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Tokina 100mm f/2.8
AT-X PRO 1:1 Macro (2006- )
© 2010-2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

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Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 (55mm filters, 18.1 oz./513g, 1:1 close focus, about $460). enlarge. The biggest source of support for this free website is when you use these links, especially this link directly to this lens at Adorama in both Nikon or Canon EOS mounts, or at Amazon in Nikon or in Canon EOS mounts when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.

 

June 2013    More Tokina Reviews   All reviews

Nikon Reviews    Nikon Lenses    Canon Reviews    Canon Lenses

Why fixed lenses take better pictures.

Optics:
Mechanics:
Ergonomics:
Usefulness:
Availability:
Overall:

 

Ideal Uses: Perfect for use on FX digital, DX digital and 35mm both as a dedicated macro lens, and as a general-purpose short, fast tele for everything from sports to portraits and landscapes.

Not for: Won't autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100 or D5000.

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

Formats and Versions   Compatibility

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This Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens.

It's optical performance is as good or better than the best from Nikon and Canon, and this Tokina's ergonomics, due to its unique focus clutch, is also better than any of Nikon's or Canon's 100mm or 105mm macro lenses.

All this, and this Tokina is less than half the price, just as well built, and smaller and lighter than any other 100mm or 105mm AF macro. Go get one!

 

Formats and Versions       intro      top

This Tokina 100mm f/2.8 comes in in both Nikon and Canon EOS mounts. I am addressing the Nikon mount version here; you may make the usual extrapolations for Canon.

This is a full-frame (FX) lens. I will be testing it as such, as well as for DX.

 

Compatibility       intro      top

This is an FX lens, and works especially well with on FX, 35mm and DX Nikons like the D7000, D700, D3X, D300s and F6. It works fantastically on manual-focus cameras like the F2AS, F3, FE and FA, since it has real manual-focus and aperture rings that work exactly as they should.

It works great on Nikon's latest D600 and D800E.

The Nikon version 100mm f/2.8 AF works great with almost every film and digital Nikon camera made since 1977. You'll need to figure out a way to add a meter coupling prong for use with Nikons made from 1959-1976, if you want meter coupling.

The only incompatibility is that it will not autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100 or D5000, but if you focus manually, everything else works great. These cameras have in-finder focus confirmation dots to help you.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AF, AF-D (screw)" column for this lens.

Warning: as a non-Nikon lens, there is never any guarantee that this Tokina lens will always work perfectly with every possible camera. I've only used it on the D3 and D7000. There is always the potential for it not to work on some models of camera, today or newer models in the future. This is the one chance you take with non-Nikon lenses.

 

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF. enlarge.

 

Specifications        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

 

Name       specs       top

Tokina calls this the Tokina AT-X PRO 100mm F2.8 D Macro.

     AT-X: Advanced Technology-seX.

     PRO: Tokina's designation for its lenses with its brilliant AF-MF focus clutch.

     D: The lens tells the camera the distance to the subject, which helps the exposure meter, especially with on-camera flash.

 

Optics       specs       top

9 elements in 8 groups.

Floating elements for perfect performance as you focus at any distance.

Multicoated.

 

Diaphragm       specs       top

Diaphragm, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 at f/5.6

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 at f/5.6. enlarge.

9 blades, mostly straight.

Stops down to f/32 at infinity, f/64 at 1:1.

Plastic aperture ring with full-stop clicks.

 

Coverage        top

35mm film, FX and DX.

 

Focal Length        top

100mm.

When used on a DX camera, it gives angles of view similar to what a 150mm lens gives when used on an FX or 35mm camera.

 

Focus Limiter       specs       top

Controls, Tokina 100mm f/2.8

Controls, Tokina 100mm f/2.8. enlarge.

A rotary switch allows you to prevent the Tokina 100 2.8 from focusing through 1:2.

 

Close Focus       specs       top

1 foot (0.3m), marked.

 

Working Distance       specs       top

4.5" (115mm), measured.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio       specs       top

Diaphragm, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 at f/5.6

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 at 1:1. enlarge.

1:1, life-size.

As you focus more closely, the inner barrel extends.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?       specs       top

No.

It focuses a little past infinity, so you have to let the AF system focus for infinity.

 

Focus Scale       specs       top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale       specs       top

Tokina 100 2.8 Macro

Focus window, Tokina 100 2.8 Macro.

Not really. See the two dots? Those are for f/16 and f/32, so good luck making any use of it. The dots don't mean f/11 and f/8, sorry.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index       specs       top

No.

 

Aperture Ring       specs       top

Yes, plastic.

Full-stop clicks.

 

Filter Thread       specs       top

55mm, plastic.

Does not rotate, but does move in and out as focused.

 

Tripod Collar       specs       top

No.

 

Size       specs       top

Tokina specifies 3.74" (95.1mm) long by 2.9" (73mm) diameter.

 

Weight       specs       top

18.080 oz. (512.6g), measured.

Tokina specifies 19.0 oz. (540g).

 

Hood       specs       top

Caps and hood, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Tokina 100mm f/2.8, capped with reversed hood.

BH-551 plastic bayonet, included.

 

Case       specs       top

None.

 

Made in       specs       top

Japan.

 

Packaging       specs       top

Box, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Box, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

Single-wall cardboard box, glossy printed.

Folded corrugated cardboard formers inside. Lens in clear plastic bag inside cardboard.

Paperwork on top of cardboard, just under box cover.

 

Introduced       specs       top

2006.

 

Tokina Product Number       specs       top

AT-X M100 PRO D

 

Price, USA       specs       top

$460, June 2013.

$490, October 2012.

$450, July 2011.

$400, November 2010.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

Overall   Auto and Manual Focus    Bokeh    Color    Coma    Distortion  

Ergonomics   Eyeblow   Falloff    Filters   Focus Breathing   

Color Fringes    Macro    Maximum Aperture    Mechanics    

Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars   Survivability

 

Overall      performance      top

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF is one of the very best lenses I've ever tested.

Not only are its optics perfect, so are its ergonomics. This FX and DX lens is both sharper and handles better than Nikon's made-in-China, DX-only 85mm f/3.5 VR, which costs more!

This Tokina is a winner, and one of the sharpest lenses I've ever put on any camera, at any distance including infinity.

 

Auto and Manual Focus      performance      top

AF Speed

Autofocus is very fast for normal uses. This Tokina focuses much more quickly than Nikon's newest 85mm f/1.4G on an F5, for instance, but the new Nikon 85/1.4 is designed for high-precision more than speed.

In the macro range, use manual focus for your own sanity. Autofocus is reasonably fast, but it's much more sensible to turn the ring yourself than to have your camera hunting all over.

One full turn (two half-turns) of the AF screw pulls focus from infinity down to 7 feet.

 

AF Accuracy

AF is always consistent. Some cameras may need a little bit of AF fine-tuning. My D3 was best at +7, while my D7000 was best at about +10. Every sample of lens and camera will vary.

 

Manual Focus

Manual focus is beautiful!

It's smooth and perfectly geared for the best possible combination of speed and precision.

 

Bokeh      performance      top

Bokeh varies with distance. Bokeh is mostly wonderful.

Bokeh is the character of out of focus areas, not simply how far out of focus they are.

Ryan on Kodachrome

Ryan on 25-year-old Kodachrome 64. Shot on Nikon F5, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 and SB-600, 1/125 at f/5.6, simple color correction with a curves layer. Original © Scan. EXIF data, frame 25. Dwayne's process and scan.

 

Color Rendition      performance      top

I don't notice any different color rendition from my NIKKOR lenses.

 

Coma      performance      top

I see no coma.

Coma would be weird smeared blobs that appear around bright points of light in the corners. See also sagittal coma flare.

 

Distortion      performance      top

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF has no visible distortion.

These figures may reduce it even further for critical photogrammetric use by plugging these into Photoshop's lens distortion filter, however, even as of CS5 I don't see that Photoshop can work with figures this low. This lens is too good! These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

 
FX and Film
+0.3
0.0
10' (3m)
+0.25
0.0
1:10
0.0
 
1:2
0.0
 
1:1
0.0
 

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics      performance      top

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF. enlarge.

Ergonomics are perfect, better than any Nikon AF Micro lens.

In AF, turning the big, fat focus ring does nothing, so you can get a good, solid grip on it without affecting AF. Nothing moves on the barrel as it autofocuses, except for the forebarrel moving in and out.

To get manual focus, simply pull the focus ring towards you, and it clicks into manual focus mode. Now turn the big, silky-smooth rubber-covered metal focus ring for easy manual focus.

Nikon's manual focus 105mm Micros, the 105/4 AI and today's 105/2.8 AI-s are good, but only manual focus. Nikon's 105/4 has a built-in hood.

Nikon's 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro is an ergonomic nightmare: you have to release a lock and rotate a ring to get the manual focus ring to respond.

Nikon's newest made-in-China 105mm VR is also no picnic: if you turn the focus ring by accident, which is easy to do because that's how you hold the lens, you accidentally go into manual focus mode.

By comparison, and all by itself, Tokina's focus clutch mechanism is brilliant. I wish my Nikon lenses were this good.

As if the focusing wasn't enough to make me love this lens, did you notice the rubber ring at the rear of the lens? It doesn't turn: it's the grab ring for mounting and unmounting. Bella!

 

Eyeblow       performance     top

As the 100mm f/2.8 AF-S is focused in and out, very little air pumps in and out of the rear of the lens, thus I can't detect any air blowing out of my eyepiece.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)      performance      top

Falloff on FX is minimal, much better than NIkon's 105mm f/2.8 VR!

It will be even less of an issue on DX (see crop factor).

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

 

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF falloff on FX and film, no correction.

 
f/4
f/5.6
1:4
1:2
only opens to f/4.2 ->
1:1
  only opens to f/5.6 ->

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with      performance      top

The plastic filter ring never rotates, but it does move in and out with focus.

There is no problem with vignetting, even with stacks of several thick 55mm filters on FX.

On DX, I can't see how you could get any vignetting, even with a dozen stacked 55mm filters.

On Nikon, I'd use a 55->52mm step-down ring for sanity's sake. I also can use several stacked 52mm filters on FX without vignetting.

Good times!

 

Focus Breathing      performance      top

Of interest mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, for instance, a couple having a conversation, the image from the Tokina 100 2.8 macro gets slightly larger as focused more closely.

 

Lateral Color Fringes      performance      top

There are no lateral color fringes on the D3 or the D7000, which correct them automatically.

 

Macro      performance      top

Macro works great; this is a macro lens.

1:1 means the image is life-sized, or that you can make something just an inch across fill your picture.

 

Maximum Aperture      performance      top

As one focuses more closely, the maximum aperture diminishes due to the greater magnification.

Nikon AF cameras calculate all this automatically, but it often will throw off some users who can't understand why they can't get f/2.8 as they focus more closely.

 
Maximum
Aperture
Minimum
Aperture
f/2.8
f/32
6' (2m)
f/3
f/36
1:10
f/3.2
f/36
1:6
f/3.3
f/40
1:5
f/3.5
f/40
1:3.5
f/3.8
f/45
1:3
f/4
f/45
1:2
f/4.2
f/51
1:1.8
f/4.5
f/51
1:1.5
f/4.8
f/57
1:1.4
f/5
f/57
1:1.2
f/5.3
f/64
1:1
f/5.6
f/64

 

Mechanics      performance      top

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Rear, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro. enlarge.

This Tokina is a tough, well-made lens.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Hood Bayonet

Plastic.

 

Fore Barrel

Metal.

 

Focus Ring

Metal; rubber covered.

 

Focus Limiter Switch

Plastic.

 

Mid and Aft Barrel Exterior

Plastic.

 

Internals

Seem like metal and plastic.

 

Aperture Ring

Plastic with painted numbers.

 

Mount

Light-gold-colored metal. Mounts almost as well as Nikon's mounts.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Identity Plate

Black and gold debossed plate, with clear plastic window for focus scale.

 

Serial Number

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF

Bottom, Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro. enlarge.

Serial number on sticker on bottom rear of barrel

 

Ass-Gasket (rain seal at mount)

No.

 

Noises When Shaken

Mild clicking from the diaphragm blades and actuation system.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness      performance      top

Warning 1: Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens.

Warning 2: Lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro is as sharp as any lens I've ever tested. If you're splitting pixels, it's sharper than Nikon's own 85mm f/3.5 DX VR, which costs more.

It's completely sharp and contrast at every aperture, everywhere in the field of both FX 12MP D3 and DX 16MP D7000. It's as sharp as Nikon's 105mm f/2.8 VR and 105mm f/2.8 AF-D. Any of these three lenses will let you get the best of Nikon's best D3X or D7000.

At the tiniest apertures, of course diffraction limits performance. With a lens this good, f/5.6 is the sharpest aperture, and by f/8, diffraction is already limiting sharpness, presuming you have a perfectly flat and perfectly in-focus subject.

Here's a photo of my neighbor's lawn furniture:

Lawn Furniture

and here's a crop at 100% from a 16MP DX image from a Nikon D7000:

Crop

This is shot wide-open at f/2.8!

If you enlarged the entire image at this same scale as seen on a standard (100DPI) monitor, you'd be looking at about a 50 x 33" (125 x 85cm) gallery print.

 

Here's a macro shot on FX:

Macro

Photograph of Nikon 200mm f/4D AF Micro-NIKKOR. original © 1.3 MB file.

This shot was made at f/25 under studio strobes. Here is the original file.

Why f/25 if sharpness goes down from f/8? Simple: f/8 only counts for flat subjects, as used in meaningless tests. As soon as you add depth, as in a real subject worth photographing, you have to stop down. See Selecting the Sharpest Aperture. For most macro work, f/32 is standard, since nothing real is ever flat enough at close range.

Also, f/25 is what I need with 500 Watt-seconds of Novatron strobe at ISO 200.

 

Spherochromatism       performance     top

This Tokina shows just a tiny bit of spherochromatism.

Out-of-focus background highlights can take on slight green color fringes, and foreground highlights can take on very minor magenta color fringes. Laypeople sometimes mistakenly call spherochromatism "color bokeh."

 

Sunstars      performance      top

Sunsatr

Sunstar, crop from 100% D7000 image at f/8.

With its mostly straight 9-bladed diaphragm, this Tokina 100 2.8 can make great 18 -pointed sunstars on bright points of light.

This is much better than anything from Canon or Nikon.

Nikon uses either 7-blades, or rounds their 9-bladed diaphragms which won't make sunstars.

Canon's uses 8 blades, giving only hokey 8-pointed stars, or 9 rounded blades, which won't do much for sunstars, like Nikon's newest VR lens.

 

Survivability       performance     top

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro seems pretty tough, so long as you don't bash the front of the lens.

If you hit the front of the lens, since it is what has to move in and out precisely as focused, you could damage the focus system.

 

Usage             top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

Reverse from a cruise control on a Mercedes, push the focus ring away from you for autofocus, and pull it toward you for manual focus. Leave your camera set to autofocus.

For manual-focus lock, set your camera to manual focus, and push the ring to autofocus. This disconnects the focus ring, so focus stays fixed.

Use the focus limiter all the time, which merely locks-out the range from 1:2 to 1:1, which no one ever uses, but takes up half the length of the focus scale. Few macro shooters every need to get this close, and if you do, turn off the limiter.

There is no need for a hood; the front element is well inset at every focus distance.

