Yesterday, Tokina announced the latest member of their respected Opera line of lenses: the Tokina Opera 16-28 f/2.8 lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and the lens will come at a very reasonable price. The lens uses a new “Silent Drive module” for faster and quieter autofocus, and Tokina claims that they’ve improved distortion and reduced aberrations across the frame.
Tokina has produced high-quality lenses for years, and I’m always surprised that they’re not more popular than they are in the USA. Part of that problem is probably poor marketing and PR (the press-release page of the Tokina USA website hasn’t been updated since 2017). Yet their 11-16 f/2.8 and 11-20 f/2.8 lenses have become staples for professional photographers and videographers who shoot with APS-C cameras.
The Opera 16-28 f/2.8 is a replacement for the aging Tokina AT-X Pro 16-28 f/2.8, which was very well respected in its day, with excellent center resolution (I sold mine just last year, and I used it regularly, though its age began to show).
Optically, it appears that Tokina is selling the same lens in a new housing, though it’s likely that the new lens uses improved coatings on the elements to improve aberrations. Perhaps there are minor differences that are not visible in the optical formula diagrams. Additionally, the Opera uses the same focus-clutch mechanism as the AT-X for switching between manual and auto-focus by pulling the whole focus ring towards the camera.
Price & Availability
The Tokina Opera 16-28 f/2.8 will begin shipping on March 15 and will cost only $699. It is currently available for pre-order from Adorama for Canon or Nikon, and also at B&H Photo for the same price (for Canon and Nikon).