Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE review

Billed as the ‘bokeh monster’, Tokina’s new Sony E-mount portrait prime lens is nicely blurry

Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE review
(Image: © Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

We often get hung up on a lens’s sharpness but, sometimes, a little softness goes a long way. Tokina’s new 85mm isn’t exactly razor-sharp but, especially for portraiture, you might not be thanked for drawing attention to every blemish and wrinkle. The ‘bokeh’, or pictorial quality of defocused areas within images can really help to deliver a soft and dreamy look, and it’s here that the Tokina excels.


  • +

    Beautiful bokeh, even when stopping down a little

  • +

    Sharpness is very good at the centre of the frame

  • +

    Virtually silent autofocus system


  • -

    Autofocus accuracy is a little inconsistent

  • -

    Manual focus ring is quite stiff

  • -

    No weather-seals

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The atx-m 85mm joins the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF, FíRIN 20mm F2 FE MF and FíRIN 100mm F2.8 FE Macro in Tokina's rapidly expanding range of lenses for Sony FE-mount cameras. It flies the time-honoured atx (advanced technology) flag of numerous SLR-compatible lenses that have come before, while adding an ‘m’ to the moniker for ‘mirrorless’.

Solid performance and build quality at affordable prices always seems to be high on Tokina’s agenda and, while the new lens has ‘only’ an f/1.8 aperture rating, it’s nevertheless just a third of the price of Sony’s faster, top-flight FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master. Stiffer competition with more similar price tags comes from the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 and the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE, the latter of which is two-thirds of an f/stop faster.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.