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Tokina AT-X M100 AF Pro D 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review (for Nikon)
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro D Macro Lens  


 

February, 2012
(tested with Nikon D7000)

The Tokina AT-X M100 AF Pro D lens was announced in September 2005 and released late that year. The lens is made for Nikon and Canon mounts. It's a full frame lens which can also be used on APS-C (DX, cropped) sensor cameras. This is a true macro lens, producing life sized 1:1 reproduction at 11.8 inches (30 cm). There's no built in motor in this lens so it won't autofocus on Nikon's lower end cameras, specifically the D40, D60, D3000, D5000, D3100, and D5100.

The Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens is built solid. It's a Tokina pro grade lens, Advanced Technology - Extra Professional (AT-X Pro). The outside of the lens is made of polycarbonate plastic. The focus ring is rubber coated and turns smoothly. The lens has a clutch mechanism to switch between auto and manual focus, achieved by pulling the focus ring back and forth. For macro focusing the internal barrel extends forward. The end doesn't rotate, so using filters isn't a problem. The lens has a distance scale and a metal mount. There's also a focus limiter which enables the lens to auto focus faster when not photographing macro subjects. Since this is a screw drive (non AF-S) lens, auto focus is on the slow side.

I found the sharpness of this lens to be excellent in the center, corners, and borders, even wide open. The lens remains sharp until f/11 when diffraction starts to occur. This is basically what you would expect from a well built macro lens. Chromatic aberration is visible, a bit more than I would like, but it's still easily correctable. Distortion is not a factor with this lens as there is almost none to speak of. Vignetting is barely noticable on a DX sensor. I'd image it's a little more visible with a full frame sensor, but I'm sure nothing to worry about. Flare is not an issue because the lens is recessed deep within the barrel. You really don't need to use a lens hood.

I was able to find a cheap copy of this lens so I decided to compare it with my current macro lens, the Sigma 150mm f/2.8. I love the Sigma, but it's big and heavy. The Tokina has the size and weight advantage. After testing the Tokina I ended up sticking with the Sigma for two reason. The first is that the Sigma has a greater working distance, which means I don't have to get as close to insects and other critters to photograph them, lessening the chance that they may become spooked. Second, the Sigma doesn't zoom externally when focusing on macro subject. I really like that the barrel length stays the same.

Overall the Tokina AT-X M100 AF Pro D (100mm f/2.8 macro) is an outstanding lens. For macro use manual focus is a breeze thanks to the clutch mechanism. It also functions as a great short tele prime with an effective field of view of 150mm on a DX sensor. Auto focus is a bit on the slow side so it might not be the best choice for sport or action photography. The Tokina 100mm also makes a nice long portrait lens. Because of the f/2.8 maximum aperture you can get good subject isolation, and the bokeh is also very good. As of this writing the lens is still available new. You can help support this site by purchasing it from one of the links below. Used copies currently range from $350-400.

 



Specifications:

Focal length 100mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens Construction 9 elements in 8 groups
Closest focusing distance 0.3m (1 ft)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:1
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Auto focus type AF (screw drive)
Filter diameter 55 mm
Macro Yes
Dimensions 73.66 mm x 95 mm (2.9 in x 3.7 in)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 540g (1.2 lbs)




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