Tokina 300mm f/2.8
Full-Frame AF AT-X
Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X (Full-frame, 35mm and APS-C coverage, 112mm filters, 77.2 oz/2,190g, 8'/2.4 m close focus, about $550 used). bigger. I got mine at this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).
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Wow, even stopped down to f/4 it's super sharp, and the backgrounds melt away to give a three-dimensional image.
Only the front line of the roof is in focus, and as you can see, it's super sharp from edge to edge even wide-open at f/2.8.
The Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AT-X is an ultraspeed ultratelephoto lens from the 1990s.
Today it's inexpensive and easy to find, built like a tank, and has great optics. It's an inexpensive alternative to Nikon's or Canon's 300mm f/2.8 lenses. It gives far better bokeh and much softer backgrounds for professional portraiture at a fraction of the price of any new 70-200/2.8.
For Sony E, I'd suggest finding one in Minolta MAXXUM (Sony A) mount and using the Sony LA-EA4 adapter which ought to give fast autofocus and full automation. Since Minolta mounts are hard to find (this was an exotic, expensive pro lens in its day, and pros never shot Minolta), you'll have an easier time finding one in Canon mount and then using a Canon EOS EF to Sony E mount adapter. Good luck.
I have the AT-X AF version.
There is an earlier manual-focus only version, which presumably has the same optics.
There is a newer AT-X AF II version.
The newest version is the AT-X PRO version, which I believe also has the same optics, but adds a push-pull clutch to the focus ring to speed-up auto/focus switching. This version speeds that up, but once in manual, I suspect the feel is better in the earlier versions.
● Very sharp.
● Reasonably close focussing: 7.9'/2.4m.
● Fast manual focus; flicks with a fingertip.
● Solid all-metal construction.
● Simple, sturdy technology suggests long service life — there's nothing to break!
● As with all third-party lenses, there's always the potential for incompatibility with some models of camera or lens adapters.
● No instant manual focus override; have to move a switch.
This is a full frame lens, and I'm reviewing it as such.
It works great on APS-C, too, on which you may make the usual inferences.
This is a traditional screw-focus AF lens, with electronic contacts as well as a traditional AI-s aperture ring for use on old 35mm Nikons.
I tried it, and it works great on my Nikon D810, Nikon D3, F100, FA (uses the low-speed program optimized for landscapes)), F4, N5005, N55 (gives the high-speed program optimum for sports), N75 (gives the high-speed program optimum for sports), D70 (gives the high-speed program optimum for sports), D300, D200, N2020, N70 (gives the high-speed program optimum for sports) and Pronea S (gives the high-speed program optimum for sports).
This screw-focus lens will not autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500 or D5600, but if you focus manually, everything else works great. These cameras have in-finder focus confirmation dots to help you.
It works with the Nikon TC14 teleconverter to make it a manual-focus 420mm f/4.
See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AF, AF-D (screw)" column for this lens.
Be forewarned that at a third-party lens that there is always the potential for incompatibility.
I haven't tried it, but Canon's EF lenses work on all their EOS cameras, so I'd hope that the Canon version ought to work on all Canon EF EOS cameras.
Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
Tokina calls this the Tokina AT-X SD 300mm f/2.8 AF.
AT-X: Tokina's name for it's best lenses.
SD: Magic extra-low dispersion (ED) glass for reduced secondary chromatic aberration.
9 elements in 7 groups.
No aspherical elements.
2 extra-low dispersion SD elements.
Rear, Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
7 straight blades, at least on the Nikon version. Other versions may have different diaphragms.
Stops down to f/32.
When used on an APS-C camera, it sees the same angle of view as a 450 mm lens sees when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera.
See also Crop Factor.
Angle of View
8.2º diagonal on full frame.
Internal focus.On Nikon, traditional screw-type autofocus. Needs a motor in your camera body to drive it.
7.9 feet (2.4 meters).
Metal 112 mm filter thread.
Hood, Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
Solid alloy hood with rubber bumper included.
Front lens cover, Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
The front cap is actually a full-body vinyl sock with a reinforced flat front.
Included case, Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
It comes with a hard tubular case lined in fine red velvet.
4.656" maximum diameter (5.329" including the hood & bumper) × 8.386" extension from flange (8.740" extension with included filter, 10.748" with included hood extended).
118.2 mm maximum diameter (135.36mm for the hood bumper) × 213 mm extension from flange (222mm extension with included filter, 273mm with included hood extended).
Exposed front glass diameter: 101.67 mm (for comparison, the Nikon manual-focus 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF AI-s has 106.42mm worth of glass at the front)
The included filter is 9.00mm thick.
Weights (actual measured)
77¼ oz. (4 lb. 13¼ oz. or 2,190 g), lens only.
88 oz (5 lbs. 8 oz. or 2,490g), lens and hood.
91 oz. (5 lbs. 11 oz. or 2,580g), lens, hood and filter.
Tokina's included 112mm filter: 3.360 oz. (95.35g).
Hood only: 10.725 oz. (304.0g).
