Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX (Canon) - Review / Lens Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2008


The AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX was a huge success for Tokina - it is one of the most attractive lenses from a price/performance perspective. Obviously this wasn't enough for Tokina - in 2007 they released a development announcement for a new variant, the Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX. Today (May 2008) we're seeing the first lenses hitting the road although the tested sample came straight from Japan due to the poor availability locally. The lens does still target the APS-C DSLR market only but it offers a little kick at the wide end plus a full extra f-stop in speed. These two improvements didn't come for free - Tokina had to limit the zoom range to a mere 5mm (1.45x). Some of the readers out there were already joking whether this is a fix-focal or zoom lens. However, when thinking about it the decision is actually quite smart. By avoiding a bigger zoom ratio Tokina seemed to have focused on quality rather than quantity and most users have a standard zoom lenses starting at 17mm or 18mm so there isn't really any pain in limiting the range at 16mm. The covered field-of-view is equivalent to 18-26mm (1.6x crop) on full format cameras. The Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX is currently offered for Canon and Nikon APS-C DSLRs only.

The 11-16mm f/2.8 looks and feels virtually identical to its 12-24mm f/4 cousin - consequently it shares all its qualities here like the excellent build quality. The outer shell is made of high-quality polycarbonate whereas the zoom mechanism is made of metal. The lens has a crinkle finish similar to some Nikkors giving it a pleasant look and feel. The physical size of the lens remains constant regardless of zoom or focusing operations although the inner tube moves a little. Typical for all lenses with internal focusing (IF) the front element does not rotate. Typical for all Tokina lenses the 11-16mm f/2.8 uses a standard micro-motor for auto-focusing. The focusing speed is Ok - regarding the ultra-wide character of the lens the motor doesn't get much work anyway. Noise-wise it is noticeable but not obtrusive. Switching between manual and auto-focus isn't done via a small switch as typical for most lenses but via a focus clutch mechanism by moving the focus ring back and forth. This can be done in any focus position.

Equiv. focal length18-26 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.5 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction13 elements in 11 groups inc. 2 aspherical elements and 1 SD element
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.30 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:11.6)
Dimensions84 x 89 mm
Weight560 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodsupplied, petal-shaped
Other featuresfocus-clutch AF/MF switch