Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX Reviews

Apr 21st, 2023Racinette

Price Paid
$325 CAD

Product Understanding

Time Owned
Less than a year

I bought this lens used in March, 2023 for the paltry sum of $325 CAD in mint condition (less the lens cap -- no big deal -- a silicone cap stretches nicely over the bulbous front optic -- sorry, no reasonable filter options for this lens).

I wanted a zoom that had a bit more wide coverage than my 18-35D. A faster aperture is nice to have, but for me, I'm usually shooting at f5.6 to f11 anyway. What I did want is sharper corners, and this lens certainly delivers! The corners stand up well in this aperture range, and although they're not "poor" as other reviews indicate at larger apertures, the corners certainly aren't muddy as they can be with most other ultra-wide zooms.

Another pleasant outcome is regarding flare and ghosting. Shooting into bright lights isn't usually a problem -- contrast is still quite good and although there is sometimes some flare, it's usually in the extreme opposite corners (so can be cropped out) or barely noticeable. The lowly 18-35D isn't bad, either, but the contrast of the Tokina is much better. Shielding with your hand will help enough outdoors -- just be sure to use Live View if you can, or you will catch your hand.

However, above all this is how the Tokina controls distortion. The Nikkor 18-35D and even the AFS 14-24 are quite bad for barrel distortion at the wide end (which is where I tend to use a lens like this, not so much the long end) -- but this lens is MUCH better! Although you can get away without any distortion control, for those instances where straight lines are most important, the Lightroom lens parameter setting works well, although the program doesn't automatically detect the lens -- you have to choose the "Tokina" group and sync your other files. Distortion in landscapes is fine without any other adjustments. Of course, if you're using a program like Nikon's Studio, lens settings aren't possible -- it's not a Nikkor, so it might slow you down by having to use Lightroom, Darktable, etc.

One final thought: Sometimes there's a glitch communicating with my D3 -- the camera will suddenly switch modes (e.g. AV to Program, or Bracketing to non-bracketed, or even ISO changes). I tried cleaning the lens contacts and another fresh battery in the camera, but it may be a communication problem that was fixed in later cameras. I haven't had the same problem with my D800 or Z7ii.

By the way, this lens does autofocus with the Z7ii using an FTZ adapter, but it seems to take a few moments to recognize the lens. Let me explain: the "silent" motor is less noisy than what other reviews say, but since the distance scale indicates a jump from 0.7m to infinity, you might not even notice it changing focus -- most of the time, it locks on at or near infinity, which actually might be only a few meters away. In other words, you can't really tell if it's changing focus unless you do hear or see the focus moving. If it's important, zoom in to check. Remember that glitch with the D3? You might think you're shooting at f8, but it's switched suddenly to f2.8! The bottom line is to take your time shooting with this lens because you can't trust it 100% of the time. That's why I'm only giving it four stars (out of 5). Otherwise, it would deserve a solid 4.5 stars -- it's that good!

So, for the price (used), it's well worth checking out.

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