LensTip.com

Lens review

Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6

3 February 2010
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • solidly looking barrel,
  • good image quality in the frame centre on slight stopping down,
  • distortion less bothersome than in the case of most of competitors,
  • slight chromatic aberration in the middle of the focal lengths range,
  • good work of focusing mechanism.

Cons:

  • significant zoom ring backlash,
  • very weak image quality at the maximum relative aperture,
  • 135 mm focal length not quite useful,
  • significant chromatic aberration at both focal range ends,
  • high vignetting at the wide angle,
  • noticeable astigmatism,
  • minimum focus amounts to as many as 0.5 meter,
  • bad price/possibilities ratio.

We rarely see a situation when we can present a rather unambiguous summary. Here I have no doubts what I should write, though. If the Tokina 16.5-135 mm was launched right after the initial announcements, so in the first half of 2006, it would stand a chance of interesting many customers. The Canon enthusiasts, apart from a cheap, plastic and optically weak EF-S 17-85 mm, had only a relatively expensive EF-S 17–85 mm at their disposal. It was equipped with stabilization and an USM but it compared badly with the Tokina when it came to the focal lengths’ range. Nikon had a plastic 18-55 mm “kit” lens and a more solid and optically better 18-70 mm. Once again both these devices had significantly narrower focal lengths’ range than the Tokina. Sony was just a novice and Pentax disposed of just a solid 18-55 mm kit lens and an optically and mechanically good 16-45 mm device.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tokina had a delay of four years and in that time the situation on the market changed radically. Currently Canon offers such models as an EF-S 15–85 mm and an EF-S 18–135 mm – both stabilized, the first optically excellent and, additionally, a bit cheaper than the Tokina now. Nikon launched the Nikkors 16–85 mm VR, 18–135 mm and 18–105 mm VR. Sony has a brilliant Zeiss 16-80 mm and a significantly cheaper and optically decent 16-105 mm model. Pentaxt presented a 17-70 mm model. Also third-party competitors of Tokina, such as Sigma and Tamron, didn’t let slip the chance of improving their offers during that time.

The Tokina 16.5–135 mm, with such a weak performance at the maximum aperture and such chromatic aberration results at the wide angle, has rather slim chances of getting a good position on the market now. Its focal lengths’ range, undoubtedly interesting, is its only asset and it might prove to be definitely not enough.


Sample shots

Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 6.13 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.02 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 60 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.43 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 38 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.22 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.22 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.38 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 45 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.66 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.61 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/9.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 3.91 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.91 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 65 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.32 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.12 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 24 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.05 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 120 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 3.91 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 70 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.12 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/125 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.37 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 135 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.3 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.89 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.66 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 65 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.4 MB
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Tokina AT-X DX AF 16.5-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 33 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.63 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 16.5 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.7 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 26 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.68 MB



Next chapter