For comparison, the Nikon manual-focus 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF AI-s weighs 86 oz. (5 lbs. 6 oz or 2,440g).
Lens, 112mm filter, drawstring sock cap, rear cap and tubular case.
$750 used, 2008.
The Tokina 300/2.8 is a big, fat all-metal lens that performs amazingly well for its bargain price today.
Autofocus is fast enough on Nikon, with one full turn of the AF screw pulling it from infinity down to 65 feet.
Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.
The image from this Tokina gets larger as focussed more closely.
Bokeh, the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is superb; better than any 70-200/2.8.
Backgrounds just melt away into soft washes of color, and this is from about 10 feet (3m) away:
Also look and see how sharp it is, where it is in perfect focus.
The Tokina 300/2.8 has minor pincushion distortion. If you care; it's easy to correct fully with Photoshop's lens distortion filter using these correction factors.
© 2017 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
This 300/2.8 feels good. It's all metal; you don't feel like you got scammed buying some plastic garbage.
Manual focus is great, flicking with a single finger tip, but you do have to move a switch to get from auto to manual; there is no instant override.
The permanently-attached tripod collar rotates smoothly, has click stops at 90º intervals and has a smoothly-operating lock knob.
There is a grip ring towards the front.
Most of its weight are the huge front elements, so we hold a camera in our right hand and cradle the front of the lens in our left hand. When we do this, all the weight is at the front and the back, which makes for a very stable arrangement which, through a high rotational moment of inertia, naturally stabilizes our images.
Falloff on full frame is moderate at f/2.8, minor at f/4, and gone by f/5.6.
I've greatly exaggerated the falloff by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background:
Miraculously as shot on my Nikon, which by default is probably correcting for them, there are only the faintest blue/yellow fringes at the corners, as seen at 36MP full frame.
Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 01 June 2017. Nikon D810, f/2.8 at 1/2,000 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or full-resolution © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).
It doesn't get that close, but it is very, very sharp:
If this is 12" wide on your screen, the complete image printed at this same magnification would be 75 × 50" (6 × 4 feet, or 2 × 1.25 meters)!
I'm impressed; it is very sharp wide-open at its closest focus distance.
Rear, Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X. bigger.
This is a tough lens built to last. It's all metal!
Yes; rubber bumper on hood but not on lens.
Recessed area around front of metal lens barrel; covered with a line of tape to prevent the hood attachment screw from scratching the lens barrel.
Focus distance window
The collar doesn't come off.
90º click stops with a lock knob.
Simply painted on the middle of the barrel near the focus window.
Seem like all metal!
Moisture Seal at Mount
Dull chromed metal.
Engraved and filled with paint on the rear bottom of the barrel near the aperture ring, on Nikon.
Noises When Shaken
Once you remember to snug-down the filter and tripod collar lock, only the slightest clicking from the diaphragm mechanism.
To my pleasant surprise, this super speed Tokina is sharp all over on my 36 MP Nikon D810. Bravo!
Be careful, it has spherochromatism, which will lead to color fringes on things that are not in perfect focus.
Obviously a 300mm f/2.8 has such shallow depth of field that almost nothing is in perfect focus at f/2.8, but what is in focus is super sharp.
It has no VR or IS, but since the weight is concentrated at the front of the lens, this works with the weight of your camera body at the rear to have a lot of polar inertia which tends to stabilize the whole camera and lens system, giving much sharper images than you'd expect.
This is a huge advantage of this lens over lightweight plastic 300mm zooms; it's self-stabilizing.
Hold it around the front, not in the middle, and it works very well.
The traditional 7-bladed diaphragm ought to create great 14-pointed sunstars, at least on the Nikon version. Other versions may have different diaphragms.
Spherochromatism, also called "color bokeh" by laymen, can cause colored fringes on slightly out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds.
It is an advanced form of chromatic aberration in a different dimension than lateral color. Spherochromatism is most commonly seen in fast lenses of moderate focal length when shooting contrasty items at full aperture. It goes away as stopped down.
As expected for a long, fast lens, this 300/2.8 has moderately strong spherochromatism. You will probably see colored fringes on contrasty objects that are just a little bit out of focus.
This is a very practical way to get serious pro portrait firepower at a fire-sale price.
Everyone needs a 300/2.8. Even if you don't plan to use it, show up with it on your camera and you instantly look like the top pro you are. When you arrive at an event, you may be able to sweet talk your way to the VIP area for free.
There's no cheaper way to get awesome bokeh and completely lost backgrounds.
For nature and landscape, this is a lot of glass for very little money. It's fast and sharp.
The only gotcha could be that you never know if it will be fully compatible with your particular model of camera until you try it, if I didn't already try it above.
If you get one without the included Tokina 112mm protective filter, I'd use a 112mm B+W MRC 010 UV filter to protect this lens. I don't know that I'd pay extra for multicoating; the lens isn't that well coated in the first place and 112mm filters get very expensive very quickly.
This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. xx does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.
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01 June 2017, 01 December 2016, March 2008