Tokina SZX Super Tele 400mm F8 Reflex MF review

The Tokina SZX 400mm F8 Reflex is a super-tele lens that won’t break your back, or the bank, thanks to tricks with mirrors

Tokina SZX Super Tele 400mm F8 Reflex MF
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Reflex or ‘mirror’ lenses have always been a poor alternative to the real deal when shooting with DSLRs. But this Tokina proves that mirrorless cameras give the breed a whole new lease of life, with a relatively bright viewfinder image and often the addition of in-body image stabilization. The lens is amazingly small and lightweight for a full-frame compatible super-tele lens, and remarkably inexpensive to buy. Sharpness isn’t magnificent but overall image quality is very convincing, making it a real steal at the price. It’s also available in a huge range of mount options for both full-frame and crop-sensor DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The SZX 400mm is a fully manual lens, with manual focusing, a fixed f/8 aperture and no electronics whatsoever, but it’s also full of retro charm, makes a great travelling companion and is something a bit different.


  • +

    Super-small and ultra-lightweight for a super-tele zoom

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    Inexpensive to buy

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    Wide range of mount options


  • -

    Not the sharpest tool in the box

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    Fixed aperture, by necessity

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    Accurate focusing can be a bit tricky

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Think super-tele primes and you’re probably thinking of huge lenses that weigh you down and cost a fortune. For example, the Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sports is a whopping 145x380mm in size, weighs in at a hefty 3,310g and costs around £4,699/$5,999 (although it’s massively less expensive than own-brand competitors from the likes of Canon and Nikon).

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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.