Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro review: designed to be a fast lens in every possible way, this new wide-angle Tokina lens has a high-quality look and feel.
Recently we gave a favourable review to the ASPC-format Tokina 12-28mm f/4. Despite not being massively more expensive, the 16-28mm is a more pro-minded lens.
It has a faster (and still constant) f/2.8 aperture and, as an full-frame wide-angle zoom, is considerably bigger and heavier at 90x133mm and 950g.
What’s more, the design includes a built-in lens hood that precludes the use of screw-in filters, a nine-blade diaphragm to give a rounded aperture, and rugged build quality suited to a pro lifestyle.
The Tokina gives viewing angles of 77-107 degrees. The maximum angle of view is noticeably less, and even more so in comparison with the Sigma 12-24mm f/4-5.6 DG HSM II, which gives up to 122 degrees. On the plus side, the Tokina gives more reach at the long end of the zoom range.
It’s not just the aperture that’s ‘fast’. The lens features a new ‘silent’ DC motor that’s coupled to a GMR (Giant MagnetoResistance) magnetic AF system to give quieter, faster autofocus.
It’s not as near-silent as the ring-type ultrasonic systems in the competing Sigma lens, but it’s a big improvement on Tokina’s older designs. There’s still no full-time manual focus override, but a push-pull focus ring enables quick switching between autofocus and manual focus.
Barrel distortion and vignetting are less noticeable than in the Sigma lens. The Tokina also does well to minimise ghosting and flare, which can be a problem in this class of lens. Overall, it’s is a great buy in the US – but its price in the UK, compared with its competitors, is a little too close for comfort.
We tested this new Tokina lens to its limits in three key areas of optical performance
There’s plenty of sharpness, the Tokina closely matching the Nikon 14-24mm even in the extreme corners of the frame.
Sharpness at f/8, 16mm: 2709
Sharpness at f/8, 20mm: 2724
Sharpness at f/8, 28mm: 2385
Colour fringing is minimal at all focal lengths, and there’s very little variation through the aperture range as well.
Fringing at f/8, 16mm: 0.42
Fringing at f/8, 20mm: 0.39
Fringing at f/8, 28mm: 0.42
These figures are flattering, based on a DX body, but distortions are very well controlled on FX bodies too.
Distortion at 16mm: -1.67
Distortion at 20mm: -0.94
Distortion at 28mm: -0.32
Image Quality Verdict
The Tokina produces great image quality throughout its zoom and aperture ranges, right from the centre to the extreme corners of the frame.
Price: £699, $699
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