The Best Tokina DSLR Lenses That I Will Personally Pick.

Welcome back!

This is the 7th article in this series about me sharing what are the lenses from the various manufacturers that I will pick & use on a personal basis. The last article was about the Tamron Lenses that I will buy for my system.

Today, I am going to pick my lenses from the Tokina DSLR Lens line-up. It is a known fact that Tokina’s strength lies greatly on its Ultra Wide Angle lenses. Landscape photographers swear by Tokina’s lenses and this is definitely something which I agreed. Strength to strength, 3rd party manufacturers does have a niche that puts them apart from each other. Tokina’s ultra wide angle lenses are among the best while Tamron is famous for their general zoom which had set a certain benchmark for quality & useability while Sigma is top for Super Telephoto zoom lenses. Like all 3rd party manufacturers, Tokina makes a good range of compatible lenses for other brands like Canon & Nikon. For those new to 3rd party manufacturers, here’s a quick start.

Some terms –
Canon – (Image Stabilizer=IS/ EF=Full Frame/ EF-S=APSC/ Ultrasonic Motor=USM)
Nikon – (Vibration Reduction=VR/ FX=Full Frame/ DX=APSC/ Silent Wave Motor=SWM)
Sony – (Steady Shot=SS/ SAL=Full Frame/ SAL+DT=APSC/ Super Sonic Motor=SSM)
Pentax – (Shake Reduction=SR/ D=DSLR/ FA=SLR/ Supersonic Drive Motor=SDM)
Olympus – (Image Stabilization=IS/ Zuiko=APSC/ M.Zuiko=M43/ Silent Wave Drive=SWD) 
Sigma – (Optical Stabilizer=OS/DG=Full Frame/ DC=APSC/ Hyper Sonic Motor=HSM)
Tamron – (Vibration Compensation=VC, Di=Full Frame/ Di II=APSC/  Piezo Drive = PZD)
Tokina – ( Nil/ FX=Full Frame/ DX=APSC/ Internal Focusing System using Silent DC Motor= IFS)
*There are other Lens Manufacturers covering smaller markets, so will not be featuring or mentioning here.

You are reminded once again that this is NOT a ”buying guide” or a technical review of each lenses. You can easily find those all over the internet. However, I am sharing based on personal experience, usability and how well these lenses compliment your work.

My Pick for Best Tokina Zoom lens (General Lens).

This is the lens that I will probably bring it everywhere I go, for commercial shoot or leisure walkabouts.

My pick has to be the Tokina AT-X 124 PRO DX II(AF12-24mm F4.0). (This is the Mark II version)
Taking its design cue and lens design from its award-winning predecessor, this lens is sharp and the Mark II now features improved multi-coating that reduces ghosting or flares. Designed as a DX, this lens is targeted at the mass market which comprises of mostly APSC users, and this lens is priced lower than proprietory brands of the same or similar range to attract users to buy Tokina as the alternative option. Today, even the most hardcore of brand fans has a Tokina in their bags. (I am saying most photographers, not all.) If you have not tried doing portraits at 24mm, you must try this lens then. Though it is not a F2.8 (like its more premium brother the Tokina 11-16mm), the bright constant F4 is already more than adequate to give beautiful bokehs and when it comes to landscape, this lens do outperforms the Tokina 11-16mm at sharpness on most F stops. For those wondering what is the difference of a 11mm wide and a 12mm wide, my answer is, 6 more steps backwards. 🙂 

Some Quick Information:
Tokina AT-X 124 PRO DX II(AF12-24mm F4.0).
Format: APS-C ONLY with a corresponding 1.5X increase cropped factor (1.6x for Canon).
Focal Range: Ultra Wide angle to Wide angle 12mm-24mm or 18mm-36mm (Canon 19.2-38.4mm) on 35mm formats.
Filter Diameter: 77mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Lens Hood BH-777.
Suggested Alternative Lens : Tokina AT-X 124 AF PRO DX (AF12-24mm F4.0) – Mark I Version.

