Handling and Features
With the explosion in DSLRs and Micro Four Thirds cameras being used by independent film makers, there is more demand for video-friendly lenses. In response, Tokina has redesigned two of their most popular wide angle lenses for cinematic use. In this review, we'll take a look at Tokina's Cinema version of their 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. Currently available to fit Canon EF and Micro Four Thirds mount cameras, this ultra-wide angle zoom promises crisp 4K footage, has a fast T/3 aperture throughout the zoom range and costs around £1300. This lens covers APS-C and smaller sensors, including Super 35mm and Micro Four Thirds Formats. In this review we will test the optical quality of the lens using a Canon EOS 7D SLR body.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Handling and Features
Weighing 680g, this lens is noticeably heavier than the non-cine version, thanks to the lens barrel being constructed pretty much entirely from metal. Even so the lens balances well with the Canon EOS 7D body used for testing.
The geared focus, aperture and zoom rings are a pleasure to operate, needing only light pressure to move them through the range, but with the mechanism having just the correct amount of damping to stay put. Several screw holes are supplied in the zoom and focus rings for attaching a lever to allow smooth operation of focus and zoom manually, whilst filming. Unlike the more expensive 16-28mm cinema lens from Tokina, values for each control are only marked on one side of the lens.
The minimum focus distance of 30cm is just right for shooting in tight spaces and as focusing is performed internally. A 77mm filter thread makes finding compatible accessories easy.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Performance
At 11mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already outstanding at maximum aperture, with good clarity being produced towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down barely improves performance across the frame, with very good levels of sharpness being achieved towards the edges of the frame between T/4 and T/11.
Zooming to 13mm results in a slight drop in performance in the centre at maximum aperture, with very good clarity in the centre and fairly good performance towards the edges. Stopping down to T/8 produces the best performance for this focal length, with outstanding sharpness in the centre, and excellent performance towards the edges.
Finally, at 16mm, performance in the centre of the frame remains very good to outstanding when stopped down. Towards the edges of the frame, sharpness is fair at maximum aperture and only reaches very good levels when stopped down to between T/11 and 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 7D using Imatest
Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are high throughout the zoom range, exceeding two pixel widths on occasion. This level may cause issues with any high contrast subjects 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 7D using Imatest.
For such a wide lens, with a bright maximum aperture, falloff of illumination towards the corners is remarkably well controlled. At 11mm the corners are only 0.9 stops darker than the centre, and at 16mm this level drops to 0.4 stops. Visually uniform illumination is achieved at T/4 throughout the zoom range.
Distortion is very well controlled for a lens of this type, with barrel distortion of only 3.3% at 11mm and 1.07% at 16mm. At both ends of the zoom range, the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so it should be relatively easy to correct in editing software afterwards if required.
A deep, flock-lined petal-shaped hood is supplied with the lens, which does an excellent job of keeping extraneous light that may cause flare off the front element. Strong point sources of light, such as the sun can cause flare and loss of contrast when towards the edges of the frame, or just out of the imaging area, but only under severe circumstances.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Lens Sample Photos
Value For Money
Some folks may think it a little cheeky of Tokina to charge extra for a lens that is virtually the same as the standard 11-16mm lens, but has some gears stuck on the focus rings. If you're buying this lens for cinema work, rather than still and have all the fancy motorised equipment for operating the geared lens rings and stepless aperture, then it could be worth the extra. Whether £900 extra is a step too far is a question only you can answer.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Verdict
Those deeply into digital video work will really appreciate the performance and handling of this lens. It produces sharp, contrasty images with relatively low distortion and falloff.
Whether the improved handling it worth an extra £900 to Canon EOS camera system users is another matter. If you have already invested in all the equipment to take advantage of the geared focus and zoom rings, as well as the stepless aperture, then it could well be worth the extra to you.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Pros
Very good sharpness
Low distortion for the type of lens
Excellent build quality
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Cons
Chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame
Could be considered expensive, especially as the standard version can be picked up for around £900 less
|VALUE FOR MONEY
With thanks to Harrison Cameras for providing the loan of the Canon EOS 7D.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 Cine Lens Specifications
|Focal Length||11mm - 16mm|
|Angle of View||82° - 104°|
|35mm equivalent||No Data|
|Maximum magnification||No Data|
|Box Contents||No Data|
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