Tokina AF 100-300mm f/4 AT-X II - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2005

Special thanks to Tina Jensen for providing this lens!


The Tokina AF 100-300mm f/4 AT-X II is one of the few relatively large aperture xxx-300mm zooms in the market. This lens class never really became as popular as 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 variants. Maybe it is simply because these lenses are neither fish nor meat here being too slow for portraits and not long enough for wildlife photography (on full frame cameras). The Tokina 100-300mm seems to be discontinued in most markets except Japan (where Tokina still lists it on their local website). It is a full frame lens but as usual we┬┤ll have a look how it performs on an APS-C DSLR. Here its field-of-view is equivalent to 160-480mm on full frame cameras.

The rather old optical design is made of 15 elements in 11 groups including one SD element in the middle group. The lens features 9 aperture blades. Due to the relatively large aperture and the corresponding need for big glass the Tokina is an impressive piece of equipment with a size of 230x83mm and a weight of 1540g. The minimal focus distance is 2m resulting in a max. object magnification of 1:5.6. The lens comes with a dedicated screw-in type lens hood as well as a hard case.

Upon first contact you immediately appreciate the exceptionally high build quality of this lens which is typical for many Tokina AT-X lenses. It puts many other manufacturers to shame here. The outer barrel is made of sturdy metal with a crinkle finish. The broad and rubberized zoom and focus rings operate very smooth - the zoom ring is also nicely damped, less so the focus ring. The size of the lens remains constant regardless of the chosen focal length and the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem. In AF mode the focus ring is coupled to the AF gears so it rotates accordingly - due to the length of the lens this is normally not annoying though. The Tokina features an IF (internal focusing) system but the AF speed is rather slow. It feels as if the motor is a little under-dimensioned for the heavy focusing group. Typical for classic micro-motor drives the AF is a little on the noisy side.