Lens manufacturer Tokina is set to release a CINE version of its popular 11-16mm lens for APS-C and other crop sensor cams. But do the changes justify such an inflated price?
If you're a DSLR shooter and own a Canon 7D or another camera with an APS-C sensor, you've no doubt heard of the Tokina 11-16mm lens. It is universally hailed as possibly the best ultra-wide available for those cameras. Because of the 1.6X crop factor, it is difficult to find good options at the wide end, but the venerable Tokina certainly fits the bill, with its great image quality, solid construction, and f2.8 max aperture.
After receiving feedback from its users, Tokina updated its lens to version two, with improved lens coatings, purportedly to reduce flair. Both versions are still offered through retail outlets, for around $600 and $700 respectively. But Tokina has decided to go one step further, unveiling yet another version of the 11-16mm lens at Broadcast Asia 2013...for around three times the price.
How much for lens gears?!
The newest incarnation of the Tokina 11-16mm family was obviously designed with cinematography in mind. This CINE lens expressed its aperture stops as T-stops, instead of the usual F-stops you see on photo lenses, for a more accurate accounting of light transmission adjusted for light loss through the glass. All this means that instead of being at a f2.8, it's at t3, but this is a change in measurement, not in behavior, as they should funciton identically. In addition, the lens has been constructed with focus, zoom, and aperture gear threads at standard pitch, making it compatible with your favorite follow focus kit. Finally, the declicked aperture allows shooters to bracket aperture mid-shot. And for all these cine-friendly improvements, Tokina would like for you to pay $2000.
It could be worse...
Optically, the Tokina 11-16mm cine is viturally idenitcal to the version two of the lens selling for $700. It's up to you to decide if the enhancements warrant the higher sticker price. I would imagine that many of these revamped Tokina lenses would get bought up by rental/hire houses, who would seek to make money on the investment. But I'm sure there are a few shooters out there with crop cams that might be drooling for this lens.
Before you scoff at that $2000 price tage, consider this: Duclos Lenses, a retailer and servicer of cinematic lenses, as of the writing of this article, still offers a 'Duclos 11-16mm', which is a Tokina converted for CINE, at the budget-busting price of $3495. In comparison, the official Tokina version seems like a bargain.
Video courtesy of newsshooter.com: