Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX (FX) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

Review by Markus Stamm and Klaus Schroiff, published May 2011


Tokina is the smallest of the 3 more widely-known third-party manufacturers. 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.

However, they obviously felt confident the full frame market is now large enough for ultra wide third party offerings and released the Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX. As the name indicates, the lens is designed for full format (FX) DSLRs. This is a bold move by Tokina since at least Nikon users already have several high end ultra wide Nikkors available to choose from.

Prise-wise the Tokina is, of course, competitive - it's roughly half the price of Nikon's highly regarded AF-S 14-24/2.8. The somewhat narrow zoom range (compared to the AF-S 17-35 and AF-S 16-35 VR) may be a bit 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 is often already covered by standard zoom lenses.

Tokina lenses are renowned for their build quality and the AF 16-28mm f/2.8 is no real exception to the rule - it is build up to very high standards with very high quality plastics on a metal mount. Such a high quality has one drawback though - it's a rather massive and quite heavy lens.

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. 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 that Tokina uses on many of their lenses, but it takes some getting used to, many would probably prefer a simple switch instead.

Optical construction15 elements in 13 groups, incl. 3x aspherical and 3x SD elements
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.3)
Filter sizeno front filter possible
Hoodbuilt-in, petal shaped
Other featuresinternal DC motor, anti-dust/water-repellent coating (front element)

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