Tokina Vista primes deliver performance typically associated with lenses that are far more expensive. They are purpose-built cinema lenses, not rehoused still photography lenses. They cover well past Full Frame. They are sharp, and do not suffer from much in the way of aberrations.
They have little to no perceptible focus breathing and they are T1.5 from 18mm all the way to 135mm. All that performance comes at the cost of added size and weight. They are among the heavier prime lens options, but their image quality more than makes up for the added weight.
Corner resolution decreases at T2.8.
The Tokina Cinema Vista Primes are a fast, modern lens from a 100% ground-up design specific to this project that does not share any designs from Tokina photo lenses or other projects in the past. Tokina has a long history of design and manufacture for several other manufacturers so while the brand is relatively new to cinema, the design and manufacturing experience of the company is nothing new to the cinema market.
The Vista primes are all T1.5 with very high MTF that well exceeds any modern sensor resolution capabilities. The lenses are designed to exceed the performance requirements of all current 8K sensors on the market. They project an image illumination circle in the 49mm to 62mm range with an area of definition of 46.7mm across the set to match the RED Monstro Vista Vision full sensor and smaller ARRI LF sensor in 4.5K Open Gate. The larger illumination circle of these lenses allows them to cover Alexa 65 sensor in 5K 16:9 with the 18mm T1.5 and cover the Alexa 65 sensor in full 2:1 Open Gate on the 35mm to 135mm focal lengths. Use of the lenses with the full illumination image circle such as use on the Alexa 65 is possible however the flare characteristics change toward edge of the frame when used outside the intended area of definition. The downside to this series are they are very large and heavy. This is owed to the cover-all huge image circle and minimal breathing design. The air gaps and corresponding extra metal along with the budget minded mechanical build makes them beastly. Most professional productions don’t notice or care but if you are heading out of a long day of handheld shooting, you might want to consider the weight as a factor.The relative illumination is very well controlled allowing for very little fall off in relative brightness across the frame all the way up to the 46.7mm image circle of definition.
Focus breathing is exceptionally well controlled varying from approximately 2% on the 18mm to less than 1% on focal lengths from 50mm to 135mm.The lenses feature minimal distortion in all focal lengths. They also have a fine micro contrast reminiscent of Leica Summicron series lenses. These features make them the choice of many productions for VFX and 2nd Unit use given their predictable performance from focal length to focal length.
The flare of these lenses can be characterized as a soft flare adding natural diffusion to light sources wide open. The design of the lens allows the flare to be increased off axis more so than other modern designs striking a balance between modern sterility associated with Japanese manufactured lenses and vintage flare associated with older German designs.The Vista are a diffraction limited design allowing for chromatic aberrations to be very well controlled wide open. Chromatic aberration is very difficult to impossible to observe at T1.5.
Tokina Vista primes are quite impressive on paper, so I will let the specs speak for themselves. They are big, and heavy, and their mechanics are where Tokina probably could have spent more time and money. Where Tokina clearly spared no expense was optical quality. These lenses are quite sharp even wide open, they are high contrast lenses, with low distortion, and aberrations are very well controlled.
Their performance combined with almost no visible focus breathing is quite an achievement and puts them at a performance level typically reserved for lenses far more expensive. I wouldn’t call these lenses “cheap,” but considering what they can do, and their huge image circle, they are priced very competitively.
The images they produce are crisp, and clean, and I like the cat’s eye bokeh when shooting wide open. I think these lenses will be shooting a lot of commercial work. I think you will also continue to see rental houses and third party “tuners” continuing to detune these lenses. There are already several options out there for de-tuned Vista Primes.
I had the pleasure of using the Tokina Vistas not long ago on a short and they were great! Built like a tank and consistent throughout, I was really happy with how they rendered skin tones, facial structure and bokeh given the intimate nature of my shoot. A superior set of lenses.
I really do love the image quality of the Tokina Vista Primes as well as their “Beyond VV” image circle. If you can get over the size and weight of these beasts, then they’re a fantastic choice for really crisp, clean cinematography. The accuracy and consistency of the Vista Primes is commendable.
Tokina Cinema has really stepped up to the plate and are punching way above their weight class with the Vista Primes. The Vista Primes are a wonderful blend of clean and modern optics, without being overly clinical and sharp.
The bokeh and focus rolloff are really creamy which provides a pleasant image with pristine representation. The lack of focus breathing and impressive T1.5 speed across the entire range of focal lengths is a feat to be admired. That 18mm T1.5 is really special, covering well beyond Large Format and Vista Vision. I can safely say these are my favorite modern optics, no matter what format I’m shooting.
The lenses also flare very nicely when hit with off-axis lights. They are a bit on the heavy side, but I don’t mind dealing with the weight in exchange for the stellar performance and optics.