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4.0 out of 5 stars
Tokina AT-X Pro FX 16-28mm f/2.8 For Canon
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
There are a lot of positive reviews on this lens so I won't elaborate here other than state I purchased the Canon 16 - 35 2.8 L lens initially but was disappointed with the distortion and edge resolution. At the price, the Canon should be much better than what it is. I took a chance with this Tokina based on the many positive reviews and validated that all those great reviews are true! Yes, the lens is heavy but so much better than the Canon optically. Mechanically the lens feels well made although I understand it isn't weather sealed as with the Canon. Factoring-in the price, this is a great value. My sample has excellent resolution wide-open with hardly any distortion. The lens cap has been improved and is now a pinch-type thick plastic cover that encloses the len's integrated lens hood. I use this with my Canon 5d MKII and also have a 24-105 L Lens.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
I am usually one to stick with only Nikon products. I have everything that I need to shoot professionally expect a great wide angle. I have been renting or borrowing as i needed. I have used the Nikon 17-35 2.8 and the Nikon 16-35 4. I was not satisfied with either lens. I just bought the Tokina 16-28 2.8. This lens is SHARP! I have noticed some flare and reflection of light, but that is situational. The build quality is great. In my opinion this lens is sharper than the Nikon 17 35. 2.8, and has far less distortion than the Nikon 16 35 f4. I would suggest this lens to anyone that can not afford the Nikon 12 24.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Pros:
Center performance wide open
Corner performance stopped down
Build Quality

Cons:
Corner Performance Wide Open
Focus/Clutch Mechanism is Clunky
Design Prohibits the use of Filters
Early model lens cap (contact your local Tokina distributor for the new cap, THK Photo in the US)

Bottom Line:
Superb ultra wide angle for full frame, especially strong in the 16-24mm range, gets weaker by 28mm. Stepped down it can deliver crisp sharpness even in the most extreme corners. I give it 5 stars due to the price/performance ratio. I shoot test charts and real world images to confirm chart results. My recommendation for this lens is for FX/Full Frame cameras. For crop sensors get something lighter and cheaper.

Review:
AF performance is good, the lenses uses a new DC focusing motor. It isn't silent, but much quieter than screw drive. It works fast and accurately. I find the AF/MF clutch clunky to use.

This lens performs exceptionally well in the center, even at f/2.8, but still sees a large improvement at f/4. I have had two copies of this lens, and the second copy is slightly softer at f/2.8 in the center, but sharper at f/4 and up, and also lacks the centering defect that my first copy had. The lens is perfectly usable for a close central subject at f/2.8 at any focal length.

For best corner performance and for infinity focus step the aperture down to at least f/5.6 at 16mm and f/8 at 22mm. This held true for both samples of the lens I tested, and the lens is definitely strongest at 16mm where corner performance reaches excellent levels.

Lateral CA is easily visible at 16mm, but is correctable. It is less noticeable towards 28mm.

Distortion is relatively minor for this wide of a lens. It has about 2.5% barrel at 16mm and works down to about 0 at 28mm.

Vignetting is noticeable at f/2.8, but improves on stepping down.

The lens is fairly resistant to flare, but if the sun is in/near the frame you will likely see some flare spots shooting across the frame. This is typical of large front element lenses.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
I recently obtained this lens to fill in the ultra-wide angle slot in my D800E kit. Nikon is one of the top lens producers, but affordable zoom choices on the UW end are limited. There is the 14-24mm--which is outrageously expensive--and the 16-35mm, which has some of the most outrageous lens distortion at the wide end of any lens in the $1000+ price range. I had a copy of the 14-24mm, but the large size of this lens and my limited UW usage, had me questioning whether I needed a professional level-UW lens. The Tokina reviews had me convinced that this lens might be a reasonable--albeit, not perfect--substitute. Armed with a gift certificate from an Amazon.com competitor and the $100 rebate, my net cost of $699 made this lens irresistible.

