Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for Nikon D7200, with samples

Since July 5th I've had the Nikon D7200 and Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and it's been okay but it sits a lot.  That doesn't sound quite right, does it?

For 2015, the D7200 is slightly better than adequate.  I chose it over the D5500 for two reasons:

  • 1/8000th of a second maximum shutter speed
  • weather-sealed body

My reason for choosing a camera body with APS-C sized sensor is that I wanted an easier ability to take wide-angle photos.  The sensor is different enough from micro Four-Thirds sensors that it should help when I need a landscape.  Unfortunately, the Sigma 18-35mm isn't very wide, an effective 135 Format range of 27-52.5mm.

Given that Olympus recently introduced the 7-14mm f/2.8 lens, I considered it for my Olympus and Panasonic bodies.  That would give an effective 135 Format range of 14-28mm.  It is plenty wide and fast enough until twilight with the E-M1's inbuilt image stabilization.

The only problem is the US$1299.99 cost.  I could buy the lens, but it's a niche lens for me.  The 12-40mm f/2.8 lens from Olympus or 12-35mm f/2.35 lens from Panasonic is what I usually use.  I photograph at skate parks regularly, and I rarely do a landscape.

I've been looking at a few wide lenses for the Nikon, after all, the sensor helps, and getting lenses that don't have to be extremely wide might lessen the cost.

It seemed as the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 was a very good choice, even though the range is extremely limited.  An effective 135 Format range of 16.5-24mm is useful, but it makes the lens rather a special purpose lens, don't you think?

At US$359.00 (US$120 off), it didn't take much prodding to get me to buy it.  It's obviously not weather-sealed but like the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, that might be okay if the image quality is better than good.  It's not likely that I'm going to do rainy landscapes.  If that was important to me, I'd have saved going to Nikon and just bought the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle lens.

In any case, I'm waiting for the package to arrive.

2015.12.17: Got the package at a little before 2 p.m. and I unpacked the lens, re-packed my backpack, and headed out the door.  I went to a point in the foothills above the San Francisco Bay Area near Fremont to get some photos.  Haven't had a chance to copy anything to the computer yet.  Should update with samples soon.

Lens works smoothly.  Manual focus is actuated by pulling the focus ring toward the camera body, just like my Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.  That's so easy to remember that I didn't think about it.

Manual Focus engaged with the focus ring back

Auto Focus engaged with the focus ring forward

Lens has a 77mm filter size, which is slightly larger than the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 (72mm filter) but the lens doesn't seem huge at all.  I suspect having a focal length range of only 5mm has a lot to do with that.  Once again, I bought the D7200 because of the wide angle possibilities that were more difficult with micro Four-Thirds.

All my 77mm filter sized lenses

Tokina at 11mm f/9.0

Tokina at 16mm f/9.0

Tokina at 11mm f/9.0

Tokina at 11mm f/9.0

Tokina at 16mm f/4.0
Sigma at 18mm f/9.0

Sigma at 18mm f/9.0

Sigma at 18mm f/9.0

Sigma at 19mm f/9.0
Sigma 18-35mm and Tokina 11-16mm

I used the Olympus 8mm f/1.8 fisheye as a reference to the wide end.  It has a 135 Format equivalent focal length of 16mm while the wide end of the Tokina is roughly 16.5mm.  The D7200 photos were taken at DX crop (rather than 1.3x, which would have given the D7200 a focal length multiplier like the Olympus E-M1 that was also used) and at 14-bit depth for better dynamic range.  D-Lighting was not used.

Olympus 8mm at f/6.3

Olympus 8mm at f/9.0
Olympus 8mm fisheye and Tokina 11-16mm

All of the lenses used provided good flare resistance with the sun in frame but were not perfect.  Obviously, the lens hoods weren't of much use when the lenses were directly pointed toward the sun.  The raw files of the photos were imported into Phase One Capture One Pro 8, without any further adjustment and output at 25% of the original size.

Update 2015.12.18: In two years, the lens must have changed a bit.  Lens Tip seems to agree with my opinion more often than not, but this review seems to say that the 11-16mm is a bit more problematic than I have seen.  Oh, looking at Tokina's page on the lens fixed everything.  The Nikon got a focusing motor for all those low-end bodies (D40, D60, etc.) that didn't have a focusing motor in the body.  The lens for Canon didn't get any update, so it apparently still has the old style motor that is noisy.

To me, every lens should have a focusing motor instead of depending on the camera body having it.  Then again, I don't want to use 30 year old lenses.  I want to use lenses with modern optics and coatings.  That's another reason I chose Olympus' Four-Thirds system in 2004.

Update 2016.01.24: Shots from the Tokina 11-16mm from the other day at a different location.

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