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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II
1.6x and DX; AT-X Pro (2012-)
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Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF

Tokina 11-16mm /2.8 DX II (77mm filters, 19.2 oz./544g, 1'/0.3m close focus, about $525. Comes in this Nikon version, as well as a Canon version and other versions) 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.

April 2014      More Tokina Reviews   All reviews

Nikon Reviews    Nikon Lenses    Canon Reviews    Canon Lenses

How to Use Ultrawide Lenses

Nikon 10-24mm DX

Nikon 12-24mm DX

Canon EF-s 10-22mm

Tokina 11-16mm (first version)

 

Sample Image File

Palm, 4PM 20 Sep 2012

Palm. Nikon D7000, ISO 100, f/10 at 1/60. Camera-original © file.

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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This Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II is a bargain of a fast ultrawide zoom. It comes in versions for Nikon and for Canon and others.

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.

As a DX or 1.6x lens it only is supposed to work on smaller-format DSLRs, but to tell you a secret, it works OK at 16mm on full frame, too.

 

Compatibility       intro      top

This Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II comes in versions for Nikon and for Canon and for others.

I'm addressing the Nikon mount version here; you may make the usual extrapolations for Canon.

This lens only covers DX or 1.6x. Used on full-frame, you'll get black corners most of the time.

It should work just fine on every DX Nikon and every 1.6x 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

Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF. enlarge.

 

Specifications        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

 

Name       specs       top

Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF

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.

 

Optics       specs       top

13 elements in 11 groups.

2 SD glass elements (same as Nikon's ED and Canon's UD).

Internal focusing.

Front and rear groups move as zoomed.

Multicoated.

 

Diaphragm       specs       top

Diaphragm, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II at f/5.6

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II at f/22.

9 straight blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Coverage        top

DX and 1.6x only.

 

Focal Length        top

11-16mm.

When used on a DX camera, it gives angles of view similar to what a 17-24mm lens gives when used on an FX or 35mm camera.

When used on a 1.6x camera, it gives angles of view similar to what an 18-25mm lens gives when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera.

 

Angle of View        top

104º ~ 82.º

 

Close Focus       specs       top

1 foot (0.3 meters).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio       specs       top

1:11.6 (0.086x).

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?       specs       top

No.

 

Focus Scale       specs       top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale       specs       top

No.

 

Infra-Red Focus Indices       specs       top

No.

 

Aperture Ring       specs       top

No.

 

Filter Thread       specs       top

77mm, plastic.

Never moves.

 

Size       specs       top

3.3" (84mm) diameter by 3.5" (89mm) long, Nikon or Canon mount.

 

Weight       specs       top

19.185 oz. (543.85g) measured.

Tokina specifies 19.4 oz. (550g).

 

Hood       specs       top

Tokina BH-77B Hood

BH-77B hood.

BH-77B plastic bayonet hood, included.

 

Quality       specs       top

Made in Japan.

 

Price, USA       specs       top

Tokina 11-16mm /2.8 II box

Box, Tokina 11-16mm /2.8 II.

$525, April 2014 (either Nikon or Canon versions).

$740, September 2012 (either Nikon or Canon versions).

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

Overall   Auto and Manual Focus    Distortion  

Ergonomics   Eyeblow   Falloff    Filters   Flare and Ghosts

Focus Breathing   Full Frame, use on   Color Fringes     Macro   Mechanics    

Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars   Survivability

 

Overall      performance      top

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.

 

Auto and Manual Focus      performance      top

AF Speed

Autofocus is slower than usual for ultrawides, which are usually instantaneous, but still fast enough.

 

AF Accuracy

AF is close enough on on my D7000 and D800E.

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

Manual focus is beautiful! It's smooth and perfectly damped, and the big metal-ring feels great.

 

Distortion      performance      top

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.

 
DX at 10' (3m)
FX at 10' (3m)
11mm
+3.5
vignettes
13.5mm
+1.5
vignettes
16mm
+0.5
+4.0

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Ergonomics      performance      top

Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF

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.

 

Eyeblow       performance     top

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 (darkened corners)      performance      top

Falloff on DX is invisible.

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

 

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II falloff on DX, no correction.

 
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
11mm
16mm

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with      performance      top

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.

 

Flare and Ghosts      performance      top

Tokina 11-16mm II ghost

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.

 

Focus Breathing      performance      top

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.

 

Full-Frame, use on      performance      top

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.

 

Lateral Color Fringes      performance      top

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.

 

Macro      performance      top

Tokina 11-16mm macro performance

As shot on DX at 16mm at one foot (0.3 meters) on a Nikon D7000 at 16 MP, f/7.1.

 

Cropped macro performance

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.

 

Mechanics      performance      top

Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF

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.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Plastic.

 

Fore Barrel

Plastic.

 

Focus Ring

Metal; rubber covered.

Distance markings seen behind a clear plastic window.

 

Mid-barrel Exterior

Plastic.

 

Zoom Ring

Plastic; rubber covered.

 

Aft Barrel Exterior

Plastic.

 

Internals

Seem like mostly metal.

 

Aperture Ring

none.

 

Mount

Metal. Mounts almost as well as Nikon's mounts, bit sometimes feels a little grittier.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Identity

Debossed gold-look plastic plate on midbarrel.

 

Serial Number

Sticker glued into a recess on the bottom of the barrel.

 

Rain seal at mount

Yes.

 

Noises When Shaken

Plenty of clicking; sounds like a lot of metal inside.

 

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 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.

 

Spherochromatism       performance     top

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.

 

Sunstars      performance      top

Sunstar, Tokina 11-16mm II

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.

 

Survivability       performance     top

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.

 

Compared             top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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.

 
Filter
77mm
77mm
77mm
77mm
77mm
Filter Ring
Plastic
Plastic
Plastic
Plastic
Plastic
Diaphragm blades
9 straight
9 straight
7 curved
7 straight
 
Close focus
1'/0.3m
1'/0.3m
1'/0.3m
0.8'/0.24m
0.8'/0.24m
Manual focus switch
push/pull ring
push/pull ring
just turn ring
just turn ring
just turn ring
Weight
19.2 oz.
544 g.
19.3 oz.
548 g.
16.2 oz.
461 g.
16.3 oz.
463 g.
13.6 oz.
385 g.
Price, 9/2012

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.

 

Usage       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

 

How to Use Ultrawide Lenses

 

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.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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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September 2012