Overall, I think I will keep this lens, but I'm not performing my happy dance over it. My test shots were landscape with subjects at distances of 10 meters to infinity (same non-rigorous shots at closer distances suggest that the lens does much better close in). The D800/E twins are very demanding, and this lens has trouble keeping up. It's best to think of this lens as an f/4 or even f/5.6 lens. At no focal length level does f/2.8 produce acceptable results. It is simply out-and-out soft. In fact it was so soft, that I thought that it was, perhaps, out of focus. However, the lens sharpens up a bit by f/4 and reaches maximum sharpness at f/5.6 or f/8. In fact, I found it to be "prickly sharp" at f/8 for all tested focal lengths (FL) (16mm, 20mm, 24mm, and 28mm). Although for some FLs, f/5.6 was sharper in the center, f/8 invariably provided the best side-to-side sharpness.

The lens is at its best at 16mm, which is a good thing because presumably photographers purchase UW lenses primarily for their widest FLs. Sharpness at f4 is acceptable, although the corners are very soft here. Center sharpness improves dramatically by f/5.6, and f/8 provides the best side-to-side sharpness. The 20mm FL is nearly as good and exhibits the same pattern. However, 24mm is somewhat worst overall, but not substantially. As with wider FL, f/2.8 should be reserved for emergency use only. Center sharpness is noticeably soft and the sides are just horrible. F/4 improves significantly all around with acceptable sharpness in the center and soft sides. F/5.6 is wonderfully sharp in the center with f/8 providing the best uniformity. The 28mm FL follows a similar pattern. However, the lens never reaches the maximum level of sharpness that I observed at 24mm. At this FL, I'd have to say that f/4 is nearly as unacceptable as f/2.8. F/5.6 and 8 produce the best center sharpness, but are marginally less sharp than levels observed at 24mm. However, the sides and corners to increase in sharpness with aperture values. Frankly if your kit contains a 24-XXmm lens, switch to that lens before shooting at 28mm. I definitely wouldn't use this lens at 28mm for critical landscape photography.

As for other lens characteristics, distortion is extremely well controlled. It is at its worst at 16mm but phenomenally better than the 16-35mm (a lens that I tested for a couple of weeks). I think distortion here is similar to the 14-24mm, but since I no longer own that lens I can't say for certain. At 20mm and above, distortion is only a problem for the most discriminating shooters (a club of which I do not belong). Color and contrast are excellent and, in my eyes, appear to be very accurate (neither warm or cold). I found shots taken to be quite pleasing. Chromatic aberration is clearly present, but not distracting. The CA also is easily removed in post. The lens is heavy and large. However, it is not as wide as the 14-24mm. The bulbous top of the 14-24mm is massive and never fit comfortably in any camera case/pack that I had. The top of the Tokina is sufficiently smaller for me to feel comfortable taking it with me when traveling.

Other things to note about this lens is that using a tripod is critical for getting the best results. The old rule of thumb about motion not being as important with wide angle, doesn't hold true with the D800/E twins. Shooting with this lens is extremely sensitive to motion. My keeper rate was very low handheld--especially at 24mm and above-- for shutter speeds below 1/300sec. The tripod makes a huge difference. Therefore, If you are a devoted handheld shooter, then take a serious look at the Nikon 16-35mm with VR. It will be worth the additional expense.

In conclusion, shooting on the D800 or D800E, I consider this lens to be a f5.6. I'd use f/4 in a pinch for 24mm or wider, and I'd use f8 when uniform sharpness is required. However, it is really hard for me to think of a situation in which I'd find f/2.8 acceptable. For $700 or $750, these tradeoffs are definitely worth it. However, if your passion is wide and ultrawide photography on the D800/E, then I strongly encourage you to consider other options.

EDITED MAY 1

I sent the lens off to Tokina for adjusting. I received the lens back with a generic letter stating that all components had been adjusted. Not sure what that meant but the lens did indeed perform better. 2.8 is now acceptably sharp from 16mm almost to 24mm. At 24mm 2.8 is really borderline and at 28mm 2.8 is just out and out soft. Contrast is also noticeably inferior at 2.8 compared to smaller apertures. While 2.8 improved after servicing, 4.0 shows a much bigger improvement. Below 24mm 4.0 is extremely sharp and very contrasty. It gets even better at 5.6. 24mm is okay but I really love this lens below 24mm. Use 28mm only in extreme emergency. You can get a decent capture at 28mm, but you are no where near tapping the full capabilities of the D800/E cameras. I'd like to think of this lens as an excellent 16-22mm lens. One other thing that became clear after the return. Compared to the new Nikon 18-35, the Tokina has relatively soft edges. What I find is if I don't need 16mm or 2.8 and really want edge-to-edge sharpness, I'm much happier shooting the 18-35mm.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2011
I got this lens to replace my Canon 16-35mm 2.8L which is not such a great lens on a full frame body. The Tokina is outstanding. Very sharp at f/2.8 at all focal lengths. The lack of distortion compared to the Canon is amazing, and its definitely sharper than the Canon. It's also built like a tank; very solid and heavy, and it has the smoothest zoom ring I've ever felt on a modern AF lens. I highly recommend this lens to anyone with a full frame camera.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2012
This was the first SLR lens I purchased, originally for use with a D5100 but knowing I would eventually buy a full frame camera (now using a D600). Optically this lens is pretty fantastic. I've had no issues getting razor sharp images from either camera (much easier with the 600 as the 5100 has a pretty strong anti-aliasing filter). If you're worried about lens resolution, fear not as this thing is positively fierce in that department, though it does come with a few downsides.

