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Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Lens Review

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Category: Interchangeable Lenses
Product: Tokina Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII
Price: £500.00
Rating: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII, a classic wide-angle optic for Canon or Nikon APS-C sensors.

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Features and handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII

Tokina's latest version of this classic wide angle optic for Canon or Nikon APS-C format DSLRs sports a fast, smooth autofocus motor in addition to the constant f/4 maximum aperture and costs around £500.

Canon's EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-5.6 is their closest equivalent, which costs around £620 and sports a silent ultrasonic focusing motor plus a wider field of view at the short end, but lacks the constant maximum aperture of the tokina.

Nikon currently offer two lenses covering this range. Their AF-S 12-24mm f/4 DX is a direct equivalent of this Tokina lens, but with a silent wave focusing motor that costs around £810. Their newer AF-S 10-24mm offers a wider zoom range, but at the expense of the constant f/4 maximum aperture and costs around £670.

With this Tokina optic being lower priced than all the manufacturer's offerings, we'll take a look at the performance to see whether it can hold its own.

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Handling and features

Weighing 540g, this lens is quite lightweight for its size, but despite this, it still feels very solidly put together. Much of the exterior construction is made from high grade textured black plastics, which feel very sturdy, and the deeply knurled zoom and focus rings are a pleasure to operate. At 89.5mm long and 84mm in diameter, it is the perfect size and weight to accompany the Nikon D300 used for testing.

Sliding the manual focus ring back and forth engages and disengages autofocus in one touch, making access to manual focusing quick and intuitive. The smooth focusing motor isn't the same as the silent ultrasonic motors found on some lenses, and doesn't offer full time manual focus override. Focus speeds are quick and the motor is very quiet and smooth.

The minimum focus distance of 30cm is handy for when shooting in tight spaces, or for when you wish to get close to your subject to distort perspective. As focus and zooming actions are performed internally, this lens is ideally suited for use with polarisers and graduated filters via the 77mm filter ring.

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Performance

At 12mm, this lens produces images of excellent clarity across the frame from maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/5.6 further improves the sharpness to outstanding levels, so much so that diffraction starts to reduce sharpness levels at smaller apertures.

At 18mm, the performance remains similar at maximum aperture, with outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame and very good sharpness towards the edges. At this focal length, peak quality is achieved at f/5.6, just like at 12mm.

At 24mm, the quality towards the edges of the frames dips to fair levels at maximum aperture, although the clarity in the centre is still very good. At this focal length, the quality towards the edges improves as the lens is stopped down, peaking at f/16, where very good sharpness is achieved across the frame.

Resolution at 12mm   Resolution at 18mm
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Resolution at 12mm   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Resolution at 18mm
Resolution at 24mm  

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 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Resolution at 24mm  

Unfortunately, chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are not very well corrected. At 12mm and f/4 they exceed three pixel widths, which will be clearly visible around high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations at 12mm   Chromatic Aberrations at 18mm
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Chromatic Aberrations at 12mm   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Chromatic Aberrations at 18mm
Chromatic Aberrations at 24mm  

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 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Chromatic Aberrations at 24mm  

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is very well controlled for a wide angle lens. At 12mm and f/4 the corners are only 1.04 stops darker than the image centre and stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination. At 24mm the corners are onty 0.359stops darker than the centre and the lens only needs stopping down one third of a stop for visually uniform illumination.

Barrel distortion is present at both ends of the zoom range and is quite pronounced at the widest angle. At 12mm Imatest detected 7.37% barrelling which will be plain to see in images with straight lines towards the edges. At 24mm this drops to 1.99% barrel distortion, which is much less severe, but may still pose issues when straight lines are paramount. Luckily the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so should be relatively simple to correct in image editing software afterwards.

A deep flock-lined scalloped hood is supplied with the lens, which does an excellent job of keeping unwanted light off the front element, which may cause flare or loss of contrast. Strong point light sources towards the edge of the frame or just outside the imaging area may cause a little flare and loss of contrast, but for the most part, this lens is quite resilient and this will only occur in extreme circumstances.

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Getting close to your subject at 12mm allows you to exploit exaggerated perspectives   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII The moderate wide angle when zoomed in provides a more natural look
Getting close to your subject at 12mm allows you to exploit exaggerated perspectives – ISO200, 1/250. f/11, 12mm (35mm equiv: 18mm)   The moderate wide angle when zoomed in provides a more natural look – ISO200, 1/200. f/11, 24mm (35mm equiv: 36mm)
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII The wide field of view is great for shooting in tight spaces   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII At 12mm this lens is capable of exceptionally sharp images
The wide field of view is great for shooting in tight spaces – ISO200, 1/250. f/4, 12mm (35mm equiv: 18mm)   At 12mm this lens is capable of exceptionally sharp images – ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 18mm)
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Wide angle   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Zoomed in
Wide angle – ISO200, 1/500. f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 18mm)   Zoomed in – ISO200, 1/400, f/8, 24mm (35mm equiv: 36mm)
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Chromatic aberrations can be seen along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame   Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Maximum magnification
Chromatic aberrations can be seen along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame – ISO200, 1/400. f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 18mm)   Maximum magnification – ISO200, 1/400. f/8, 24mm (35mm equiv: 36mm)

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Verdict

In terms of image sharpness this lens is an excellent performer, and easily equals the performance of the best competition. This lens' weaknesses are with chromatic aberrations and distortion. Both of these issues can be corrected in image editing software afterwards, so if you can live with that, this lens makes a compelling wide angle choice for APS-C digital SLRs due to its excellent sharpness, build quality and keen price.
In terms of image sharpness this lens is an excellent performer, and easily equals the performance of the best competition.

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Pros

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Excellent sharpness, especially at 12mm
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Very good build quality
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Fast to focus
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Keenly priced

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Cons

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Chromatic aberrations towards the edges, especially at 12mm
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII Barrel distortion, especially at 12mm

FEATURES Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII
HANDLING Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII
PERFORMANCE Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII
VALUE FOR MONEY Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII
OVERALL Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII

Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX MkII: Specification

Price £500.00
Contact www.kenro.co.uk
Filter size 77mm
Format APS-C
Construction 13 elements in 11 groups
Angle-of-view 99 – 61 degrees
35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body) 18 - 36mm
Internal focusing Yes
Image stabilisation No
Minimum focus 30cm
Maximum aperture f/4
Minimum aperture f/22
Weight 540g
Size (lxw) 89.5 x 84mm
In the box Lens hood, lens caps


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