Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX Review

4.0
June 19, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX is an affordable wide-angle lens for APS-C DSLR users. Incredibly well-built, the Tokina 12-28mm is a good match for larger cameras like the Canon EOS 7D that we tested it with. Read our Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX Review to find out if it's worth considering instead of the Canon and Nikon alternatives.

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX is ultrawide zoom lens for APS-C sensor DSLR cameras. Incorporating a constant aperture of f/4, a new quieter focusing motor coupled with a GMR magnetic AF sensor, the Tokina 12-28mm lens also features the unique One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism to switch between auto and manual focus simply by snapping the focus ring forward and back. The Tokina 12-28mm F4 lens is constructed of 14 elements in 12 groups with one aspherical glass optical element in the front lens group, one additional aspherical element in the rear group, and two super low-dispersion elements that reduce aberrations. Available for either Canon or Nikon bodies, the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX retails for £529 in the UK and $599 in the US.

Ease of Use

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX is quite large and heavy for an APS-C ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, covering a versatile focal range of 18-42mm in 35mm full-frame terms and offering a maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the range.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens attached to a Canon EOS 7D

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens attached to a Canon EOS 7D

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens alongside the Canon EOS 7D

Zooming is external, so the front does extend, but never beyond the edge of the lens hood, so to all intents and purposes the lens always maintains its maximum length of 9.2cms, whatever focal length you choose. It's also pretty heavy at 530g, with a high-quality construction that gives it a solid, bulletproof feel.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXFront of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXFront of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

In terms of features, the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens has a couple of notable features. There's a distance scale which displays the focus range (0.25cms to infinity). and the innovative One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism. This allows you to switch between auto and manual focus simply by snapping the focus ring forward and back, achieved with a very definite "clunk". There's no focus limiter and no image stabilisation, although the latter is no big deal really as camera-shake is much less common at such wide focal lengths.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXFront of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXRear of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens is very well constructed, with a tactile plastic coating on the outside and mostly high-quality plastic internal parts, although the lens mount is thankfully metal. Tokina does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, and indeed you cannot see a rubber seal around the mount.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXSide of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXSide of the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens in-hand

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXThe Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens with the supplied BH-77B lens hood fitted

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens comes with a large petal-shaped hood which attaches to the front thread. The filter size is 77mm.

Focal Range

At the 16mm end of the zoom range, the lens has a diagonal angle of view of 99.37°.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXField of view at 12mm

At the 28mm end, the angle of view is 54.73°.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXField of view at 28mm

Focusing

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens has quite a noisy auto-focusing system, depsite the use of a brand new “SD-M” (Silent Drive-Module), emitting an audible mechanical whirr. In use, we found the system satisfyingly quick and accurate on the Canon EOS 7D, with no complaints about speed or accuracy.

Manual focusing is good, feeling natural in use with a throw of about 1/4 of a turn to move from the closest focsuing distance of 0.25cms to infinity. The focus ring is thick, tactile and more than adequate for the job, as is the zoom ring.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are a slight problem with this lens throughout the focal range, typically appearing as blue/purple fringing in high-contrast situations.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX

Vignetting and Distortion

With the lens set to its maximum f/4 aperture, you can see a little light fall-off in the corners, particularly at 12mm, but nothing too excessive. You will likely only notice this when photographing a subject with large homogeneous surfaces.

For such a wide-angle lens, the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX doesn't suffer too badly from distortion, even at the 12mm focal length.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXDistortion at 12mm

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXDistortion at 28mm

Macro

The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX has a closest focusing distance of 25cm / 0.8ft at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.94, so it's no macro lens, although that's not surprising for such a wide-angle zoom lens.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FXClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX lens, Tokina employed a diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh for a wide-angle lens, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX
   
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, wide-angle, lens, test, wide angle, landscape, f4, ultra wide-angle, tokina, 12-28, 12-28mm, F4, Tokina AT-X 12-28mm F4 Pro DX Review

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