I have exactly three gripes with this lens. One is major, the other two not so much. First and foremost is lens flare. If you have a light source, any light source, within or just outside the frame, your image will have flare. Honestly I knew when purchasing a lens of this variety that this was going to be an issue, but I underestimated it by a fair margin. Any lens of this particular design is going to exhibit quite a bit of flare, however when compared to the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 this one has an undesirable tendency. The Nikkor flares like crazy as well, but it's mostly easy to control and relatively simple to fix in post processing. The Tokina has a tendency to introduce quarter-circular rainbows around any light source at the points closest to and farthest from the lens center. These become more defined as you stop down. Depending on how you shoot, this might not be an issue. If you're out shooting landscapes with the sun at your back, you'll likely never have a problem. If you're in a studio where you're controlling all of the light sources, you'll likely never have a problem. Sadly I primarily shoot architecture at night so the flare issue drives me quite crazy. I'm rather seriously considering selling this to someone it's better suited for and spending the big bucks on the Nikkor.

Gripe number two is fairly minor: the weight. This lens is heavy. Easily the heaviest that I keep in my normal kit. I don't mind the weight so much when it's in the bag, or even when I'm shooting handheld. It's when it's mounted on the tripod that it's irritating. I frequently keep the camera on the tripod as I walk around and unless I get the ball super tight, it starts creeping down due to the lens weight. Again, not a very big deal as I just have to make sure the ball is clamped good and tight, but it's worth noting on account of the fact that I'm using a pretty stout tripod head setup (Really Right Stuff BH-40 with camera specific plates). I do not trust any universal or generic setup with this lens on the camera as it's heavy enough to work the camera loose. Most people are smart and responsible and take their camera off of their tripod before moving it, but this is a bit of a sticking point for me as I'm almost always working on a tripod and therefore prefer to leave the camera attached to it, even when moving around.

Gripe number three is also pretty minor: having to pull the focus ring back for manual focus. I frequently use autofocus to get my initial focus and then flip a switch for manual to make minor adjustments if a subject starts moving or something. Having to pull the focus ring to switch on this lens causes the exact autofocus spot to get lost in translation as it's too easy to spin the ring ever so slightly when pulling it. I know this is just me being lazy, but I've missed one or two good shot opportunities before because I was fumbling with the focus. I much prefer having physical switches to this sort of mechanism.

Outside of my one major and two minor gripes, the lens is excellent. The focus and zoom rings are smooth. The autofocus isn't the quietest or the fastest, but I'm not expecting perfection for this class of lens at this price point, plus it's fast enough to not cause any major issues. Build quality is better than expected. It's not the near bulletproof build of the Nikkor, but I expect it to take a bit of a beating. Overall I do recommend this lens for certain types of photography, but if you're going to be shooting into the sun or other direct light sources I would consider some alternatives, notably the 14-24mm f/2.8 and the 16-35mm f/4 even though they're both at a much higher price point and the latter is a full stop slower.

