in comparison with autofocus, which makes this lens less suitable for moving objects.

You can reverse the hood on the lens place for transport. To take the hood off, you have to turn the focus ring all the way through to infinity before the hood releases. Handy is different.

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Image stabilization

The Tokina 300 mm for micro-43 has no built-in image stabilization. Because image stabilization correct for lenses with long focal length offers many advantages, you may initially think that this lens a better fit for an Olympus camera (with image stabilization built into the camera) or a Panasonic camera. In practice you will get the Tokina 300 mm is almost always use a tripod, image stabilization so you will not miss. Tokina 300mm MF-produkt3Tokina-300mm-MF-produkt3

Vignetting

We are in practice no image images encountered where waste disturbing light present. The measured vignetting was 0.8%. In some situations, with a smooth blue sky as shown, you can see the vignetting. This is possibly subsequent software to correct, if you wish.

One of the features of a mirror lens is that you can not aperture. In an ordinary lens can reduce the waste light to continue aperture. This can be, in this case, therefore, does not. And because you can not aperture so you can not change the depth.
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Distortion


In practice we have no images distortion seen. The Imatest measurement showed that the Tokina 300 mm lens has a cushion-shaped distortion of approximately 0.8%. Such a low-distortion falls in most of the images is not on. Disturb you anyway then this simple software to correct distortion.Tokina-300-mm-distortion

Donut bokeh

Mirror lenses have a very characteristic bokeh, because of the circular character. This is also referred to as “donut-bokeh”. Below is a image of a hedge. If you then focus a little closer, every leaf is functioning as a light source, which is a totally different character to the image display. In some shots operate all those circles in the background distracting, but it also opens up artistic possibilities.

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Flare

With a built-in mirror and 9 lens elements in 3 groups should not expect to flare completely excluded. A lens hood is included as standard, which you can partially prevent ghosting.
You may, however, a slight flare straight face when shooting against a bright light source. Here you see some increase in the uptake of stadium lights above in the section that you’ve seen vignetting.

Resolution Tokina 300 mm

The sharpness and contrast of images taken with the Tokina 300 mm mirror lens is limited. It’s visible lower than the acuity of more expensive airΒ  lenses, such as the Panasonic 100-300 mm and Olympus 75-300 mm.

300 mm micro 43

Shooting with a lens with a focal length of 600 mm (converted to a full-frame sensor) is not easy. Focusing should be done very carefully. Handheld shots with such a lens usually lead to disappointing results. You justmust use a tripod. But even then you should keep in mind that you’ll need very clear weather to create sharp images taken from a large distance. And at a short distance, the depth of field is so very small that your topic with the slightest movement becomes out of focus.

The sharpness of the edges is exactly equal to the sharpness in the corners. The sharpness in the corners is measurably lower than in the center, but the difference is so small that you do not already see with the naked eye.
By increasing the contrast and extra sharpening to apply the sharpness impression improve, but the end result remains on what to do with the Panasonic or Olympus 75-300 mm 100-300 mm can achieve.

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Chromatic aberration Tokina 300 mm

Absence of chromatic aberration is one of the strengths of mirror lenses. At this point, the Tokina 300 mm mirror lens scores very well. Even with magnification up to 100% there will be no visible chromatic aberration in the corners of the image.

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Conclusion Tokina 300 mm f/6.3 MF Macro review

Pros

  • Compact, light and beautifully finished
  • Very long focal length for a low price
  • No visible chromatic aberration, even at high magnification
  • Limited distortion (0.8% pincushion), vignetting (0.8%) and flare
  • Sharpness at the edges equivalent to sharpness in the center
  • Hood included

Cons

  • No autofocus
  • Slow (f/6.3)
  • Low acuity
  • Donut Bokeh
  • Fixed aperture, depth of field will not change
  • No built-in image stabilization

One of the advantages of micro-43 cameras is the size of the lenses. The lenses are light and compact. This is especially true for lenses with longer focal lengths. Opponents of the micro-43 system, point out that telephoto lenses are too large for these tiny cameras. Tokina now offers a super-telephoto lens which is less than 7 cm long and has a focal length of 600 mm (converted to a full-frame sensor).

The limited resolution, the lack of autofocus and the presence of donut bokeh are the main disadvantages of the Tokina 300 mm. On these points, the more expensive Panasonic 100-300 mm or Olympus 75-300 mm are superior. The sharpness and contrast of images taken with the Tokina 300 mm super-telephoto lens must be improved in post-production, if you want to make a print.
All other optical properties; vignetting, distortion, flare and chromatic aberration, are all fine. The very nice finish, nice grip, compact dimensions, low weight and low price of the Tokina 300 mm are attractive points of this first Tokina lens for micro-43.