It's official! As previously rumored, Tokina has indeed launched a new ultra-wide zoom lens for Sony E-mount APS-C cameras. The atx-m 11-18mm F2.8 E is Tokina's first wide angle zoom lens designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. It joins four existing primes in Tokina's atx-m E-mount line-up.
The lens is ideal for shooting not just interiors and architecture, but also forced-perspective close-ups thanks to its short 19cm minimum focus distance. Measuring just 74.1mm long and weighing 335g, the atx-m 11-18mm F2.8 E is well suited to Sony's compact, lightweight APS-C bodies: useful not just for handheld stills shooting, but also vlogging, as well as integrating into a gimbal setup.
The large, constant f/2.8 max aperture, combined with a 9-blade rounded diaphragm, promises soft background bokeh. Tokina also claims rich color reproduction, low distortion and low light fall-off. The 13-element, 11-group optical stack incorporates two aspherical and two super low-dispersion elements to supress chromatic aberrations. Optical elements including the front glass are multi-coated to minimize ghosting and flare "to an unprecedented level".
Autofocusing is taken care of by a supposedly silent stepping motor system, which coupled with the lens position sensor should ensure fast and precise focus transitions in both stills and video.
The lens is fully compatible with Sony camera functions, including Image Stabilization, Direct Manual Focus, MF Assist, Eye AF and optical corrections. A Micro USB socket enables firmware updates
Priced at US$699, the atx-m 11-18mm F2.8 E technically undercuts the $829 RRP of Tamron's excellent rival 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD. However that lens can currently be purchased for $649, so the new Tokina lens will need to be a truly stellar performer to compete. We already have a review sample for testing, so look out for our full review soon.