EDIT 2013-06-06:

I have since purchased the Nikon 16-35mm f/4. Since that purchase the Tokina has been removed from my primary kit as the Nikon is sharper, lighter, has a manual focus switch, has VR, takes 77mm filters, and is significantly less likely to exhibit lens flare. I still like the Tokina and I think it would make an excellent pairing with a 28-300mm for two lens full frame travel kit, but it honestly doesn't get much use other than serving as an additional reference point when I do lens comparisons on my blog. A friend of mine has actually been borrowing it for the past 2 or 3 months and I've not missed it. I'll keep it at the 4 star rating, because it's excellent for the price, but for real world use it honestly doesn't compare with the Nikon. In my opinion you should get this lens over one of the Nikon lenses only if money is a big issue.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
I loved this lens and used it lightly for two months; I bought it new from Adorama with warranty. I kept it in a dedicated sleeve in my backpack, only taking it out when shooting. The AF mechanism quit working in the middle of a shoot after 2 months of ownership. I mailed the lens into Tokina with receipt. When I followed up a week later, the gentleman in repairs quoted me a $203 Out-of-Warranty repair due to internal sand damage. The lens hasn't been dropped in sand, taken into antelope canyon, shot with in sand dunes- nothing. However, I have put my Canon 17-40 through h*ll and back over the last four years without so much as an operational hiccup. I'll be returning to Canon's 16-35Lii shortly. The sharpness of this lens is outstanding- Better than canon's 16-35L. However, I cannot recommend it to serious photographers due to it's apparent frailty.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
I'm not technical enough to write a good optics review at this point, I will stick to a "functional" review.

I rented this lens and the new Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens. To put it plainly, I haven't seen great results from any Canon wide-zoom, even the 16-35 L II, a lens I came to hate due to softness issues. Since the 24mm IS is brand new, and in the focal length I'm looking for, that was a good choice. And since the Tokina here had rave reviews, and was a wide zoom (which I'd prefer over a prime), AND had to be better than that waste-of-money Canon 16-35 L II... well here I am!

I used both lenses on a trip to Yosemite and Hearst Castle. Mostly outdoor with some very dark no-flash indoor shots.

After a day of flipping lenses, I found myself choosing the Tokina over the Canon almost reflexively, and not just beacuse of my near-childish love of ultra-wide 16mm shots! The variable zoom ranges made this the "right" lens for any (outdoor) situation I would find myself in. I could shoot at 24mm, step *really* close and fire again at 16mm... often with more pleasing results at the wider end. It's also fairly fast, so I had some success indoors, but not nearly as much as with the Canon 24 IS. I still don't quite have knack for human photography in the wide areas, but because this Tokina goes to 28mm (which felt telephoto-ish after shooting at 16mm!) allowing me to score some decent shots of people, as long as they were not too close.

One drawback for me was indoor shooting in comparison to the Canon 24mm IS. Just a month after purchasing a Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS, I am now a total sucker for Image Stabilization. I'm a shaky-handed shooter, and IS is a God-send for me. Not only does it improve my "regular" images, but it allows me to shoot at previously unimaginable (for me) shutter speeds. I *expect* sharp images from 70mm at 1/60, and even find I can score at 1/20th a second sometimes (1 out of 10x). With the Canon 24mm IS, it's even more beneficial simply because camera shake is already diminished by the wide focal length. At Hearst Castle, the rooms are very dark, and I didn't have a monopod. Basically the Tokina was a total loss (yes, even at f2.8!), as I was forced into crazy shutter speeds, often in the 1 second and slower range! But even at 1/20th, I was just not steady enough to get a photo devoid of shake blur. Okay maybe one in ten. With the Canon, I could shoot down into 1/10 and be fine... I typically used the multi-shot mode to get two or three in succession, practically guaranteeing myself one good image.

I am not just an IS fan, I'm an IS junkie! For me, it's a game changer in my photography, and I felt the lack on the Tokina any time my shutter speed taunted me with numbers below 1/60th of a second.

I know some people are not hot on Image Stabilization, but there is one other negative I need to mention that will bother just about any photographer: Lens Flares. This Tokina flares like crazy! I've never seen flares like this in *any* other lens (Canon 16-35mm, 70-200mm, 24mm, 50mm, 80mm, 100mm, etc.). I actually have pictures with my hand intruding as I tried to block the flares (no easy feat with such a heavy lens!). Basically, if you can see the sun when looking at your subject, you're very likely going to contend with flares.

