Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF Review
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is a new ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras with a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 available throughout the focal range. It offers the equivalent angle of view as a 25.6-44.8mm lens on an APS-C system camera body (depending on the exact crop factor).
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is comprised of 15 elements in 13 groups, 3 of which are of aspherical type including a large aspherical P-MO element, and 3 are glass Low-Dispersion (SD) elements for effective suppression of chromatic and spherical aberrations. It also features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image.
It has a minimum focusing distance of 28cm / 11.03in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5.26, fast and quiet AF performance, a focus clutch mechanism for switching between AF and MF, and a Multi-Layer Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting.
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF lens retails for £699 / $699 in the UK and the US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 940g and measuring 13.3cms in length, the Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is quite a big lens, almost identical to the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens that we've previously reviewed, but larger and heavier than the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM.
While you can use the Tokina 16-28mm lens on a smaller APS-C body for a 25.6-44.8mm equivalent angle of view, it won't balance well at all. As demonstrated by the images below, it's a much better match for a professional-grade, full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5DS R.
In terms of features, the Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF offers all the basics that you need, except for any kind of weather-sealing, which some of its main rivals do offer. This is a strange omission given that the Opera 50mm f/1.4 lens is weather-sealed - we'd expect Tokina to continue this feature throughout the Opera range.
The other main missing feature is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although most of this lens' main rivals don't offer it either (with the exception of the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD).
The build quality of the Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF is excellent, reminding us of Sigma's well regarded Art range. The lens has a plastic shell and incorporates a metal bayonet mount, while the optical elements are made of high-grade glass.
Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the intuitive Focus clutch mechanism on the lens barrel - simply snap the focus ring forwards and backwards to engage either AF or MF.
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF lens has a moderately sized focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, though, making it harder to set focus at infinity.
A clear distance scale in both feet and meters runs from the closest focusing distance of 0.28m / 11.03in. to infinity, but there is no depth of field scale.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF zoom is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R camera that we tested it with. We didn't experience very much "hunting" at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing virtually all of the time.
Despite Tokina's marketing claims, it's not a particularly quiet performer though, despite the combination of the DC motor, Silent Drive module, GMR magnetic AF sensor and internal focusing design inside, which makes this lens less well-suited to video recording.
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF ships with a good quality soft case, a fixed plastic petal-shaped lens hood and a large round lens cap. Given the cost of the lens, we'd have liked to have seen a hard case included. Note that this lens doesn't accept standard screw-on circular filters due to its large, bulbous front element.
At the 16mm focal length the angle of view is 107.6 degrees, and at the 28mm focal length it's 76.5 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, is generally very well-controlled but can be detected in some shots, as shown below.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is some noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/5.6 virtually eliminates this.
The Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 28cm / 11.03in. and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.26. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Tokina Opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF lens, Tokina have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh for such a wide-angle lens, especially when shooting at the 28mm focal length. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.