Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF Review
The Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF is a new fast standard prime lens for full-frame DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon.
Designed to be the ultimate "fast 50", the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF is comprised of 15 elements in 9 groups, including 3 lens elements molded from SD (Super-low Dispersion) glass and one aspherical glass element.
It employs new ring-shaped ultrasonic motors for quiet, smooth and accurate autofocusing, a newly developed Tokina ELR (Extremely Low Reflection) Coating to reduce flare and ghosting, a minimum focusing distance of 40cm /11.8in, and features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image.
The Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF lens is currently available priced at £879 / $949 in the UK and the US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 950grams and measuring 10.8cm in length, the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF is a very big lens given its "standard" 50mm focal length. It's significantly larger and heavier than most other 50mm lenses, including the popular Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens, with the exception of the Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4.
As seen in the photos below, it still complements a full-frame camera like the 50-megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR that we tested it with very well though, feeling well-balanced if a little front heavy. You really need to cradle it in your left hand whilst operating the camera controls with your right.
The build quality of the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 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.
The lens is very usefully weather-sealed in 8 different places, providing a level dust and weather resistant sealing that matches most cameras that it will be used with, although Tokina are at pains to point out that this does not guarantee that the lens is completely dust repellent and waterproof.
In terms of features, the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF offers all the basics that you need from a 50mm prime lens. The main exception is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although the very fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 helps to make up for this.
Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring. A clear distance scale in both feet and meters runs from the closest focusing distance of 0.4m / 1.3ft to infinity.
The Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF lens has a generously wide focus ring. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 72mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF zoom is a quick performer, taking about 0.2 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. It's also a pretty quiet performer, thanks to the ring-shaped ultrasonic motors inside, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.
The Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF ships with a large plastic petal-shaped lens hood (BH-726), which usefully has a special removable window (BH-726c) that provides easy access to filters that are rotated. It accepts 72mm filters.
At the 50mm focal length the angle of view is 46.8 degrees.
Field of view at 50mm
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their complete absence from our test shots.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/5.6 virtually eliminates this.
The Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF isn't claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 40cm/15.8in. 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 50mm F1.4 FF lens, Sigma employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.