My Pick for Best Tokina Telephoto Zoom lens (Telephoto Lens).

This is the lens that I will use for portraiture work, short range wildlife shots & street photography

My Pick, the Tokina AT-X 840 AF (AF 80-400mm F4.5-5.6). Probably the smallest zoom lens that has a super telephoto range of 400mm, this lens is the only lens currenly covering this focal range in Tokina’s lenses line up. Even though this lens has been in the market for about 5 years now (and no replacement was announced yet), it had proven itself to be a performer when it comes to practical uses. It produces sharp portraits and it is also good for wildlife and street photography. Before you start to complain about the 8 blades apeture, you don’t really use F5.6 for wildlife or sports would you? If you do, well, ask the Pros, they will tell you a little story about F16, but that’s another story altogether. Built solid but not too heavy (1020gm), this is lens is great to carry about and to increase practicality, it comes with a built in Tripod ring, a zoom lock that totally eliminates lens creep. All Tokina lenses now comes with multi-coated elements as standard including this lens, plus a specially designed hood (BH-725) which allows the user to adjust the filter or use a CPL without having to remove the lens hood. This lens is sensible and well priced, well designed and a lens that most people forget. You are now reminded. 🙂 

Some Quick Information:
Tokina AT-X 840 AF (AF 80-400mm F4.5-5.6). (Mark I)
Format: APS-C cameras ONLY with a corresponding 1.5X increase.(Canon 1.6X)
Focal Range: Medium Telephoto to Super Telephoto 80mm-400mm or (APSC 120-600mm for 1.5X & 128-640mm for 1.6x).
Filter Diameter: 72mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Tripod Ring & Lens Hood  BH-725.
Suggested Alternative Lens: Tokina AT-X 840 AF (AF 80-400mm F4.5-5.6). (Mark II)

My Pick for Best Tokina Standard lens (Prime Lens).
This is the lens that I will use for a wide variety of applications when zooming is not everything.

My Pick this time is the Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX (AF 35mm F2.8 Macro). This is by far the smallest lens that Tokina produce and this is super compact. A real macro lens that gives a magnification ratio of 1:1 plus a minimum focusing distance of only 14cm, this lens is great for super close up macro and when wide open at F2.8, this lens is great for portraits with nice bokehs. When stop down to F7.1, this is one of the best landscape lens (in my view) as it gives sharp & contrasty reproduction of what I see through the viewfinder. Comes with Water repellent coating (WR), this is one lens made for outdoors. So if you are thinking of a 2-in-1 lens, get this lens. (Before it is discontinued). 

Some Quick Information:
Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX (AF 35mm F2.8 Macro). 
Format: APS-C cameras ONLY with a corresponding 1.5X increase.(Canon 1.6X)
Focal Range: Wide Angle 35mm or (52.5mm for 1.5X & 56mm for 1.6x) on 35mm formats.
Filter Diameter: 52mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Lens Hood  HM-522.
Suggested Alternative Lens: Nil.

The above 3 Tokina lenses are the lenses that I will buy if I can ONLY buy 3 lenses for my system. The selected lenses above are not your buying guide, but instead, what I will want to have in my camera bag. 

Tokina has build its reputation over the years with their Ultra Wide angle offerings. Used by beginners to professionals, the lens quality and the optical quality has never failed to impress the user. Though Tokina’s focusing is still not as fast as the competition, it is adequate for the purpose it is built for. Priced to sell and designed for practical use, Tokina remains as one of the Top 3 “3rd Party” brands. I was sceptical about Tokina in my earlier days, but after owning, using (& testing) Tokina lenses, my impression of Tokina has changed. Just like how I was impressed with Sigma’s Telephoto Zooms and Tamron’s Compact and well build lenses.

The above reviews/statement/ findings/ comparisons/ claims are solely personal views consolidated, compiled & based on personal surveys, usage experience, feedbacks from fellow users. This article is NOT PAID by the Brand owner and this article is presented as a reading reference from 1st person point of view.

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