Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX : Review "ish"

Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 At-X 116 Pro Dx - Unboxing - Image 9/11The very long overdue post about my birthday present lens….  (and by birthday present I mean not only Mrs Wolfcat but the rest of the family all chipped in for this…)

I had been looking for a wide lens for quite some time… esp since my road trip last Xmas where I spent a week in outback NSW. A place where I shot so much at 18mm (the widest I could go with my kit lenses) I knew that a wide angle would be one lens that would get a lot of use on the camera.

Express on the Caufield LineSo why the Tokina and not say the new Nikon 10-24mm which has an even bigger range.  Two things…  firstly range isn’t that important with a wide angle lens.  Most of the shots I take with this lens are done purely at the 11mm mark.  Occasionally at the some where in-between… but rarely so.  I often try and use foot zoom. (the old step back or forward).  Secondly the speed of the lens.  The Tokina is a constant F2.8 lens… which means it sucks in light.  The Nikon wides are F3.5 to 4.5 and still don’t have optical stabilisation.  So the Tokina has most of the wide part of the range I wanted and works much better in low light.  (Also there is the small issue of cost… the Tokina is a LOT cheaper, and IMO a much better lens)

The Last of The FireNow owning the Nikon D90 also meant that I can autofocus with this lens. A point to remember about cheaper Nikon DSLR’s is that they drop the autofocus motor on models such as the D40, D60 and  D5000. So whilst you could use this lens you will need to manually focus.  Manual focus on this lens though is a thing of pure beauty.  It has the nicest autofocus/manual focus mechanism that you can play with.  Your hand is usually already on the barrel of the lens, just pull the focus ring forward and you are in manual focus.  No fiddly switches on the camera body or on the lens.

One thing to realise about this lens is that it is really WIDE.  And because of this… that nice little inbuilt flash on your camera is a big fat no go.  The lens casts such a shadow that it shows up in any photo with the inbuilt flash.  You might be lucky and crop it out of a shot… but don’t bother… just get a real flash (PS can someone please buy me a real flash 🙂 as I don’t have one yet). The other thing to watch with the wideness of the lens is when doing macro work is the same shadowing comes into play.

Food Pron....There are going to be some people that think… what macro work, wide angle lens…   but then the are missing the point.  A wide lens is not just for getting it all in, but is great for throwing out perspectives and getting nice and close as well. Being a very fast F2.8 lens it works very well indoors with soft ambient lighting.  This means you can get some great naturally lit hand held shots with no distracting flash calling peoples attention to your photography.

Red and Yellow Stair wellOne thing you will notice straight away over a kit lens is that it’s a very heavy lens at just over 1/2kg you will notice the weight when carrying it around all day. But I prefer to measure by the on camera weight.  With my Sigma 18-200 F3.5-6.5 lens I am holding 1.2kg in my hand, with the Tokina it is 1.35kg.  Those extra grams all start to add up especially after shooting for a couple of hours.  (Note I don’t have a battery grip either so this weight is the D90 + internal battery only).

So here is the technical info for those that just care about the numbers….

Mount availability: Canon and Nikon APS-C
Focal length: 11 – 16mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Minimum aperture: f/22
Optical construction: 13 elements in 11 groups.
Coatings: Multi-layer
Angle of view: 104°~82°
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Reproduction Ratio: 1:11.6
Focusing Mode: Internal Focusing
Zoom Mode: Rotary Zoom
No. Aperture blades: 9
Filter Size: 77mm
Lens length : 89.2mm
Lens Hood: BH-777
Weight: 560g
Accessories: Flower design Bayonet lens hood (BH77A)

I purchased this lens from D-D Photographics by phoning them at 1:30 on a Thursday to check that they had it in stock and it was sitting on my desk in Melbourne less that 24 hours later.  The other great advantage was that they had just dropped the price a few days before so I also managed to buy a Hoya Super Pro Filter (Super MHC Pro1 UV) for the lens and with shipping it still came in under 1k.

I’ve had this lens for over a month now and it easily spends 60% of its time sitting on my camera.  If you are thinking about a wide lens… do try and track one of these down just to have a play, you might, like I did come away having brought one.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment