Tokina AF 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SV - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2005

Special thanks to Tina Jensen for providing this lens!


The Tokina AF 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X SV (Special Value) is the most affordable of the classic large aperture standard zooms. It is a lens with a long history. It all started int the late 80s with a french manufacturer - Angenieux. They were and still are quite renowned for movie camera lenses but at the time they also had a side business with highly renowned but pricey manual and auto-focus SLR lenses. They offered a couple of very interesting designs like a AF 180mm f/2.3 APO and especially the AF 28-70mm f/2.6 which they marketed as "the fastest standard zoom in the world". Eventually Angenieux had to recognized that they were simply too small and therefore not cost-efficient enough to survive in this competitive market so they ceased their corresponding operations. It is an open secret that they licensed the design of the 28-70mm f/2.6 to Tokina. They released the lens again as (a marginally modified) AF 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 AT-X Pro (II) which was an immediate success thanks to high quality combined with a very affordable price. After coming up with the newly designed Tokina AF 28-80mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro they released the current AF 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SV in parallel with a clear budget scope. It is unknown how many of the original genes survived in this lens but some reviews indicated a lower quality in this last incarnation. Well, we´ll see.
As usual we´ll have a look at the performance on an APS-C DSLR where its field of view is equivalent to 45-112mm which isn´t really overly attractive - it is certainly no standard zoom here anymore.

The optical design is made of 15 elements in 16 groups with HLD elements. The lens features 8 aperture blades. Similar to other large aperture standard zooms it isn't exactly light-weight at 720g but still fairly compact at 108x84m. The filter size is 77mm. The minimal focus distance is 0.7m resulting in a max. object magnification of ~1:9 at 70mm. The lens comes with a dedicated petal-type lens hood as well as a soft case.

Typical for most Tokina AT-X lenses the build quality is very high with metal parts used all over the place. The broad and rubberized zoom and focus rings operate very smooth and very well damped. Unlike other f/2.8 standard zooms the lens does not change its physical length when zooming. Nonetheless there´s a moving inner lens tube but it never protrudes beyond the filter thread.
The lens features a so called focus-clutch mechanism which allows you to change between AF and MF operation by pushing/pulling the focus ring. Unfortunately it is a quite imperfect implementation because this can only be done at the infinity setting (the AF 28-80mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro doesn´t suffer from this limitation). However, you can also use a conventional AF/MF switch for doing so. The AF speed of the lens is quite good though nothing to rave about. The noise during AF operation is relatively low but well noticeable (standard AF micro motor).

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