A great lens that missed the boat

Started 4 months ago | User reviews
Richard Murdey
Richard Murdey Veteran Member • Posts: 3,013
A great lens that missed the boat
2

To be clear, the Tokina Opera 50/1.4 is the Pentax D-FA* 50/1.4 in casual Friday attire. Same optics, same AF motor, same size, same weight ... but with a cheaper feeling, and cheaper looking, external finish. On the Tokina version, the matt black powder coating scuffs easily, while the Pentax speckled finish is far more robust. The Tokina has a cheap, serrated rubber focus ring, the Pentax gets a knobby, harder, and more secure feeling version. The Tokina is plain and understated, with simple (and easily rubbed off) painted lettering and and odd mix of fonts, the Pentax version comes in the distinctive and attractive D-FA* trade dress, gold ring, green anodized trim, and bold fonts.

By going with such bland, cheap-looking, and nondescript design language for what should have been a statement product for them, Tokina failed big time. Clearly though, by the time this lens was nearing release Tokina was no longer interested investing time or effort into dLSR optics. And to be fair, this was was never going to sell very well, no matter what they did to the outside, and no matter how good it was on the inside. The era of expensive, premium 3rd party dLSR prime lenses, that opened with the first Sigma ART, was already sunsetted. The Tokina Opera was born of their partnership with Pentax, vetted at a time when these lenses were still viable on other SLR mounts, but by the time it came out even Tokina had realized that the rest of the world had moved on.

Seriously: zero reviews posted to dpreview in 3 years.

Anyway. For optical reviews just go read the info on the Pentax version. I have both, I can vouch for the performance of both lenses being identical.

As far as the any specific system issues, I have the Nikon version and use it on my D750. It is a large and heavy lens, but the D750 handles it well - balancing it better, I would say, than the K-1 does the D-FA*. Focus is quiet, accurate and smooth, but not especially fast. Manual focus is positive, with no jitter or lag. I am happy to report that the automatic lens corrections that Nikon's own lenses benefit from in software seem to be implemented here also - I can get automatic vignetting and distortion correction in NX-studio for example. I guess Tokina paid the appropriate license fees to get the AF-S coding properly implemented.

Although the optical and functional performance is near flawless, it's a hard lens to justify buying. There's the Sigma ART 50/1.4 that's the same thing essentially. Then there's the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. Smaller, far lighter, similar performance. There's the many 50mm primes that, while not quite as good, are much, much cheaper - and much smaller and lighter too. And there's the stellar Zeiss Planar 50/1.4mm ZF if you don't mind manual focus. Lots of great choice, not a lot of room left for the Opera to make a name for itself.

Still, if you are a heavy 50mm user, don't mind the the 950 g weight, and want to treat yourself to an extremely high level of optical performance, this lens will not disappoint.

 Richard Murdey's gear list:Richard Murdey's gear list
Nikon D750 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/25 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50 +13 more
Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4
Prime lens • Canon EF, Nikon F (FX)
Announced: Feb 28, 2018
Richard Murdey's score
5.0
Average community score
5.0
Nikon D750 Pentax K-1 Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4
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Timotis77
Timotis77 Contributing Member • Posts: 612
Re: A great lens that missed the boat
1

Thanks for the Review on Tokina, I almost pulled the trigger about a year ago, but already had the Sigma 50mm - I thought can it be any better......

Anyway didn’t buy it in the end and instead purchased a the 58mm 1.4 G to add to the Sigma 50mm - Love the 58mm so much, sold the Sigma about 3 months later and don’t miss the 50mm length!

Maybe, just maybe if I do want a 50mm again, I’m going to buy the Tokina for sure......

Thanks again for the review..

Richard Murdey
OP Richard Murdey Veteran Member • Posts: 3,013
Re: A great lens that missed the boat

Thanks for the kind words.

It's really hard to recommend the Tokina against the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. The 58mm is a fantastic lens, I am unable to point to any one specific thing and confidently say "the Tokina does that better". While the list price is $1500 vs. $1000, it seems silly to come this far and then decide to penny pinch. And the Nikon is 1/3 the weight.

The character of the two are rather different, though here again I'd be hard press to articulate how so. If this makes any sense: The Pentax/Tokina is more methodical and deliberate, the overriding sense is of corner-to-corner control. The Nikon more open somehow, less concerned about how good it is.

 Richard Murdey's gear list:Richard Murdey's gear list
Nikon D750 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/25 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50 +13 more
Timotis77
Timotis77 Contributing Member • Posts: 612
Re: A great lens that missed the boat

Richard Murdey wrote:

Thanks for the kind words.

It's really hard to recommend the Tokina against the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. The 58mm is a fantastic lens, I am unable to point to any one specific thing and confidently say "the Tokina does that better". While the list price is $1500 vs. $1000, it seems silly to come this far and then decide to penny pinch. And the Nikon is 1/3 the weight.

The character of the two are rather different, though here again I'd be hard press to articulate how so. If this makes any sense: The Pentax/Tokina is more methodical and deliberate, the overriding sense is of corner-to-corner control. The Nikon more open somehow, less concerned about how good it is.

