Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
Gary Wolstenholme takes a wider look at the world with the Tokina 10-17mm semi fish-eye lens.
Fisheye lenses are curious beings. Unlike normal rectilinear lenses, their design produces wild distortions, allowing and extremely wide field of view to be captured.
Apart from the creative possibilities this opens, there are several practical applications for such a lens -such as shooting 360degree VR panoramas in conjunction with special software.
This lens costs around £481. There are currently no other comparable lenses for Canon or Nikon systems, that offer a fisheye perspective with zoom. Nikon offer a 10.5mm fisheye prime lens for DX SLRs, which costs around £520 and a 16mm fisheye, which costs £598, and is intended for use on FX sensor cameras that gives a similar angle of view to this lens at its maximum zoom when used on a DX camera. Canon also produce a 15mm fisheye for full-frame cameras which costs £620.
Sigma are the only other third party manufacturer who produce a diagonal fisheye for APS-C sensor cameras. Their 10mm F/2.8 fisheye costs £500.
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Handling and features
The build of this lens is excellent, thanks to the mostly metal construction, although it still isn't a heavy lens, thanks to the compact size. The barrel of the lens is covered by a hammer-finished paint effect, which is reminiscent of older Nikon professional telephoto lenses. This adds to the quality feel.
Focus is driven by the camera's focusing screw on the Nikon version of this lens, and by a standard micro-motor on the Canon version. Nikon users with an entry-level body such as the D40, D60, D3000 or D5000 will have to use manual focus, which can be difficult with this lens, unless it is stoped down quite a bit, as the incredible depth of field makes it difficult to confirm accurate focus by eye. Auto-focusing is performed internally and is very fast, due to the short focal length. The manual focus ring rotates during auto-focus and there is no way to disengage it. Care needs to be taken not to catch your fingers on the rotating rubberised grip, especially as the lens is so compact.
As the lens is zoomed in, it only extends by about three millimetres. The zoom ring is well lubricated and glides back and forth with the lightest of touches. I often found myself having to double-check the focal length when setting the camera up on a tripod as it doesn't take much to knock the zoom from where you intended to set it.
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Performance
For this review, the lens was tested on a 10Mp Nikon D80 using Imatest. At 10mm, this lens is capable of producing good results, especially between F/5.6 and F/8, where depth of field should be ample for most applications.
As is typical for most zooms, the resolution drops off a little as the focal length increases. In the case of this Tokina, the image quality towards the edge of the frame is worst hit at wider apertures. When shooting between 14mm and 17mm, F/8 will still yield good results though.
|Resolution at 10mm|
|Resolution at 14mm|
|Resolution at 17mm|
Colour aberrations appear to be the Achilles heel of this Tokina. Imatest recorded Chromatic aberrations covering an area of nearly 1.8 pixel widths at 10mm and F/5.6 near the edge of the frame. This is quite noticeable on high-contrast edges, but can be easily corrected in software afterwards. Longer focal lengths reduce the amount of colour aberrations to more acceptable levels.
|Chromatic Aberrations at 10mm|
|Chromatic Aberrations at 14mm|
|Chromatic Aberrations at 17mm|
Due to the nature of the lens, it is incredibly difficult to measure light falloff towards the corners with this lens. In use, I didn't notice almost falloff towards the corners at any aperture or focal length.
Being a fisheye, distorted images is quite normal and the distortions are quite severe. So severe in fact that I couldn't get Imatest to produce a reading. Using a fisheye lens will almost always be a creative choice and there is software available that can produce rectilinear images from fisheye images.
Flare and ghosting control is very good with this lens. Strong point sources of light don't produce much flare at all. In fact the light source forms a nice six-pointed star caused by the shape of the aperture blades.
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Verdict
This lens is truly unique, effectively giving owners of APS-C SLRs a little more creative scope than a normal diagonal fisheye would offer.
The lens produces good enough clarity at optimum apertures for most people's needs and feels like it is built to last. At £481 though, I can't help but feel the price is too close the the manufacturer's own and other third-party fisheye offerings to represent a clear-cut winner when it comes to value for money.
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Pros
Good flare and ghosting performance
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Cons
Chromatic Aberrations at 10mm
Focus ring rotates during AF
No built-in focus motor on Nikon version.
|Value for money|
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5: Specification
|Construction:||10 elements in 8 groups|
|Angle-of-view:||180° to 100°|
|35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body):||15-25.5 mm|
|Size (lxw):||71.1mm x 70mm|
|In the box:||Lens Caps|
The Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm F/3.5-4.5 lens costs £481 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 Canon Fit
Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fish-Eye 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 Nikon Fit