Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens Review

All photos of this review were captured by Christophe Anagnostopoulos.
February 7, 2022 -> Full Review was published.

***Reading Time: 14 minutes***

Intro

Tokina launched the SZ Product line in August 2020 with 400mm F8 Reflex lens being the first product, and since then it continuously increased the line-up of products, not only with new lenses like the SZ 500mm F8 Reflex, but with unique products like the Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens.

The Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens is an optical finder accessory that will drastically change the workflow of all photographers who are using long telephoto lenses, providing a unique approach as they compose their frame and tracking their subject, helping them to never miss a shot due to the narrow field of view of the viewfinder.

What Exactly is this Accessory?

Well, basically it is a very helpful optical finder that sits on the camera hot-shoe.
What it does is that it allows the photographer to not look directly into the camera viewfinder, in example when he wants to track a moving subject and the field of view is very narrow because a telephoto lens is being used, and instead to look through this optical tele finder, aiming the Red-Dot LED Light towards the subject.

Huge thanks to my friend Tasos for being the model on this shot.

Red Dot? Am I a Sniper?

Let’s clear some things out before we miss the point or get misunderstood.
The Tokina Super Tele Finder Lens accessory emits and shows a Red-Dot LED Light into the gorgeous colored glass screen and the idea is to aim the red dot towards the subject, in example towards a flying bird.

Please note that this is not similar to the Laser Red-Dot that you have seen on movies as the LED Red Dot of Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens is not visible outside of the orange glass screen.
So basically it is only visible for the photographer looking into the screen.

It is not dangerous or harmful to people or animals, it is just an aiding tool for framing and tracking the shot and nothing else.
So to conclude, no you are not a sniper, although you can get the feeling seeing the red-dot!

Build Quality, Lens Handling & Design

The Tokina Super Tele Finder Lens is being made in Japan, and its construction is from high quality aluminum.
It feels very robust and well built, and honestly the orange glass screen is really beautiful, making you want to see through it all the time!
The simple yet very effective design of the Super Tele Finder is weather proof, which means that you can continue shooting even under rainy conditions.

 

 

Size

The Super Tele Finder features a one-piece slim metallic body, and it has a size of 5.6cm x 2.9cm x 3.2 cm.
The weight is only 41.5g so except being small, it is also lightweight, meaning that you can have it on your camera bag all the time.

Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens on top of a Fujifilm X-T3 camera with Tokina SZ 500mm F8 Reflex Lens
Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens size comparison with Nikon En-El 15C Battery

Screen

As I mentioned before, the screen is honestly a joy to see and of course use out in the field, as the glass optic features Tokina’s exclusive Multi-Coating formula that ensures a clear view of the red dot even under harsh sunlight.
The screen of the unit has a size of 26 x 21mm and it consists of two high quality glass elements.
Please note that the screen can have a slight color gradation from green/cyan to orange/purple sometimes, depending on the angle of the viewer as also the projecting light, but this is natural due to the complex coating layers of the glass that ensures clear Red-Dot visibility even in a sunny day.

Red-Dot LED Light

The Red-Dot LED Light, which as mentioned before is only visible through the optic, can be adjusted in ten (10) brightness levels, covering every possible scenario, no matter if it is daytime or low light.

Buttons

On the left side of the unit there are two (2) small buttons, showing arrows towards up and down.
These buttons are being used to change the brightness levels of the Red-Dot.

These buttons also have a secondary function, that of powering on and off the unit.
More specifically, the Down arrow button if pressed once, it powers on the unit.
The Up arrow button if pressed continuously for 3 seconds, it will power off the unit.

 

Battery Life

The power supply of the Super Tele Finder comes from a simple CR2032 Lithium Battery (not included on the package), and depending the selected brightness level that the photographer will select will last:

  • Level 1: approx. 440 hours
  • Level 3: approx. 360 hours
  • Level 5: approx. 230 hours
  • Level 10: approx. 28 hours
(Approximate Levels based on Tokina Global Website)

It is also very important to note that the device has a sleep mode, that will be automatically activated in 3 minutes to save battery life.
In addition to the automatic sleep mode, the Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens also features a shake/motion sensor that can detect small moves and impacts so to ensure that the device will remain powered on when used.
The main unit will be automatically powered off after five (5) hours if the unit is not being used.

What Is Included in the Package?

Inside the package there are the following:

  • The Main Unit
  • A Rubber Cover for the Main Unit
  • A Hot-Shoe Adapter
  • A Long Plate
  • Three (3) Allen Keys (small, medium, large)
  • The Instruction Manual
  • The Warranty

 

*Testing Notes*

The lenses that were used for this review were the following:

1) Tokina SZ 400mm F8 Reflex (+2x Extender)
2) Tokina SZ 500mm F8 Reflex (+2x Extender)
3) Nikon 180mm F2.8 AF-D
4) Tokina Firin 100mm F2.8 Macro

*Disclaimer*

I’m a Global Ambassador of Tokina since 2017, however this is not a paid post, and I’m only expressing my personal thoughts and experience using the new Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens.

Does it need Calibration?

In order for the Tokina Super Tele Finder Lens to be 100% accurate, the unit needs Red-Dot LED Light Calibration prior to shooting and the steps are the following:

First you must attach the unit to the camera hot-shoe, and of course attach your selected lens.
Then, with the help of the included Allen keys, you have to adjust the vertical and horizontal levelling screws which are located on the top and on the right of the unit.
The idea here is to balance the Red-Dot LED Light with the center of your frame in order to achieve optimal accuracy levels.

How to Adjust

You must select a subject that is at least 10-15m away from the camera, and position it at the center of viewfinder or the monitor screen.
It is suggested to have the camera’s central AF point at the center position.
With the tripod stable and the ball-head locked in position, to avoid changing position during the calibration process, the photographer must adjust (if needed) the vertical and horizontal positions in the Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens so to match the Red-Dot LED Light of the main unit with the center of the viewfinder.

Personal Thoughts

Being 100% honest with you, I haven’t used anything like this before.
It is a unique accessory that will definitely provide a whole different feeling when shooting with long telephoto lenses.
It is very easy to attach to the camera, and even easier when used, as you just have to learn to look through the unit screen instead of the camera viewfinder.
Although it can be adjusted on all long focal lengths, I’m not sure it can be helpful to more common lenses  (focal length<200mm) as the field of view is not so narrow in these cases.

Conclusion

“An ideal and very helpful accessory for photographers who shoot with long telephoto lenses, that will provide massive assistance in their shooting workflow, no matter if they are amateurs or professionals.

Ratings

Build Quality:9.2 out of 10 stars (9.2 / 10)
Handling:8.8 out of 10 stars (8.8 / 10)
Size and Weight:9.2 out of 10 stars (9.2 / 10)
Screen Visibility:9.2 out of 10 stars (9.2 / 10)
Ease of Use:9.1 out of 10 stars (9.1 / 10)
Features:7.9 out of 10 stars (7.9 / 10)
Price:6.9 out of 10 stars (6.9 / 10)
Value for Money:8.1 out of 10 stars (8.1 / 10)
Average:8.6 out of 10 stars (8.6 / 10)

Recommended for wildlife and action photographers!

Tokina SZ Super Tele Finder Lens

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