Defiantly something about the charather of the 58mm 1.4 G thats very hard to explain, until one owns one - I really though id hold onto my Sigma 50mm ART as I didnt think I was going to like the focal length of the 58 - But just found myself not having a need for 50mm, and not wanting take the 58mm off my body...

The fall of from point of focus to out of focus is something different Id hadn't had with any other lens I'd owned before.

Still if I was in the market for a 50mm again, it would be out of the Sigma and Tokina

thunder storm Senior Member • Posts: 7,595
Re: A great lens that missed the boat
1

Timotis77 wrote:

but already had the Sigma 50mm - I thought can it be any better......

This.

-- hide signature --

I love 50mm (equivalence)

 thunder storm's gear list:thunder storm's gear list
Canon EOS M6 II Canon EOS R5 Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 35-80mm f/4.0-5.6 III Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +18 more
ASR45
ASR45 Forum Pro • Posts: 37,290
Re: A great lens that missed the boat
1

Richard Murdey wrote:

To be clear, the Tokina Opera 50/1.4 is the Pentax D-FA* 50/1.4 in casual Friday attire. Same optics, same AF motor, same size, same weight ... but with a cheaper feeling, and cheaper looking, external finish. On the Tokina version, the matt black powder coating scuffs easily, while the Pentax speckled finish is far more robust. The Tokina has a cheap, serrated rubber focus ring, the Pentax gets a knobby, harder, and more secure feeling version. The Tokina is plain and understated, with simple (and easily rubbed off) painted lettering and and odd mix of fonts, the Pentax version comes in the distinctive and attractive D-FA* trade dress, gold ring, green anodized trim, and bold fonts.

By going with such bland, cheap-looking, and nondescript design language for what should have been a statement product for them, Tokina failed big time. Clearly though, by the time this lens was nearing release Tokina was no longer interested investing time or effort into dLSR optics. And to be fair, this was was never going to sell very well, no matter what they did to the outside, and no matter how good it was on the inside. The era of expensive, premium 3rd party dLSR prime lenses, that opened with the first Sigma ART, was already sunsetted. The Tokina Opera was born of their partnership with Pentax, vetted at a time when these lenses were still viable on other SLR mounts, but by the time it came out even Tokina had realized that the rest of the world had moved on.

Seriously: zero reviews posted to dpreview in 3 years.

Anyway. For optical reviews just go read the info on the Pentax version. I have both, I can vouch for the performance of both lenses being identical.

As far as the any specific system issues, I have the Nikon version and use it on my D750. It is a large and heavy lens, but the D750 handles it well - balancing it better, I would say, than the K-1 does the D-FA*. Focus is quiet, accurate and smooth, but not especially fast. Manual focus is positive, with no jitter or lag. I am happy to report that the automatic lens corrections that Nikon's own lenses benefit from in software seem to be implemented here also - I can get automatic vignetting and distortion correction in NX-studio for example. I guess Tokina paid the appropriate license fees to get the AF-S coding properly implemented.

Although the optical and functional performance is near flawless, it's a hard lens to justify buying. There's the Sigma ART 50/1.4 that's the same thing essentially. Then there's the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. Smaller, far lighter, similar performance. There's the many 50mm primes that, while not quite as good, are much, much cheaper - and much smaller and lighter too. And there's the stellar Zeiss Planar 50/1.4mm ZF if you don't mind manual focus. Lots of great choice, not a lot of room left for the Opera to make a name for itself.

Still, if you are a heavy 50mm user, don't mind the the 950 g weight, and want to treat yourself to an extremely high level of optical performance, this lens will not disappoint.

Great review I get mine tomorrow, originaly they were £899 then sale price for £599, mine I got new for £478 from Amazon excellent price cannot wait to try it out.

-- hide signature --

Alan.
Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.
- Peter Adams
Believe in Karma.

 ASR45's gear list:ASR45's gear list
Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon 6D Mark II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +10 more
Timotis77
Timotis77 Contributing Member • Posts: 612
Re: A great lens that missed the boat
1

ASR45 wrote:

Richard Murdey wrote:

To be clear, the Tokina Opera 50/1.4 is the Pentax D-FA* 50/1.4 in casual Friday attire. Same optics, same AF motor, same size, same weight ... but with a cheaper feeling, and cheaper looking, external finish. On the Tokina version, the matt black powder coating scuffs easily, while the Pentax speckled finish is far more robust. The Tokina has a cheap, serrated rubber focus ring, the Pentax gets a knobby, harder, and more secure feeling version. The Tokina is plain and understated, with simple (and easily rubbed off) painted lettering and and odd mix of fonts, the Pentax version comes in the distinctive and attractive D-FA* trade dress, gold ring, green anodized trim, and bold fonts.

By going with such bland, cheap-looking, and nondescript design language for what should have been a statement product for them, Tokina failed big time. Clearly though, by the time this lens was nearing release Tokina was no longer interested investing time or effort into dLSR optics. And to be fair, this was was never going to sell very well, no matter what they did to the outside, and no matter how good it was on the inside. The era of expensive, premium 3rd party dLSR prime lenses, that opened with the first Sigma ART, was already sunsetted. The Tokina Opera was born of their partnership with Pentax, vetted at a time when these lenses were still viable on other SLR mounts, but by the time it came out even Tokina had realized that the rest of the world had moved on.

Seriously: zero reviews posted to dpreview in 3 years.

Anyway. For optical reviews just go read the info on the Pentax version. I have both, I can vouch for the performance of both lenses being identical.

As far as the any specific system issues, I have the Nikon version and use it on my D750. It is a large and heavy lens, but the D750 handles it well - balancing it better, I would say, than the K-1 does the D-FA*. Focus is quiet, accurate and smooth, but not especially fast. Manual focus is positive, with no jitter or lag. I am happy to report that the automatic lens corrections that Nikon's own lenses benefit from in software seem to be implemented here also - I can get automatic vignetting and distortion correction in NX-studio for example. I guess Tokina paid the appropriate license fees to get the AF-S coding properly implemented.

Although the optical and functional performance is near flawless, it's a hard lens to justify buying. There's the Sigma ART 50/1.4 that's the same thing essentially. Then there's the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. Smaller, far lighter, similar performance. There's the many 50mm primes that, while not quite as good, are much, much cheaper - and much smaller and lighter too. And there's the stellar Zeiss Planar 50/1.4mm ZF if you don't mind manual focus. Lots of great choice, not a lot of room left for the Opera to make a name for itself.

Still, if you are a heavy 50mm user, don't mind the the 950 g weight, and want to treat yourself to an extremely high level of optical performance, this lens will not disappoint.

Great review I get mine tomorrow, originaly they were £899 then sale price for £599, mine I got new for £478 from Amazon excellent price cannot wait to try it out.

That's a great price for the lens, let us know what you think of it when it comes.....

ASR45
ASR45 Forum Pro • Posts: 37,290
Re: A great lens that missed the boat
1

Timotis77 wrote:

ASR45 wrote:

Richard Murdey wrote:

To be clear, the Tokina Opera 50/1.4 is the Pentax D-FA* 50/1.4 in casual Friday attire. Same optics, same AF motor, same size, same weight ... but with a cheaper feeling, and cheaper looking, external finish. On the Tokina version, the matt black powder coating scuffs easily, while the Pentax speckled finish is far more robust. The Tokina has a cheap, serrated rubber focus ring, the Pentax gets a knobby, harder, and more secure feeling version. The Tokina is plain and understated, with simple (and easily rubbed off) painted lettering and and odd mix of fonts, the Pentax version comes in the distinctive and attractive D-FA* trade dress, gold ring, green anodized trim, and bold fonts.

By going with such bland, cheap-looking, and nondescript design language for what should have been a statement product for them, Tokina failed big time. Clearly though, by the time this lens was nearing release Tokina was no longer interested investing time or effort into dLSR optics. And to be fair, this was was never going to sell very well, no matter what they did to the outside, and no matter how good it was on the inside. The era of expensive, premium 3rd party dLSR prime lenses, that opened with the first Sigma ART, was already sunsetted. The Tokina Opera was born of their partnership with Pentax, vetted at a time when these lenses were still viable on other SLR mounts, but by the time it came out even Tokina had realized that the rest of the world had moved on.

Seriously: zero reviews posted to dpreview in 3 years.

Anyway. For optical reviews just go read the info on the Pentax version. I have both, I can vouch for the performance of both lenses being identical.

As far as the any specific system issues, I have the Nikon version and use it on my D750. It is a large and heavy lens, but the D750 handles it well - balancing it better, I would say, than the K-1 does the D-FA*. Focus is quiet, accurate and smooth, but not especially fast. Manual focus is positive, with no jitter or lag. I am happy to report that the automatic lens corrections that Nikon's own lenses benefit from in software seem to be implemented here also - I can get automatic vignetting and distortion correction in NX-studio for example. I guess Tokina paid the appropriate license fees to get the AF-S coding properly implemented.

Although the optical and functional performance is near flawless, it's a hard lens to justify buying. There's the Sigma ART 50/1.4 that's the same thing essentially. Then there's the Nikon 58mm F1.4G. Smaller, far lighter, similar performance. There's the many 50mm primes that, while not quite as good, are much, much cheaper - and much smaller and lighter too. And there's the stellar Zeiss Planar 50/1.4mm ZF if you don't mind manual focus. Lots of great choice, not a lot of room left for the Opera to make a name for itself.

Still, if you are a heavy 50mm user, don't mind the the 950 g weight, and want to treat yourself to an extremely high level of optical performance, this lens will not disappoint.

Great review I get mine tomorrow, originaly they were £899 then sale price for £599, mine I got new for £478 from Amazon excellent price cannot wait to try it out.

That's a great price for the lens, let us know what you think of it when it comes.....

Will do. 

-- hide signature --

Alan.
Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.
- Peter Adams
Believe in Karma.

 ASR45's gear list:ASR45's gear list
Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon 6D Mark II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +10 more
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