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Expert lens reviewer, Gary Wolstenholme tests the Tokina AT-X M100 Pro Macro lens.
Will it cope with the demanding lifestyle of a photographer?
This 100mm Macro from Tokina cost £348, which is around half of what some manufacturers charge for their telephoto macro lenses. Independent lens manufacturers Sigma and Tamron also produce similar lenses, with the Sigma 105mm costing £379 and the Tamron 90mm costing around £345, the Tokina is competitively priced.
This lens is just as at home on a cropped sensor SLR as it is on full-frame, with it providing an equivalent angle of view of 150mm on Nikon camera and 160mm on Canon. This can be very useful for shooting timid subjects such as insects, as you will not need to get too close for a tight composition. Those wishing to also use this as a portrait lens may find the 150mm equivalent a little too long though.
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm f/2.8: Handling and features
Build quality has always been one of Tokina's strengths, and this lens does not disappoint. The lens finish is similar to that you'd find on hammer-finish paint and overall the lens feels very solidly put together. When at its closest focus, the Tokina is almost double the length it is when focused to infinity and the front element is deeply recessed inside the barrel. A hood is supplied in the kit, but it can be bothersome when focusing in close and as the front element is so deeply recessed, it is very rarely needed.
A motor inside the lens powers the autofocus mechanism. It is not an ultrasonic-type motor, but the noise generated isn't overly disturbing. I found focus speed to be just about acceptable, but certainly not lighting quick at normal distances. When focusing close, the lens will tend to hunt around a little, so manual focus may be a better option in many cases. A focus limiter swich is located on the left side of the lens, which will save the lens from tracking back and forth through the entire focus range, which should speed things a little when using AF.
A focus clutch mechanism has been implemented on this Tokina, which means you can switch between automatic and manual focus with one touch. Simply grab the ring and slide it back toward you to focus yourself. When in AF mode, the focus ring does not rotate, which improves the handling of the lens a great deal.
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm f/2.8: Performance
For this review, the lens was tested on a 12Mp Nikon D700 using Imatest.
The Tokina is a solid performer resolution-wise. From F/2.8 the resolution is good in the centre with the sharpness gradually rising until F/8. The lens produces the best overall quality across the frame at f/11, where is it very good from corner to corner.
|Resolution at 100mm|
Colour aberrations are extremely well controlled across the frame and will not be noticeable in almost any shooting scenarios.
|Chromatic Aberrations at 100mm|
Light falloff towards the corners is well controlled for a wide aperture lens with the far corners being around a stop darker than the centre at f/2.8. Stopping down to f/5.6 or further will virtually eliminate any vignetting.
When strong point sources of light are in the frame, a small amount of ghosting is present, but the most disturbing feature is the loss of contrast. When shooting into the light the contrast drops off more severely than I've seen with other lenses. When strong light sources are out of the fram, they appear to cause no problems whatsoever, thanks in part to the deeply recessed front element.
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm f/2.8 Verdict
The Tokina 100mm is a solid performer which produces high resolution images right from the maximum aperture. The excellent build quality for the price is its major asset and would suit photographers who are likely to give this lens a fair amount of use and abuse in the field.
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8: Pros
Good resolution performance
Excellent build quality
Good value for money
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8: Cons
Reduced contrast when shooting against strong sources of light
|Value for money|
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8 Lens specification
|Construction:||9 elements in 8 groups|
|Angle-of-view:||None published on Tokina Website|
|35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body):||150mm|
|Size (lxw):||95.1mm x 73mm|
|In the box:||lens hood|
The Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8 cost £348 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8: Canon Fit
Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm F/2.8: Nikon Fit