Tokina Releases Three New Very Compact Super-Telephoto Lenses
In a somewhat unusual move for a well-known lens manufacturer, Tokina has launched an IndieGoGo campaign for a triple-set of super-telephoto APS-C prime lenses. These are a 300mm f/7.1, a 600mm f/8 and a 900m /f11.
The lens trio was first announced last month but only for sale on the Japanese market at the time. This is no longer the case today since the IndieGoGo campaign made them deliverable to other parts of the world.
According to Tokina, the three lenses, formally named the SZ 300mmPRO Reflex F7.1 MF CF, SZ 600mmPRO Reflex F8 MF CF, and SZ 900mmPRO Reflex F11 MF CF, are all fully manual models. They also have a reflex, or mirror lens build that’s also called a catadioptric optical design.
All three are geared for APS-C mirrorless cameras and are specifically compatible with Canon EF-M mount cameras, Fujifilm X-mount models and Canon E-mount cameras.
One benefit of the catadioptric optical mirror design in these lens models is that it lets them be built very compactly and with little weight. This is all the more useful because neither trait is typical with lenses with super-telephoto capabilities.
As Tokina itself explains:
“Telephoto type lenses are a really attractive and desirable type of lens for many photographers because they capture objects in minute details that the human eye cannot see. However, these lenses are traditionally large, heavy, and expensive. They are not a lens that can be enjoyed casually. Tokina’s compact and lightweight mirror lenses are the solution to this problem,”
The company further elaborates that mirror lenses were more common in the past, at a time when film and DSLR cameras offered, a narrow ISO range, and low resolution, and lacked both a zoomable rear screen and image stabilization.
Because of these camera traits, manual focus mirror lenses could be very hard to use and this made them become increasingly unpopular, right up to the recent past.
Now, however, according to Tokina, camera technology has advanced enormously across all of the above fronts and this lets extremely compact catadioptric lenses with manual focus and super-telephoto zoom work robustly in ways that were “previously impossible.”
Other mirror-style lenses by Tokina have apparently lived up to the company’s claims of high quality too. As one reporter from PetaPixel, Ryan Mense, explained after testing some newer models, they perform quite well.
This performance with modern cameras is just one benefit of these lens types. Another is their incredibly compact size and yet another benefit of these optics is their generally low pricing. For example, one recent 400mm f/8 edition from Tokina costs only $250 despite its high-performance quality.
On the other hand, there is one photographically visible downside to these mirror lenses. However, it depends on photographer opinion: They tend to create a rather unusual looking ring-shaped bokeh blur.
Their lack of autofocus ability is also something that some photographers might not like too much.
In any case, Tokina has made its three latest mirror-designed super-telephoto lenses available on its IndieGoGo page until November 29th.
True to their low-price tendency, these three are all pretty affordable, being respectively priced at $322 for the 300mm f/7.1, $484 for the 600mm f/8 and $565 for the 900mm f/11 edition. Tokina promises to deliver the lenses to buyers by January of the coming year.