Tokina AF 28-70mm f/2.8-2.6 AT-X Pro II - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2006

Special thanks to Christian Mikolaschek for providing this lens and the EOS 350D!


The Tokina AF 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 AT-X Pro II is the predecessor of the recently tested AF 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SV. The history of these large aperture Tokinas is actually quite interesting - please refer to the AF 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro SV review for some insights here. Due the cost cutting measurements implemented into the current SV lens there were some speculations in the community whether this resulted in a deterioration of quality so let's have a look at this old generation lens.

As usual we´ll have a look at the performance figures combined with an APS-C DSLR where its field-of-view is equivalent to 45-112mm. For most users this isn´t really overly attractive anymore - it is certainly not the standard zoom that it used to be on full format SLRs.

The optical design is made of 16 elements in 12 groups incl. a HLD (High Refractive Low Dispersion) element. The lens features 8 aperture blades. Similar to other large aperture standard zooms it isn´t exactly light-weight at 760g but still fairly compact at 110x79mm. The filter size is 77mm. The minimal focus distance is 0.7m resulting in a max. object magnification of ~1:9 at 70mm. The lens comes with a dedicated petal-type lens hood as well as a soft case.

Typical for most Tokina AT-X lenses the build quality is exceptionally high due to an duraluminum-alloy frame. The broad and rubberized zoom and focus rings operate very smooth and very well damped. Unlike other f/2.8 standard zooms the lens does not change its physical length when zooming. Nonetheless there´s a moving inner lens tube (see the product shot above) but it never protrudes beyond the filter thread.
The lens features a so called focus-clutch mechanism which allows you to change between AF and MF operation by pushing/pulling the focus ring. Unfortunately it is a quite imperfect implementation because in conjunction you also have to use a 2nd conventional AF/MF switch. In order to switch back to MF, the focus ring has to be turned back into the exact position where it was disengaged (the AF 28-80mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro doesn´t suffer from all these limitations). The AF speed of the lens is quite fast with the focus clutch switch set to AF mode but very slow otherwise. The noise during AF operation is relatively low but well noticeable (standard AF micro motor).