Tokina 16-28mm f2.8

Or, Tokina AF 16-28mm f2.8 AT-X Pro SD FX as it’s officially called (I’ll just call it ”Tokina” in the rest of the post, I’m sure you understand why…). This is the new lens in my bag, when I finally gave in and got the wideangle I had been long wanting and long dreading!

Used on my 40D, the lens becomes 26-45mm. Not an extreme wide angle at all, but certainly wider than my 24-105mm zoom that has been my widest lens for years. The Sigma 15mm fisheye is obviously just a little bit wider, but with it being a fisheye it has very limited usability and I’ve only really used it in the winter for night photography. And this is the reason why I wanted to have a lens with a wide aperture, I mean in normal landscape photography the wide aperture means nothing, but in the winter I would sorely be missing the extra stop of light, considering that in order to shoot stars without trailing them I’m reduced to a shutter speed of 15 sec and I sure don’t want to crank up the ISO to compensate. I also wanted to have a lens that works with full frame cameras, so I only had two lenses to choose from and the Tokina was cheaper than the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L.

probably not the trail
This is probably not the trail I should be following…

If I had had the budget for the Canon, it would’ve been a better option in that it is smaller and lighter than the Tokina and it also accepts filters (82mm, which would’ve been an additional investment). Because those are really my main complaints; no filter thread and the Tokina is heavy, I mean how can a wideangle lens be bigger and heavier than a 24-105mm zoom…? But it can, so I hope that the bulk gives me something nice in return. Nice being, low CA and distortion and overall sharpness. Having taken my first pictures, I can say that the CA is indeed well under control, in fact it has less CA than the Canon 24-105mm! Distortion is negligible, I could barely detect any distortion at all when I lined up the lens with walls. I even tried with the analog camera so I could see the full view but still no distortion worth mentioning, so if there is any it’s a moot point with nature photography.


Which leaves me sharpness. The centre sharpness is excellent, I won’t take any test pictures and compare the lens side by side with my Canon zoom because I’m perfectly happy looking at the pictures I took today. Corner sharpness however can be debated, but then again, it can be debated with the Canon zoom as well. But a mental note to myself, I have to try the lens full open. I was shooting at f8 today which is normally the sweet spot of any lens, so it will be interesting to see what happens at f2.8. Tomorrow morning should be sunny, so I’ll have another chance.

Burnt forest in Hamra NP
Burnt forest in Hamra NP

But as I said, today was the first day out with the lens. The weather was a bit iffy, but there was a window in the morning without too much rain so I drove to Svartåmyren after breakfast. I wanted wide open spaces to try out the wideangle, I didn’t really know what I would do with it in the forest so a big mire sounded like a good idea. I decided that I wouldn’t zoom in at all so I kept the lens at 16mm, this is a new thing for me. My photography is normally based on getting closer to things! But zooming in and never using a real wideangle means that my landscape photos become somewhat static and clinical. Composition is by the book but when nothing happens in the images, what’s does it leave me? It leaves me struggling with landscapes because I’m never as happy with them as I am with my macros. They say that equipment doesn’t make you a better photographer, but I think sometimes it helps… I hope I can improve my landscapes now. In theory I know how to use a wideangle lens, so now I have to learn to see the world in wide angles as well. I’m quite excited about this actually!

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