The focus limiter prevents the lens from turning past the 1:2 setting halfway along the focus scale. Therefore it either limits focus to go between infinity and 1:2 (0.6 meters), or between 1:2 and 1:1 (0.6 to 0.3 meters).

 

Compared             top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

See also Best Macro Lenses Compared.

I compared it directly to the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 DX, and this Tokina is sharper.

Otherwise, all 100mm and 105mm macro lenses are the sharpest and least distorting lenses you can get; I wouldn't sweat any optical differences among these. They are all superb.

If you must split hairs, this Tokina has superior ergonomics to any other autofocus lens here because of its brilliant one-touch focus clutch.

This Tokina has superior optics because it generates superior 18-point sunstars, which these other lenses can't do, or don't do well.

This Tokina is optically superior to Canon and Nikon's offerings because it has much less light falloff.

 
Tokina
100/2.8
Anno
2006-today
1970-1983
1983-today
1990-2007
2006-today
2000-2009
2009-today
Filter
55mm
52mm
52mm
52mm
62mm
58mm
67mm
Filter
plastic
Metal
Metal
Metal
plastic
plastic
plastic
Length
95.1mm
96mm
83.5mm
104.5mm
116mm
118.2mm
123mm
Barrel
Metal and plastic
Metal
Metal
Plastic and metal
Plastic and metal
plastic
plastic
Weight, g.
513g
500g
510g
562g
752g
584g
623g
Weight, oz.
18.1 oz.
17.6 oz.
18.0 oz.
19.8 oz.
26.6 oz.
20.6 oz.
22.0 oz.
Optics
Ex
Ex
Ex
Ex
Ex
Ex
Ex
Blades
9
7
7
7
9 rounded
8
9 rounded
Falloff  
Working Distance
4.5"
11"
9.5"
5.2"
6"
6"
5.2"
Working Distance
115mm
280mm
240mm
133mm
154mm
150mm
133mm
Maximum Repro
1:1
1:2
1:2
1:1
1:1
1:1
1:1
Manual Focus
Push focus ring
Always
Always
Must move switch
Instant override
Instant override
Instant override
Ergonomics
Ex+
Ex
Ex
OK
Ex
Ex
Ex
Price, 11/2010 USA*

$400

$125 used

$150
used

$350
used

(To get used prices this good, see How to Win at eBay.)

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

See also How to Shoot Macro.

This Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AF Macro is a great lens for macro, and especially good for any use as a portrait or telephoto lens. It is probably the best 100mm or 105mm macro there is, and costs half of what other lenses cost.

If you want to shoot dedicated macro, 200mm lenses are better because you get more working distance between your camera and your subject to make lighting, and your subject, more comfortable.

This Tokina's image quality is unsurpassed, and its ergonomics with the push-pull focus clutch are superior to both Canon's and Nikon's own 100mm and 105mm lenses!

I prefer the optics of this Tokina to Nikon and Canon, because this Tokina uses the correct 9-bladed diaphragm, where Nikon uses either only 7 blades, or rounds their 9-blade diaphragms which eliminates sunstars. Canon is completely clueless with their 8-bladed diaphragms, or again attempts to round their 9-bladed diaphragms.

With this Tokina lens, you've got a top-quality lens at a bargain price, and it's built to last. It has the same or better optics than either Canon or Nikon's lenses, and is smaller, lighter, less expensive, and handles better.

VR and IS are merely sales features in macro lenses. They are handy for hand-held available light shooting, but for dedicated macro shooting, we use strobes, so VR and IS are unneeded.

 

Deployment

I'd use a 55->52mm step-down ring with the Nikon system, or a 55->58mm step-up ring with the Canon system. You want all your lenses to have the same filter size for sanity's sake.

Using an adapter ring has the added benefit of giving us a metal filter thread. Attach the adapter ring, and treat this lens like it's 52mm (Nikon) or 58mm (Canon) forever.

 

More Information

Tokina.

 

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