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Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Lens Review

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens that has a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
Price : £795
Rating :
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
Currently available to fit Canon and Nikon SLR full frame cameras, this ultra-wide angle zoom has a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range and costs around £795.

Canon users may also consider the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L MkII USM, which sports a slightly longer zoom range, weather sealing and an ultrasonic focusing motor, but costs around £1120.

Nikon's 14-24mm f/2.8 lens is currently their closest equivalent in terms of specification. This lens offers a wider field of view and a fast silent wave focusing motor and weather sealing but costs around £1330.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Handling and features

Weighing 950g, the weight of this optic is fairly typical considering the wide angle of view and fast f/2.8 aperture. At 133.3mm long, it is quite large, especially as the zoom range is so narrow. The lens balances well enough on the Nikon D700 used for testing, although without the MB-D10 grip attached to the camera it can sometimes feel a little front-heavy.

Much of the exterior is constructed from textured black plastic, which feel very sturdy. The front element is a large curved piece of glass, much like that found on Nikon's 14-24mm optic and it moves back and forth inside a permanent lens hood. Some may be put off a little by this design, as filters cannot be attached directly to the lens, and the protruding front element may be prone to damage in rough conditions.

Although this lens doesn't have a silent focusing motor, as found on more expensive optics, focus is performed internally and speeds are more than adequate, finding its target quickly and accurately, with no hunting for a lock. The manual focus ring can be engaged or disengaged by sliding it back or forward. This gives access to manual focus in a quick and intuitive fashion.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Performance

Shooting wide open at 16mm, sharpness in the centre of the image is already good, with the quality towards the edges not too far behind. Stopping the lens down improves sharpness across the frame until f/8, where the lens performs excellently in the centre and is very good towards the edges.

At 20mm, the very good centre sharpness in maintained at f/2.8, but the quality towards the edges drops to fair levels. Just as at 16mm, peak quality across the frame is achieved at f/8, where the sharpness in the centre reaches excellent levels again, and the quality towards the edges is also very good.

Finally at 28mm, the sharpness in the centre of the image remains very good at f/2.8, and just as at 20mm, the quality towards the edges remains fair. Stopping down doesn't have as much effect on the quality towards the edges as it does at shorter focal lengths and sharpness levels here don't exceed good levels until f/16. However it does have a dramatic effect on the sharpness in the centre, which exceeds excellent levels at f/4.

Resolution at 16mm   Resolution at 20mm
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Resolution at 16mm   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Resolution at 20mm
Resolution at 28mm  

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 D700 using Imatest.
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Resolution at 28mm  

Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges are quite high throughout the zoom range, with fringing regularly exceeding 1.5 pixel widths. This amount of fringing may cause issues in images with high contrast towards the edges of the frame, and may be visible in large prints if not corrected in image editing software.

Chromatic Aberrations at 16mm   Chromatic Aberrations at 20mm
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Chromatic Aberrations at 16mm   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Chromatic Aberrations at 20mm
Chromatic Aberrations at 28mm  

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 D700 using Imatest.
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Chromatic Aberrations at 28mm  

For a lens with such a wide field of view and a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8, falloff of illumination towards the corners is very well controlled. At 16mm the corners are 1.7stops darker than the image centre and at 28mm this is reduced to 0.7stops. Visually uniform illumination is achieved at f/5.6 throughout the zoom range.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Colours   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Sharpness
Colours - ISO200, 1/125, f/11, 16mm   Sharpness - ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 16mm
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Wide angle   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Zoomed in
Wide angle – ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 16mm   Zoomed in - ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 28mm
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Good sharpness at wider apertures   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Performances improves further when stopped down a little
Good sharpness at wider apertures - ISO500, 1/125, f/4, 28mm   Performances improves further when stopped down a little - ISO640, 1/125, f/5.6, 16mm
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX The limited zoom range makes this quite a specialised lens   Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Maximum magnification
The limited zoom range makes this quite a specialised lens - ISO250, 1/125, f/11, 16mm   Maximum magnification - ISO200, 1/320, f/8, 28mm

Distortion isn't particularly well corrected throughout the zoom range. At 16mm 9.32% barrel distortion is present and at 28mm, this drops to 5.92%. This amount of distortion will be visible in images with straight lines, but luckily the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so it should be relatively simple to straighten things up in image editing software afterwards.

Due to the nature of the large curved front element, flare can be an issue, especially with strong point sources of light just outside the frame, such as the sun. Although the flare created looks quite pretty, it is not always desirable. Luckily levels on contrast hold up quite well in these conditions, so all is not lost.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Verdict

If this lens was judged on sharpness alone, it represents excellent performance for the price. Unfortunately issues such as the high levels of chromatic fringing towards the edges of the frame and distortion make this less of a clear-cut winner.

As both of those issues can be corrected to some degree in software afterwards, this lens is still an interesting alternative to the manufacturer's own offerings, especially if these times of austerity mean that your budget is limited.

Good sharpness and build quality for a reasonable price.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Pros

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Very good sharpness performance
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Excellent build quality
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Low falloff levels for this kind of lens
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Price

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Cons

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Barrel distortion
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame

FEATURES Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
HANDLING Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
PERFORMANCE Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
VALUE FOR MONEY Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX
OVERALL Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX: Specification

Price £795.00
Contact www.kenro.co.uk
Filter size N/A
Format Full-frame
Construction 13 elements in 12 groups
Angle-of-view 170.11 – 76.87 degrees
35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body) 24 - 42mm
Internal focusing Yes
Image stabilisation No
Minimum focus 28cm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Weight 950g
Size (lxw) 133.3mm x 90mm
In the box Push on lens cap, rear cap

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Comments


TTT e2
13 559 Germany
27 May 2011 10:24AM
The D700 used for this review shows a bad moiré problem at the bottom of the escalator, other than that this lens performs quite well.

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27 May 2011 2:43PM
Indeed. The moire pattern is an issue with the camera, not the lens as you rightly pointed out.

In terms of sharpness, this is an excellent lens. Its the levels of CA towards the edges and distortion that may be a little off-putting for many.

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