Tokina 16-28 2.8 Review

Camera Reviews, 29th Sep 2011

This is my 1st Product review on my new blog. I’ve used a lot of camera equipment in my search for the ‘perfect’ gear that supports, but doesn’t overpower, my shooting. While I’ve realized that this quest is an ever evolving search, I’ve decided that I should write frequent reviews on the gear that I’ve had experience with based on my style of shooting. So everything from a camera strap, bag to lenses, filters and bodies … As many of you who have met me or attended any the workshops I’ve conducted will know, I don’t get technical (so don’t expect DXO-type reviews), I’ll be talking about equipment from a user point of view and using plain, simple, to-the-point language (so do expect me to break into colloquialisms frequently :) )

My Experience With Tokina Lenses:

I have been using a lot of the OEM and 3rd Party lenses in last few years. Among the 3rd Party lenses, Tokina is one of my favorite.

Tokina lenses are very famous for their impeccable build quality and absolutely superb image and optical quality. I love their wide angle lenses a lot. When I used to use Nikon D200, I loved their DX format AF 12-24mm f/4 (my fav in DX) and AF 11-16mm f/2.8 which are actually very popular.

But when I shifted to complete Full Frame gear, I was praying for an equally wonderful 3rd Party UWA for FX. Till a few months back Tokina didn’t have a FX wide angle lens until they came up with the Awesome Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX which is specifically designed for full format DSLRs in mind. Thank god since both my cameras are full frame – It’s almost half the price of the wonderful Nikon 14-24 2.8!

What I like about this lens (After using it for almost 9 months)

  • In one word it is FANTASTIC or what we Bengali will say “Bapok” or in Hindi “Kya cheez hai mamu”!
  • Build quality is fantastic and so is the optical quality (Similar to Nikon 14-24 2.8 and even looks almost the same).
  • I shoot weddings as well as street. In demanding situation you need a lens which can withstand a lot of abuse, dirt and the weather – all of which this lens does perfectly.
  • The lens features an internal focusing mechanism so the front element does not rotate. The weight (950gm) and the ergonomics of lens is very nice and handles very well. Corners are sharp, CA is almost invisible, focus is fast (though not superfast).
  • The MF ring is very smooth to use.
  • The Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 FX has moderate barrel distortion at 16mm, and no visible distortion from 20mm through 28mm. (*as calculated by Ken Rockwell)
  • The 16-28 f/2.8 uses a newly developed silent DC motor that allows the lens to focus faster and more quietly then previous generations. The DC motor coupled with a new GMR (giant magneto-resistance) magnetic AF sensor work together to increase AF Speed. (*as per the technical info given in Tokina Website)
  • Another thing I like in most of the new age Tokina lenses are Tokina’s exclusive One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism allows the photographer to switch between AF and MF simply by snapping the focus ring forward for AF and back toward the camera to focus
    manually. This is cool, almost like a shotgun style 😀

What I dislike about this lens (or maybe it could be improved):

  • I didn’t like the fact that this lens has a “bulb-like” shape front element (Similar to Nikon 14-24 2.8) and thus cannot mount any filters – Sigh :( . I would lie if I say that because of the bulgy exposed lens element had almost given me heart attack many times.
  • Also the huge cap that comes with it tends to get loose and fall… I am also a bit panicky about that as the replacement cap for this lens might not be easily available thus keeping my lens elements exposed.
  • And the last thing I wish it had (maybe its wishing too much since it’s a UWA) is a Vibration Reduction System on it, though honestly I don’t miss it much!

Conclusion:

This UWA lens is big, heavy, and solid build. It feels well put together and the focus ring is smooth. The Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 is sharp (in par with twice expensive Nikon 14-24 2.8)
I still have complaints even for the new lens cap they give with it but I can live with it.
Despite it’s specs, its limitations make it somewhat of a specialist lens mostly to be used by Wedding Photographers, Street Photographers and Journalists as Landscape Photographers might not like the idea of not using filters .
All in all for me this lens has quickly become one of my favorite UWA lens and a must lens to have during my shoots.

This Japan made lens is priced at around Rs 59,000 with 2 Years Manufacturer Warranty

Specifications (*as given in Tokina Website):

Focal length 16-28mm
Maximum Aperture F2.8
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Construction E/G 15 Elements in 13 Groups
Coatings Multi-layer
Angle of View 107.11″-76.87°
Minimum Focus Dist 1:5.26
Reproduction Ratio 107.11″-76.87°
Focusing Mode Internal Focusing
Zoom Mode Rotary Zoom
Filter Size None
Lens Width 3.54 in. (90.0mm)
Lens Length 5.25 in. (133.3mm)
Weight 950g
Accessories None
Mounts Canon, Nikon with Full Frame FX sized sensors

The lens is designed for digital cameras with full frame (FX= 24mmX36mm) sized CMOS
and CCD sensors. It can be used on digital cameras with APS-C (DX) sizes sensors as well.

Some images taken by me using this lens:

Anirban Brahma Photography
Shahid Ganesh Dutta Rd, Khalisha Kota, Birati KolkataWB70005 India 
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