Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SD FX (EOS) - Full Format Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Canon EOS (Full Format)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2011
Tokina is the smallest of the 3 big third-party manufacturers (Tokina, Tamron, Sigma). They offer a couple of fairly unexciting products but they're playing among the very best in one specific segment - ultra-wide angle lenses. Their APS-C format AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX and AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX received top scores here in the zone but till recently they didn't offer a full format equivalent here. However, they just released the Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SD FX for full format DSLRs and that's certainly good news especially for Canon users who were not overly gifted with high performing Canon EF lenses in this range. Prise-wise the Tokina is, of course, competitive - it's roughly a third-less expensive than the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L. The comparatively narrow zoom range may be somewhat disturbing for some but the truth is that this allows a higher performance ... at least on paper ... and most users will not need a longer setting than 28mm because this focal length range is already covered by standard zoom lenses.
Tokina lenses are renowned for their build quality and the AF 16-28mm f/2.8 is no exception to the rule - it is build to very high standards with high quality plastics on a metal mount. The lens features an internal focusing mechanism so the front element does not rotate. Apropos - the front element has a "bulb-like" shape so it's not possible to mount filters here. This may be a show-stopper for some but technically this is promising (see e.g. the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6). The physical length of the lens remains constant although the inner lens tube move a little but that's within the fixed flower-shaped lens hood. The focus ring operates very smoothly whereas the zoom ring is more on the stiff side.
A new feature - at least for a Tokina lens - is a "silent DC Motor with a GMR (giant magneto-resistance) sensor" which allows fast and relatively quiet (albeit not really silent) focus operations combined with high focus accuracy. It does not like Live-View AF (contrast AF) though where we've seen lots of focus hunting. The Tokina lens uses a one-touch focus clutch mechanism to switch between AF and MF mode. This mode change is achieved by snapping the focus ring forward for AF and back toward the camera for focusing manually. This is a viable approach but not quite as convenient as Canon's FTM (full-time manual focusing) which has simply no need to switch modes in the first place.
|Optical construction||15 elements in 13 groups, incl. 3x aspherical and 3x SD elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9|
|min. focus distance||0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.3)|
|Filter size||no front filter possible|
|Hood||built-in, petal shaped|
|Other features||internal DC motor, anti-dust/water-repellent coating (front element)|