Handling and Features
With the recent rise of high resolution digital cinema cameras, the demand for compatible, video-friendly lenses has increased. In response, Tokina have redesigned two fo their most popular wide angle lenses for cinematic use. In this review, we'll take a look at Tokina's Cinema version of their 16-28mm f/2.8 lens. Currently available to fit Canon EF and Arri PL mount cameras, this ultra-wide angle zoom promises crisp 4K footage, has a fast T/3 aperture throughout the zoom range and costs around £4000. I assure you , this is actually quite cheap for a cinema lens, especially one that covers the 35mm frame. For the purposes of testing, we will be taking stills with the lens using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body, as it is easier to judge the performance of the lens this way.
Tokina Cinema AT-X 16-28mm T/3 Handling and Features
Weighing 1500g, this huge lens is quite imposing, which shouldn't be an issue if used on a 4K camera rig, using proper supports, but may be an issue for those wishing to use this lens in conjunction with an SLR body handheld. The front of the lens body is 114mm in diameter to accommodate a 112mm filter thread.
The build quality of this lens is extraordinary, with metal being complemented by high quality plastics. The large, curved front element moves back and forth inside the lens body, which does not extend during zoom or focus. The zoom, focus and aperture rings all sport gears to accept motorised gear compatible with your camera. Several screw hoels are supplied in the zoom and focus rings for attaching a lever to allow smooth operation of focus and zoom manually, whilst filming. All three rings are perfectly damped and smooth to operate. Each control has values marked on both sides of the lens to make it easy to see settings at a glance.
Minimum focus is 28cm from the sensor plane, which is plenty close enough for filming in claustrophobic environments, or even the occasional close up image. The lens appears to be adequately parfocal, holding focus well as the zoom is adjusted.
Tokina Cinema AT-X 16-28mm T/3 Performance
Shooting wide open at 16mm, sharpness in the centre of the image is already very good, with the quality towards the edges not being far behind. Stopping the lens down improves sharpness across the frame until T/8, where performance is outstanding across the frame.
At 20mm, sharpness in the centre is excellent at T/3, but the quality towards the edges drops to fairly good levels. Just as at 16mm, peak performance across the frame is achieved at T/8, where sharpness is again, outstanding across the frame.
Finally at 28mm, the sharpness in the centre of the image remains very good at T/3, and just as at 20mm, the quality towards the edges remains fairly good. Stopping see sto improve performance in the centre of the frame faster than towards the edges of the frame. Sharpness reaches outstanding levels in the centre between T/4 and T/8, peaks with very good levels of clarity towards the edges of the frame at T/16.
How to read our charts
The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.
The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.
For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges are well controlled throughout the zoom range, with fringing never exceeding a pixel width towards the edges of the frame. This amount of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in scenes with high contrast towards the edges of the frame.
How to read our charts Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.
Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.
For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III
For a lens with such a wide field of view and a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8, falloff of illumination towards the corners is very well controlled. At 16mm the corners are 1.65stops darker than the image centre and at 28mm this is reduced to 0.72stops. Visually uniform illumination is achieved at f/5.6 throughout the zoom range.
Distortion is extremely well corrected throughout the zoom range. At 16mm 2.5% barrel distortion is present and at 28mm, this drops to 0.34%. This amount of distortion will pose few issues, being very difficult to spot in video footage.
Tokina 16-28mm T3.0 Cinema Lens Sample Photos
Very few issues with flare were encountered during testing, and when it did appear, it looked quite pretty. Although the flare created can be visually appealing, it is not always desirable. Contrast levels hold up well, even when shooting into the light.
Value For Money
Comparing this lens to the SLR version is a little like comparing apples to oranges, as they are designed for completely different cameras and purposes. Even so, as you can mount this lens on Canon EF bodies, some may be tempted to draw comparison. The casual video-taker, who owns an SLR that is largely un-adapted for video work, will probably do better with the standard Tokina 16-28mm lens, which costs around £700.
Those looking at this lens as a viable alternative to other 4K ready cinema lenses, will find the £4000 price tag quite reasonable when compared to other lenses, especially those available for the Arri PL mount.
Tokina Cinema AT-X 16-28mm T/3 Verdict
This may be a trend that we start to see from other lens companies, who have 35mm optical designs ripe for adapting for high resolution cinema applications. With this lens, Tokina have adapted one of their finest optics in a way that provides build and handling much like the highest level cinema lenses available.
Compared to the standard 16-28mm from Tokina, it sports similar levels of sharpness, but with lower distortion and CA levels. This may tempt the occasional photographer towards this lens, if they can stomach the increase in price over the standard version.
Tokina 16-28mm T3.0 Cinema Lens Specifications
|Focal Length||16mm - 28mm|
|Angle of View||No Data|
|35mm equivalent||No Data|
|Internal focusing||No Data|
|Box Contents||No Data|
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