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Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Lens Review

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX, a fast wide-angle lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX
Price : £545
Rating :
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Lens

Available for Canon, Nikon and Sony digital SLR cameras, this lens costs around £545 and offers a wide field of view equivalent to 16.5-24mm on a 35mm camera, whilst maintaining a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range.

Currently no other manufacturer makes such a lens for APS-C format cameras with a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, so this lens from Tokina is unique and will suit those wishing to shoot wide views under low light conditions.

In this review we'll take a close look at how it performs.

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Handling and features

Weighing only 560g, this lens feels quite light for one with a bright f/2.8 aperture and it balances perfectly on the Nikon D300 used for testing. Even so the build quality is excellent, with much of the lens barrel being constructed from high grade plastics with a black textured finish.

The deeply knurled focus and zoom rings are a pleasure to operate, needing only light pressure to move them through the range. Moving the focus ring back and forth changes between automatic and manual focusing modes in a quick and intuitive fashion. Although this lens doesn't have a silent ultrasonic focusing motor as found on other lenses, auto focus is quick and reasonably quiet.

Having a minimum focus distance of only 30cm is great for shooting in tight spaces and as focusing is performed internally, the lens is perfect for use with graduated of polarising filters via the 77mm filter thread.

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Performance

As far as sharpness is concerned, this lens performs best at 11mm at maximum aperture. At f/2.8 the sharpness in the centre of the image is already outstanding, and the clarity towards the edges of the frame is good. At 11mm stopping down reduces centre sharpness, but improves sharpness towards the edges gradually and the best quality from corner to corner is achieved at f/8.

Zooming to 13mm results in a reduction of clarity across the frame, especially at brighter apertures. At f/2.8 sharpness in the centre is fairly good, and only fair towards the edges. Just as at 11mm, peak quality across the frame is achieved at f/8, where sharpness in the centre is outstanding, and very good towards the edges.

Finally, at 16mm, sharpness in the centre returns to good levels at f/2.8 although the quality towards the edges remains fair. Stopping down doesn't have as great an effect on the clarity towards the edges of the frame at this focal length, with sharpness here only reaching good levels by f/8.

Resolution at 11mm   Resolution at 13mm
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Resolution at 11mm   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Resolution at 13mm
Resolution at 16mm  

How to read our graphs

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on an Nikon D300 using Imatest.
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Resolution at 16mm  

Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are high throughout the zoom range, exceeding two pixel widths at each zoom setting and aperture. This level may cause issues with any high contrast subjects towards the edges of the frame, such as tree branches and will show in large reproductions of images.

Chromatic Aberrations at 11mm   Chromatic Aberrations at 13mm
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Chromatic Aberrations at 11mm   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Chromatic Aberrations at 13mm
Chromatic Aberrations at 16mm  

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on an Nikon D300 using Imatest.
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Chromatic Aberrations at 16mm  

For such a wide lens, with a bright maximum aperture, falloff of illumination towards the corners is remarkably well controlled. At 11mm the corners are only 0.9 stops darker than the centre, and at 16mm this level drops to 0.4 stops. Visually uniform illumination is achieved at f/4 throughout the zoom range.

As you might expect distortion is quite prominent at 11mm, but 6.15% barrelling isn't overly strong for a lens this wide. At 16mm the barrel distortion gives way to mild pincushion distortion. Here Imatest detected 0.5% pincushion, which shouldn't pose issues for most images. At both ends of the zoom range, the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so it should be easy to correct in image editing software afterwards.

A deep, flock-lined petal-shaped hood is supplied with the lens, which does an excellent job of keeping extraneous light that may cause flare off the front element. Strong point sources of light, such as the sun can cause flare and loss of contrast when towards the edges of the frame, or just out of the imaging area, but only under severe circumstances.

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX The f/2.8 maximum aperture is perfect for low light shooting   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Sharpness is excellent at 11mm
The f/2.8 maximum aperture is perfect for low light shooting – ISO1600, 1/13, f/2.8, 11mm (35mm equiv: 16.5mm)   Sharpness is excellent at 11mm – ISO200, 1/400, f/8, 11mm (35mm equiv: 16.5mm)
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Wide-angle   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Maximum zoom
Wide-angle – ISO200, 1/400, f/8, 11mm (35mm equiv: 16.5mm)   Maximum zoom – ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 16mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Although the zoom range is short, it still covers a useful wide angle range   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX The 11mm wide angle is great for shooting in tight spaces
Although the zoom range is short, it still covers a useful wide angle range – ISO250, 1/125, f/4, 16mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)   The 11mm wide angle is great for shooting in tight spaces – ISO200, 1/160, f/4, 11mm (35mm equiv: 16.5mm)
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Stopping down just a little improves sharpness across the frame dramatically at longer focal lengths   Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Maximum magnification
Stopping down just a little improves sharpness across the frame dramatically at longer focal lengths – ISO200, 1/1600, f/4, 14mm (35mm equiv: 21mm)   Maximum magnification – ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 16mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Verdict

Overall this lens is a unique prospect for APS-C cameras and a very good performer. It is a shame that the levels of chromatic aberration are so high towards the edges, but if you can live with correcting this afterwards in image editing software, then this lens will reward you with sharp, contrasty wide angle images for a very reasonable price.

 
The Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X lens is a unique prospect for APS-C cameras and a very good performer.

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Pros

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Good sharpness, especially at 11mm
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Low distortion for the type of lens
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Low falloff
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Excellent build quality
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Keenly priced

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Cons

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Dip in sharpness at maximum aperture at 13mm.

FEATURES Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX
HANDLING Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX
PERFORMANCE Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX
VALUE FOR MONEY
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX
OVERALL Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX

Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX: Specification

Price £545
Contact www.kenro.co.uk
Filter size 77mm
Format APS-C
Construction 13 elements in 11 groups
Angle-of-view 104° ~ 82°
35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body) 16.5 - 24mm
Internal focusing Yes
Image stabilisation No
Minimum focus 30cm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Weight 560g
Size (lxw) 89.2mm x 84mm
In the box Lens hood, lens caps

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