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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Lens Review (for Nikon)
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens  


July, 2011 (Updated 12/22/11)
(tested with Nikon D7000)

The Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX lens was first announced in 2007 and released in early 2008. The lens was originally made for Nikon and Canon mounts. A Sony mount was later added in 2010. It's announcement created a little stir since Tokina already had a wide angle lens, the 12-24mm f/4. It's designed specifically for DSLRs with APS-C (cropped) sensors. 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 11-16mm is very similar to the 12-24mm in build quality. 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 zooming mechanism is metal. The zoom and focus rings are rubber coated and turn smoothly. The lens has a clutch mechanism to switch between auto and manual focus, achieved by pulling the focus ring back and forth. The zooming is internal so the lens does not extend forward and the end doesn't rotate, so using filters isn't a problem. The lens has a distance scale and a metal mount.

Wide open the lens is sharp at 11mm, even sharper at 13-14mm, and drops off just a little at 16mm. The corners and borders are a tiny bit soft, but still very good. Stopping down the lens makes it sharper corner to corner. The sweet spot is 13-14mm at f/5.6. Stopping down further and sharpness drops slightly. Chromatic aberration is visible with extreme contrast situations, but easily correctable. There is some barrel distortion at the short end of the zoom, but not enough to cause concern. It's also easily correctable. By 16mm distortion is almost non existent. Vignetting is slightly present only at 11mm and f/2.8. Other than that it's not visible. Flare was only an issue when the lens was pointed directly into the sunlight. And even then it wasn't much of a problem. As long as the lens hood is used it shouldn't be a concern.

After reading some glowing comments about this lens on online forums and reviews I decided to pick one up and see if it lived up to all the hype. Having already tried the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lens (see review here), and quite happy with my current wide angle lens, the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 (see review here), I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the AT-X 116 Pro DX. And I wasn't. But the results did convince me enough to drop the Sigma and keep the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 as my wide angle lens. I found it to be slightly sharper than the Sigma, and just a hair sharper than the Tokina 12-24mm. I preferred the wider zoom range of the Sigma. But the main reason I chose the Tokina was the constant f/2.8 aperture. I consider myself a "dark" photographer. I like to photograph low light scenes and shoot into shadows. The large constant aperture of the Tokina fits my style of photography.

I've read some comments that the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 has too short a zoom range. This may be the case for some people, but no matter what wide angle lens I use I usually shoot at the shorter end of the zoom, so the limited range isn't too much of a concern for me. Besides, unless I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, all I need to do is take two steps forward and I'm just about where I would be at 20mm if I were using the Sigma. On the other hand though, if I were using the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 I might have reconsidered the 11-16mm lens. I would have to weigh the benefits of the extra f-stop of the 11-16mm over the extra 8mm on the long end of the zoom of the 12-24mm, which could be useful at times. Update: after comparing the 12-24mm with the 11-16mm I decided I would rather have the extra reach over the extra stop. Where does that leave the Sigma 10-20mm? Not in my bag. All three are fine lenses though. Each have their strengths. You really can't go wrong with any of them.



Focal length 11-16mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens Construction 13 elements in 11 groups
Angle of view 104o - 82o
Closest focusing distance 0.3m
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:11.6
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Auto focus type AF (screw drive)
Filter diameter 77 mm
Macro No
Dimensions 84 mm x 89.2 mm(Diameter x Length)
Weight 560g

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