Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Third Party, First Rate

Tokina's new 16-28mm f2.8 lens

I just knew this would happen: Tokina, the last of the traditional technology-only lens makers would join the modern world this year. Now, with an announcement this morning, Tokina has done just that in a big way!

Digital Photography Review broke the story. Tokina has released a 35mm/full frame capable 16-28mm f2.8 zoom with a sonic drive and weather sealing. With this release, Tokina becomes the last of the Big 3 third party manufacturers (Sigma and Tamron are the others) to add a sonic drive on a lens and the first to add weather sealing (which nicely keeps with a company known for its tough build quality). If the past is an indication of the future, this lens should be a gem as Tokina's digital-only ultrawides (11-16mm f2.8 and 12-24mm f4 (I and II versions) are both superb optics.

This is great news, especially for me, as I'm crazy (own a 28-70 2.8, 80-200 2.8, 100 macro 2.8) about Tokina products!

The lens will be available in Nikon and Canon versions and is set to ship in August and September, respectively at a MSRP of $1,400. However, I foresee a $800-$1000 street price.

So what does this mean for the future? I can foresee further fullframe capable Tokina products of such quality in the future. Currently, Tokina makes no standard or fast telephoto zooms for full frame. With the long-time Canon monopoly on FF dead, expect Tokina to start getting back into the 35mm/FF game as there are, once again, profits to be made. What do I expect to see? How about sonically driven, weather sealed 24/28-70mm f2.8 and 70/80-200mm f2.8 lenses.

Only time will tell.

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