The Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X PRO DX II provides a narrow field-of-view, and a full-frame equivalent of 18-36mm. The lens features 13 elements in 11 groups with two aspherical elements designed to reduce chromatic aberration. The f/4 maximum aperture is constant throughout the zoom range.
The Tokina is a solid lens, and at a whopping 570g it’s also heavy. One thing we really liked is the nice big focus ring where it should be – at the front of the lens – and a reasonably sized zoom ring behind it. The auto/manual focus switch is activated by moving the focus barrel backwards and forwards, which is by its very nature quite clunky and unrefined. The same can be said for the autofocus mechanism, as it is quite noisy and sometimes struggles to find focus.
The Tokina has proved to be a surprise in terms of image quality, because with edge sharpness it comes hot on the heels of the impressive Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. However, it is let down by strong chromatic aberration. And even Lightroom 4 can’t remove all of it – although to be fair it can remove about 98% of it. Barrel distortion at the widest setting is average for a wide-angle, and there’s a small amount of pincushion distortion at the longer end of the zoom.
Image quality in terms of overall and edge sharpness is very good, but it is let down by strong chromatic aberration. At 570g this is quite a lump of glass and metal to carry around, but the trade-off is impressive image sharpness. This is no doubt a good lens, but one that comes with distinct compromises.
- Price: £425 (As of June 2016)
- Maximum aperture: f/4
- Minimum aperture: f/22
- Construction: 13 elements in 11 groups
- Number of diaphragm blades: 9
- Minimum focus: 30cm
- Filter thread: 77mm
- Weight: 570g
- Visit: www.tokinalens.com
This review was first published in the May 2009 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.