Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II
Tokina 11-16mm /2.8 DX II (77mm filters, 19.2 oz./544g, 1'/0.3m close focus, about $740. Comes in this Nikon version, as well as a Canon version.) enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links, as well as this link to them at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
Tokina 11-16mm (first version)
Sample Image File
This new "II" version is the same as the original Tokina 11-16mm lens, but with supposedly slightly better multicoating. More importantly, the "II" version adds an internal autofocus motor in the Nikon version so it now autofocuses even on Nikon's cheapest cameras.
It is built more solidly than Nikon or Canon's own lenses.
Instead of instant manual-focus override by grabbing the focus ring, you can switch quickly between auto and manual focus simply by pushing or pulling the focus ring.
Optically, it's fine, and a stop faster than anything else made in this format for use in low light.
I'm addressing the Nikon mount version here; you may make the usual extrapolations for Canon.
Warning: as a non-camera-brand lens, there is never any guarantee that this Tokina lens will always work perfectly with every possible camera, especially with cameras you might buy many years from now. Neither Nikon nor Canon want any part of you using non-camera brand lenses on their cameras. This is the chance you take with off-brand lenses.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF. enlarge.
Rear, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8.
Tokina calls this the Tokina SD 11-16mm F2.8 (IF) DX II AT-X PRO.
SD: Magic low-dispersion glass.
IF: Internal Focus.
DX: Won't work on full-frame.
II: New model of the original 11-16mm.
AT-X: Advanced Technology-seX.
PRO: Push-pull focus ring to select autofocus or manual focus.
∅77: 77mm filters.
Aspherical: Specially shaped lens elements for sharper pictures.
CE: (European) Consumer Electronics safety certified.
13 elements in 11 groups.
2 SD glass elements (same as Nikon's ED and Canon's UD).
Front and rear groups move as zoomed.
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II at f/22.
9 straight blades.
Stops down to f/22.
Focal Length top
Angle of View top
104º ~ 82.º
1 foot (0.3 meters).
3.3" (84mm) diameter by 3.5" (89mm) long, Nikon or Canon mount.
19.185 oz. (543.85g) measured.
Tokina specifies 19.4 oz. (550g).
BH-77B plastic bayonet hood, included.
Made in Japan.
Box, Tokina 11-16mm /2.8 II.
The Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF is a tough, fast ultrawide. The price you pay for the extra speed is a more restricted zoom range compared to Nikon or Canon's own lenses.
It's tougher, but not quite as ergonomically clean as Nikon or Canon's lenses, since you have to move the focus ring back and forth to get manual focus, instead of just grabbing the ring.
Optically it can be pretty good, too.
Autofocus is slower than usual for ultrawides, which are usually instantaneous, but still fast enough.
With these off-brand lenses, you may or may not sometimes need to dial-in a little AF fine-tuning. With this sample, I was fine.
Manual focus is beautiful! It's smooth and perfectly damped, and the big metal-ring feels great.
The Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF has barrel distortion at the 11mm end, and very little at the 16mm end.
If you dare use it on full-frame, it has barrel distortion at 16mm, but luckily, all of this distortion is very easy to correct by plugging these figures into Photoshop's lens distortion filter to correct it. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.
© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF. enlarge.
Ergonomics are fine.
Zooming is well damped and smooth. You can zoom with moderate pressure from one fingertip.
Zooming isn't much. With only a 1.45x zoom range, it doesn't change much from 11mm to 16mm.
For manual focus, pull the ring towards you and turn. Better than older Tokina lenses, you can just push it away from you to return to autofocus without having to align anything.
The metal focus ring and overall construction makes this lens feel much more solid than Nikon or Canon's ultrawide lenses.
Not much air pumps in and out as the 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF-S is zoomed, so I can't detect any air blowing out of my eyepiece.
Falloff on DX is invisible.
I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background:
The filter ring never moves.
There is no problem with vignetting, even with thick rotating filters.
In fact, two stacked regular filters (11mm total thickness excluding rear threads) work great, even at 11mm.
Vignetting doesn't vary as focused.
Don't use any filters if you're pushing your luck and using this on full-frame.
Ghost, set to 16mm and f/11. enlarge.
One thing Tokina has oddly never mastered is multicoating. Its lenses usually have more flare and ghosts than Nikon or Canon's lenses, but heck, many people want these in their ultrawide shots to emphasize the sun.
If you shoot into the sun, plan on getting a few ghosts somewhere, often a green dagger opposite the sun as seen here.
I wouldn't worry about using a hood, but do remember to shield the sun with your hand if it's glaring into the lens.
Of interest mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, the image from the Tokina 11-16 2.8 II doesn't change as focused.
It works OK on full-frame at 16mm if you use no filter. It will vignette at wider settings, or with a filter.
It's not quite as sharp on the sides on full-frame at 16mm, but considering that this is a freebie, I'm not complaining.
The Nikon D7000 does a good job of correcting any that may be in the Tokina 11-16. There is some violet to blue flare seen on contrast objects occasionally in the corners.
As shot on DX at 16mm at one foot (0.3 meters) on a Nikon D7000 at 16 MP, f/7.1.
Unsharpened crop from above 16 MP DX image at 100%. If this is 6" (15cm) wide on your 100 DPI monitor, the complete printed image would be 50 x 33" (1.5 x 1 meter).
As expected, you can't get that close with this ultrawide lens.
Rear, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. enlarge.
This Tokina is a tough lens, much better than the all-plastic offerings from Canon and Nikon.
Hood Bayonet Mount
Metal; rubber covered.
Distance markings seen behind a clear plastic window.
Plastic; rubber covered.
Aft Barrel Exterior
Seem like mostly metal.
Metal. Mounts almost as well as Nikon's mounts, bit sometimes feels a little grittier.
Debossed gold-look plastic plate on midbarrel.
Sticker glued into a recess on the bottom of the barrel.
Rain seal at mount
Noises When Shaken
Plenty of clicking; sounds like a lot of metal inside.
The Tokina 11-16mm II is always sharp in the center, and often softer on the far sides and corners. This improves stopped-down.
Its sharpness is the same at all focal length settings.
It's completely sharp, even on an 16 MP DX Nikon D7000, at f/2.8 in the center.
The corners are blurry at f/2.8, and improve as stopped down, optimum around f/11.
I can't see any spherochromatism, which is colored fringes around out-of-focus highlights. I didn't expect to see any; this is most visible with longer, faster lenses.
Sunstar, set to 11mm and f/11. enlarge.
With its straight 9-bladed diaphragm, this Tokina 11-16 2.8 makes great 18-pointed sunstars on brilliant points of light.
This is much better than the wimpy rounded blades of other lenses.
The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II is pretty tough.
All zooming and focus is internal to the barrel, so beating the outside of the lens won't directly impact any of the internal mechanisms.
It autofocus with an internal motor. If this motor dies and Tokina won't fix it, you no longer have autofocus.
It's typical that as the years roll on that this lens may or may not work on newer cameras. We take for granted that ten or twenty years down the road that our Canon EF and Nikon DX lenses will just work with the nest cameras of 2025, but it is not uncommon for off-brand lenses to have compatibility problems with some models years in the future, and that there will be no fix for that.
Nikon's 12-24mm is a precise, tough semi-pro lens. My 2004-vintage sample of Nikon 12-24mm is much sharper in the corners than this sample of brand-new Tokina.
Nikon's 10-24mm lens a a plastic consumer lens. It's optically and ergonomically excellent, but costs more and is more cheaply made.
Canon's lens is wonderful, and seeing how it sells for about the same price, I'd get the Canon lens for Canon.
Attempting to compare sharpness between these is a quick exercise in futility because ultrawide lenses vary greatly from spot to spot in the image, and they have all sorts of field curvatures, and can vary from shot to shot. There is no easy way to compare these, and sample variations will only compound the problems.
For instance, the sample of Tokina lens I reviewed here has a shifted plane of best focus, so held upside-down its plane of best focus is actually ideal for landscapes, but held regularly, it's bad for landscapes. If you can't recognize these sample variations, attempting to compare one or two samples of each is quite a crap shoot.
Be sure to turn off any in-camera distortion correction, since if your Nikon or Canon thinks it has a lens profile for this Tokina, it most certainly will be for some other lens, and do some weird things to the image.
Specifically, on my Nikon D800E, it tries to correct for some other lens, and pulls the corners way, way out.
This Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF is a tough lens for Nikon or Canon.
Buying this lens, you won't be left scratching your head, wondering how you just got ripped-off paying for a plastic lens from Nikon or Canon.
That said, the optics and ergonomics are generally better in Nikon and Canon, even if the mechanics are cheaper, and the Nikon or Canon lens is much more likely to be compatible with whatever camera you buy 10 years from now.
This "II" version of lens should have the same optics which I so favorably reviewed in the first version of this lens back in 2006. See that review for details. This sample of "II" lens I borrowed doesn't seem to be as good, so I'll chalk this up to sample variation, which is always going to be more likely with off-brand lenses.
For Canon, since the real Canon lens costs the same, I'd only get the Canon lens.
For Nikon, if you need the f/2.8 speed or prefer the 18-pointed sunstars or the tougher build quality, get this lens, and for better ergonomics and better potential future camera compatibility, I'd get either Nikon lens. Of the Nikon lenses, the 10-24mm is flimsier but has the broadest zoom range of any lens here, while the Nikon 12-24mm has superior build quality to the 10-24mm and costs more. The 12-24mm has a quiet refinement about it as the only semi-pro lens here; Nikon made it back when Nikon was trying to pretend that digital was never going to be more than DX.
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