Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pentax and Tokina Fall 2006: 16-50mm f/2.8 and 50-130mm f/2.8 Lenses For APS-C

One of the things I'm most exited about this year is a new DA Zoom lens set from Pentax with faster apertures. Pentax's Japanese website mentions the upcoming lenses very briefly (PDF), at least since March. Tokina's recent roadmap also talks about the release of similar, if not identical, lenses. But instead of DA they refer to them as AT-X Pro DX lenses for Nikon. In both cases, they're designed for the APS-C sensor, with a ratio to traditional 35mm film of x1.5.

Tokina 16-50mm DX. Photo Copyright 2006, Tokina

Tokina is working with Pentax on the development of these lenses, although I'm unlcear as to who might be doing the final manufacturing. These lenses look like they'll be light and fast. They seem like they'll be perfect walk-around zooms, especially if they're optically on par with Pentax's incredible DA ED AL zoom lens, the 12-24mm f/4 IF (about $800). If the DA 16-45mm f/4 ED AL zoom has been the typical trade-up for the standard kit DSLR kit lens until now, the new DA 16-50mm might be the new cherry on top.

What remains to be seen is a street release date, all the specs, and pricing. Lately I've been whistfully thinking about these lenses, wondering how much I'll need to save up and if they're going to be as fun as I hope they are. I still use my 50mm f/1.4 as my typical fast lens and could almost jump at the DA 16-45mm with a rebate right now if only it promised to be faster than my kit zoom (not just sharper and with less chromatic aberration). Okay, and if I had the money. If you're in a similar boat, let's hope there's some new info soon!

Links: Tokina Lenses Announced at Tokyo PIE 2006, Pentax 2006 Lens Roadmap PDF (196kb), Pentax USA Lens Rebates Summer 2006

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