Tokina Opera 50mm – The Landscape Side of Opera
UPDATE 2019-05-15 -> Adobe just released a lens profile for Opera 50mm F/1.4 in the latest update of May 2019 (LR Classic 8.3 / Camera Raw 11.3)
It’s really interesting how a 50mm lens can be so versatile and can be used for different types of photography, and with this post I will write my experiences for Opera 50mm as a landscape/travel lens, continuing from my previous review which was how the Opera 50mm is performing on portraits (and weddings).
Hey, wait ! You said 50mm ? For landscape ?
Usually the majority of the photographers will start their landscape photography journey with a wide angle or an ultra wide angle so to capture nearly everything in their frame. Of course that’s not necessarily a “wrong” thing to do (after all there is no such thing as right or wrong in photography in general) and I can tell you very honestly that I’m still using wide angles in my landscape photography work if it is required by the conditions or the client needs.
But personally I find it more challenging to use a prime lens, in this case the Opera 50mm lens, for this type of shooting as it will make you think more about your framing, the elements you want to exclude (or include), while also encourages you to move around to find new perspectives.
But first things first.
The Tokina Opera 50mm F/1.4 lens is a new premium lens for high end DSLR users, built with the highest standards in a beautiful modern looking design, and packed with high quality optics that provides amazing image quality and performance.
The lens is made with high quality materials and feels like it can handle the weather elements with ease. It also has a rubber ring at the mount to prevent dust penetration and is partially weather-sealed which means that you can continue shooting even if there is a small rain outside.
The robust tank-feeling of the lens construction along with the optical elements packed inside comes with the price of the increased weight. I’m sure though that the produced image quality will definitely “pay” you off.
Due to the increased weight the lens feels and fits better to a pro level DSLR, in smaller camera bodies it would probably feel front-weighted, and please note that if you plan to have the camera with this lens strapped to your neck to walk around in a location, it will definitely tire you..
The Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4 features a 72mm filter thread and you can attach your favorite landscape filters without vignetting issues. The BH-726 lens hood is made of plastic and although is pretty large, it does a good job in both protecting the front element and reducing ghosting / flares.
If a circular polarizer filter is used (or other rotating filter), there is a small opening hatch on the lens hood that gives access to the filter so to rotate as needed without removing the hood.
The Perspective of 50mm
The 50mm focal length was always one of the favorites among photographers not only for its given versatility but also of the field of view it creates, which seems more natural and it resembles to a point the perspective of our eyes.
Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4 has an angle of view of 47o and with this lens you can create more tight crops of the scenery while also exploring new perspectives and compositions.
In case you want to capture more of the landscape in front of you or you feel that the 50mm is somewhat tight for the desired framing, you can simply turn the camera to vertical (portrait orientation) and create a stunning panorama or mosaic, while keeping at the same time all the details of the scenery !
Vertical Panorama of 57 photos -Final Panorama Size 280MP / Nikon D850, Opera 50mm @ F/8 , 1/200, ISO 200, Hoya GradND10 Filter
In terms of resolution and sharpness, I have already stated my personal opinion in a previous review that the lens is phenomenal. When this lens is used with a high resolution camera, the captured result will excite you with its amazing image quality and details across the frame.
Color Rendering & Contrast
For landscape photography (micro)contrast is very important as the lens must be able to distinguish the boundaries of areas with different luminance levels, and the Tokina Opera 50mm handles contrast excellent. Contrast is also bound to color rendering and again the Opera 50mm performance is very good as it reproduces colors very accurately.
Nikon D850 – Opera 50mm @ f/11, 4sec, ISO 64, Kenko RealProND100, Hoya GradND10 Filter
Nikon D850 – Opera 50mm @ f/4, 1/800, ISO 400
Wide aperture prime lenses are in general more prone to producing Chromatic Aberration but Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4 handles CA very well and in the majority of the photos I took with this lens, it wasn’t visible. It can be seen sometimes under very intense lighting situations and/or near the edges of the frame, but it can be removed easily in post as can be seen in the following images.
*Please note that until the time of writing this review, Adobe hasn’t released a lens profile for Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4*
Nikon D850 – Opera 50mm @ f/6.3, 1/160, ISO 64, Hoya GradND10 Filter
Even though a landscape photographer will probably focus manually to his scene, I must say that the autofocus performance of Tokina Opera 50mm is superb and even in dim light conditions the lens will focus accurately on your selected focus point. The autofocus mechanism is very fast, very silent and so far in nearly all my photos, very accurate even if a large aperture is used and/or there is a moving subject like this squirrel !
Nikon D850 – Opera 50mm @ f/2, 1/250, ISO 64
If you prefer to use manual focus or you simply shooting video, you will find the focus ring to be large and very smooth. From my tests so far, the distance scale seems pretty accurate and is marked bright and clear for both feet and meters on top of the lens.
A superb lens for landscape, either nature or urban, with excellent performance and amazing image quality. A great choice due to its versatility and performance as a travel go-to lens, just remember not to have your camera strapped around your neck with the lens attached..
London Skyline Part II (under haze) – Nikon D850 & Opera 50mm @ f/4, 1/25, ISO 2500