Wrapping this review, I have to re-emphasize the great enjoyment I had from this Tokina. It was my go-to lens in Yosemite, and even for outside shots at Hearst Castle. I really enjoyed this range of focal lengths, and loved the flexibility the wide-zoom had to offer. Yes, I'd rather it had Image Stabilization, but this lens is inexpensive enough to budget a good monopod in with it (and even Mr. Hearst's ghost won't chase you away for using a monopod)! The flares are my one red flag. If it came down to needing a wide zoom, it performs so much better optically than any other I've tried (especially my nemesis, the 16-35L), it'd be a no-brainer to get this lens and just deal with the flares.

I still need to do some IQ comparisons against the Canon 24mm IS, but if this Tokina beats the Canon prime in terms of sharpness (ignoring CA, since I've already corrected them once quite easily), it'll be in my bag as quick as Amazon can deliver it!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
I have owned Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 and also Nikon 16-35 f4 about a year now,not untill 4 months ago using this Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 FX, I let others dealing with technicals,let me tell you how good this Tokina is,I have tested both Nikon mention above intensively from wide open to the max of its focal-lenght.
Tokina 16-28 f2.8 FX is super sharp at lease 90% to 95% sharpness,contrast among other thing compare to Nikon 14-24 f2.8 from center,corner sharpness to vignette,pictures came out they all looks the same even the Pros, as far as front lens concern both shown bulbus,and you can not use filter,for which I expecting that but I don't worry about that they both shown reflection of lens flares, I set both on tripod at a same setting off angle againts the sun,so don't be fooled by Nikon Nano Coating,that Nikon claim to reduce glares.
On the other hands Nikon 16-35 f4 has too much distortions,at open wide not until 18mm I should say and cost almost double,at the end I sold both of my Nikon 14-24 f2.8 and 16-35 f4,I save over 2500.00 back in the bank, don't give wrong Nikon Lenses are quality and they have best optic you can buy today,only if you have money to burns

Don't take my words for it,you can rent Tokina 16-28 f4 FX and try it out and you will thanks me later,that what I did I rented and I can't believe my eyes,I bought it after I got back home,I paid my 750.00 wow, I'd paying too much for Nikon 14-24 f2.8 and Nikon 16-35 f4 VR.VR its nice to have but with this short Ultrawide Lens you realy don't need it all of mine shots are hand-held came out crystal clear.

Highly recommend for those looking for FX UW lens for way less money,and build quality(Solid as a Rock).
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2011
I have had this lens for a couple weeks now but have not had the opportunity to use it in a real world situation yet. I'm chiefly interested in 2.8 and 16mm to 20mm and bought this over the Zeiss 18mm 3.5 and the Canon 17-40mm/4. So far, at these focal lengths and at 2.8, the Tokina is very good for the price, about half of a Canon 16-35mm/2.8 ii. It does not take filters and if you use it for video, may be with the price difference you can get 1 the Lee filter adapters for the ND's. I do my filter effects otherwise more conveniently on PS :-D. It is also heavy and cumbersome and the lens cap is an issue, you'll have to make your own. I use a lenscoat cover which fits but not very convenient and have yet to find an appropriate replacement cap from tupperware or from the plumbing dpt of my hardware store. AF is positive and fast, just not nearly silent as with a Canon USM.
Optically it does not disappoint however. It is as good as my Canon FD 24mm 1.4 at 2.8, noticeably better than my (excellent) Sigma 24-60mm/ 2.8, only to concede to the Canon EF 24mm/1.4 ii. At the wide end it easily beats my Sigma 14mm/2.8 and Canon 17-35mm/2.8 (older version). I would recommend it if your photography is leisurely paced (i.e. landscapes vs press). I bought mine early at $850 and Vs the Canon 16-35mm ii (which I do not have and cannot compare with), $800 buy you a ticket to Europe or to Japan to shoot something else than your own backyard.

Update:

I've been using this lens lately in working conditions, people photography, fast paced, up close, sometimes with only one hand in contortionist position, guess focus and 'blind' focus. For this kind of use, the lens is very difficult to manage ( i am of thin build, 5'8'' and no weightlifter)on a 5d mkii body and i ended up using the notoriously bad sony 16mm+WA adapter. After adding a battery holder to the body, the 16-28mm was more balanced and much better to handle. It is still big though and when i look thru the VF as it can focus really close, I tend to poke my subject with the front bulbous element! Focus speed was OK, IQ still VG even at f2.8/f4 for my purpose. Now, it should be completely satisfactory if your photography is less hectic. Convenience wise, I may be better served by the new Tokina 17-35mm/4 or the Canon.
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