In the lower price bracket, this Tokina Macro lens will bring dramatic close-up images within reach.
The AF 100mm f/2.8 is available in Nikon and Canon fits, compatible with both full-frame and APS-C D-SLR bodies. At 95mm long it’s the shortest lens on test, but this comes at the expense of any optical stabilisation or an Internal Focusing mechanism; it extends to a working length of 160mm when focusing at its closest setting, making it the longest on test, and this could cause problems when shooting more skittish subjects. Internally, it’s constructed from nine elements in eight groups and features a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a minimum aperture of f/32, closing to f/5.6 and f/64 when working at the lens’s 1:1 magnification ratio.
The Nikon version doesn’t come with an AF motor, so AF is limited to Nikon bodies with one built-in (it’ll be MF-only on a DXX00). However, for macro, you’re likely to be using manual focus anyway, so it’s less of a drawback for close shooting and there’s a limiter switch to speed things up.
Unlike the other lenses on test, the Tokina 100mm features a push-pull focusing ring, which is handy for quickly switching between MF and AF, but AF performance didn’t keep up with the Sigma and Tamron lenses– focusing was louder with a distinct whirring, and response wasn’t as rapid. Manual focusing was smooth, thanks to the broad, textured ring and, being the lightest on test, the lens sits well on either full-frame or APS-C bodies. The lens also features a physical aperture ring, opening it up for use with manual extension tubes, and it’s the least expensive model here by a not inconsiderable £130.
The Tokina 100mm macro delivers a lot of lens for its £369 price tag and it’s a good option if you’re looking for a dedicated macro lens on a budget. That said, it did feel a little spartan, with many useful features from the more expensive lenses left out, such as image stabilisation, internal focusing and a motor for faster, quieter AF. Image quality wasn’t the best, but was good when used around the sweet-spot of f/9, so if you want a reasonable macro package at a low price, it’s well worth a look.
- Street price: £329 (As of July 2016)
- Full frame: Yes
- Lens mounts: Canon, Nikon
- Max. Aperture: f/2.8
- Min. Aperture: f/32
- Minimum focusing distance: 300mm
- Filter thread size: 55mm
- Dimensions: 73.7x95mm
- Weight: 540g
- Visit: www.tokinalens.com
This review was first published in the August 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.