Tokina AF 17mm f/3.5 AT-X Pro - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published October 2005

Special thanks to Andreas Thaler for providing the lens for testing purposes!


The Tokina AF 17mm f/3.5 AT-X Pro is one of the few fix-focal lenses below 20mm. Obviously intended as an ultra-wide solution for full-frame cameras its field-of-view on APS-C DSLRs is cropped to an equivalent of ~28mm which is a little more interesting compared to the usual (native) 20mm counterparts (~32mm equivalent). As usual the EOS 350D/Digital RebelXT was used for testing but besides its EOS mount incarnation the lens is also available for Nikon and Minolta. Seems as if the lens is on the verge of discontinuation - it isn't listed anymore by some local distributors. However, the lens is still present on the global Tokina site.

The optical construction is made of 11 elements in 9 groups with one molded aspherical and one HLD (High refraction Low Dispersion) element. It also features a floating system for improved close-focus performance. The lens has minimum focus distance of 0.25m. The aperture mechanism has 8 aperture blades. The filter size is 77mm. Due to its all-metal construction and the large lens elements it is comparatively heavy with a weight of 440g. Nonetheless the lens remains quite compact at only 88x65mm. A petal-type hood as well as a soft-bag is also part of the package.

Typical for Tokina AT-X Pro lenses the build quality is stellar and every bit as good as professional grade lenses made by the genuine manufacturers. The outer barrel is made of metal featuring a crinkle-style finish similar to pro grade Nikkors. The rubberized focus ring has a very smooth action. Another Tokina specialty is the Focus Clutch mechanism which allows you to change between manual and auto-focusing by moving the focus ring back and forth. Unlike some of the newer Tokina designs you've to set the ring to infinity to do this so it's a little cumbersome here. The sample lens had a defect here (reported by the owner) but this is surely just an isolated problem. In AF mode the focus ring does not rotate. The AF motor is quite slow combined with a medium noise level. Thanks to its true IF design the filter ring does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem (also possible with attached hood).