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Tokina AT-X 17-35mm F4 Pro FX Lens Review (for Nikon)
Tokina 17-35mm f/4 Full Frame Wide Angle Lens  


July, 2013
(tested with Nikon D600)

The Tokina AT-X 17-35mm F4 Pro FX lens was announced in June 2011 and released in October that year. The lens is made for Nikon and Canon mounts. It's designed for full frame DSLRs but can be used with APS-C (cropped) sensor cameras. On a Nikon DX camera the equivalent field of view is 25.5-52.5mm. The lens has a built in motor so it will autofocus with all Nikon DSLR cameras.

The build quality of the Tokina 17-35mm f/4 is very good. 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, although the focus ring on my copy seemed a little loose. 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. It's designated as an SD lens, having two Super-low Dispersion elements which are meant to control chromatic aberration. Autofocus is fast enough for a wide angle lens as you won't be using it for action shots.

Wide open the lens is sharp in the center at 17mm and stays consistent throughout the zoom range, but drops off a little at 35mm. The corners and borders are on the soft side, just ok. But stopping down the lens improves the corners and borders to the point where they are very good. The sweet spot is around 22mm at f/5.6. Stopping down further the sharpness drops slightly. At around f/11 diffraction begins. Chromatic aberration is a little more visible than I would like but can be easily correctable in camera (if available) or with post processing. There is some barrel distortion at 17mm but it's less than expected for a wide angle zoom. By 28mm the image is flat. At 35mm there is very little pin cushion distortion. Vignetting is very visible at 17mm and f/2.8. Stopping down reduces it, but it's still faintly present even at f/11. At the other focal lengths it's not a problem. Flare isn't a problem unless you point the lens directly into the sun.

When I made the switch to full frame (FX) I needed a new wide angle lens. I narrowed my choices down to the Tokina 17-35mm f/4 and the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR. To be honest I would rather have the Nikon instead of the Tokina, simply because of the VR. But since I typically don't use a wide angle lens that often I couldn't justify the additional $650 cost of the Nikon. I am more than happy with my decison. After I bought the Tokina Nikon announced the AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED wide angle lens. I would still probably choose the Tokina over the new Nikon. From some of the reviews I've seen it has more barrel distortion and costs about $150 more.




Focal length 17-35mm
Maximum aperture f/4
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens Construction 13 elements in 12 groups
Angle of view 103.96o - 64.74o
Closest focusing distance 0.9 ft (0.279 m)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:4.82
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Auto focus type AF (internal motor)
Filter diameter 82mm
Macro No
Dimensions 3.5 in x 3.7 in (88.90mm x 93.98mm)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 1.3 lbs (600g)

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