RMC Tokina 28 mm f/2.8

RMC Tokina 28 mm f/2.8

Back when I was beginning my adventure with vintage lenses, I had no idea what to buy and what to expect from the purchase. I was mainly interested in a cheap way of doing macro photography. The plan was to use my telephoto lens (250 mm on an APS-C camera, which gave me an equivalent of 375 mm focal length on full frame) and reverse mount a wide angle lens in front of it. I did a quick search for some used vintage wide angle lenses and one of the results was the RMC Tokina 28 mm f/2.8.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, with an adapted vintage wide-angle lens. Reverse coupling lenses for macro photography is a thing of the past for me and now I use my Tokina for landscape, woodland and general travel photography. Here are some of my experiences with the lens.

Overview and Build

The RMC Tokina line contains well respected but budget friendly lenses. They were manufactured from the late seventies to mid eighties before being replaced by a newer, more advanced line (SL, I believe). Being a third-party manufacturer, Tokina didn't limit their products to a single lens mount and instead provided cheap glass to users of all the major camera brands. My copy uses the Minolta SR mount.

Construction-wise, it has 5 elements in 5 groups. It's made of metal and glass, with a rubberised focus ring and no plastic parts. The housing came in at least two variants, possibly due to a cosmetic change at some point. My 1981 unit came with a narrower focus ring where the rubber inlay had 3 rows of ridges and green RMC Tokina lettering on the branding ring. The 1985 one I currently use has 4 rows (although the overall length of the lens remains the same) and uses white lettering. The focus throw is rather long, around 210°. The front filter thread has a 52 mm diameter. The aperture has 6 slightly curved blades and goes from 2.8 to 16 in half-stop clicks except for two full-stop clicks: from 2.8 to 4 and 11 to 16. The minimum focusing distance is a standard 30 cm.

Image Quality

This lens is a fine piece of kit. In terms of sharpness, it's more than usable wide open and only gets sharper as the aperture stops down. The extreme corners never fully sharpen, making it behave better on APS-C sensors.

Contrast is not much of an issue, even when shooting against bright light. Flares are well controlled. Some blue flares appear when the light source is in or just outside the image but they're not unpleasant and in many cases, just hard to notice. I haven't actively hunted for sunstars but when they do appear, they have 6 arms.

The bokeh isn't a strong point of any wide angle lens though it's certainly possible to achieve a creamy background when shooting from a sufficiently close distance.

Chromatic aberration is a bit of a mixed bag. Across the entire image, there's just a hint of red fringing on contrasting edges, unintrusive and easily corrected in post. Extreme corners are a different story though. They suffer from pronounced blue fringing that only gets subdued when the aperture closes down. There's also an unpleasant distortion that blurs the image and smears any specular highlights outwards. This distortion is my biggest complaint about the lens.

Pros & Cons

  • + Affordable
  • + Easy to find on the used market
  • + Sharp, even wide open
  • + Good contrast
  • + Long focus throw, allowing precise focusing
  • + Solid construction
  • - Some chromatic aberration
  • - Distortion in the extreme corners


The RMC Tokina 28 mm f/2.8 is a capable piece of glass. It's a solid performer, especially on APS-C. On full frame cameras, the distortion in the extreme corners can be an issue. Still, given its affordability, the price to quality ratio is very good. I'm happy to recommend this lens to anyone willing to accept the corner image quality degradation.