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Lens review

Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX 35 mm f/2.8

9 May 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The new Tokina is hard to compare to other instruments, as there are not many lenses of its grade. Of course we can refer to the mentioned Pentax. It is also possible to draw a comparison with Olympus 3.5/35 Macro but we have to keep in mind the different angle of view acquired with this lens on 4/3 matrices. It can be confronted with other typical 35-mm lenses, all of which are faster but lack macro characteristics. And so we have done in this table. Clearly, Tokina is the biggest and the heaviest of these instruments, noticeably larger than its twin, Pentax as well as 2/35 lenses.

Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX 35 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

There are two reasons for Tokina’s weight. First of all, the sturdiness of its build. It is something we can’t deny as we get a very solid, metal lens with a metal mount, clear scale of sharpness placed behind the focus window and a big, comfortable, precisely operated manual focus ring. Secondly, its design is influenced by the ability to shoot at life size. The lens is equipped with a group of lenses placed in a narrow tube, which extends as we reach the minimum working distance, pushing the overall dimensions of the lens to 9 centimeters.

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Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX 35 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

There is just one snag… The way we switch from AF to MF, Tokina’s proudly called One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism, which I personally can’t stand. Switching from AF to MF mode is done by moving the whole ring towards the mount of the lens. Because of that, the ring rotates for no apparent reason (no Full Time Manual mechanism) in AF mode. Secondly, we have no chance to make little manual adjustments to what autofocus presents us with. Switching to MF mode cannot be done without a jerk of the ring, which causes a seemingly insignificant, but noticeable change on the scale of sharpness and thwarts all the work done by autofocus. All has to be done manually, all over again, from the very beginning.

When it comes to inner construction, we have to do with 9 elements set in 8 groups. The manufacturer doesn’t mention the use of any special glass. Apart from that, inside the barrel is a circular, nine-bladed diaphragm that can be stopped down to F/22. The moving, front group of lenses is surrounded with a non-rotating filter mount , 52 mm in diameter.

Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX 35 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

The lens comes with two caps and a miniature lens hood MH-522 (a short sleeve one can screw onto the mentioned tube).