Lens review

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 17-35 mm f/4 (IF)

16 September 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • solid casing,
  • very good resolution in the frame centre,
  • good image resolution on the edge of the APS-C/DX,
  • negligible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • well-corrected spherical aberration,
  • sensible correction of distortion,
  • moderate vignetting for this class of equipment,
  • price reflecting well the possibilities of the lens.


  • significant level of lateral chromatic aberration at shorter focal lengths,
  • distinct coma,
  • weak image quality on the edge of the frame near the maximum relative aperture,
  • disastrous work against bright light,
  • noisy and not very accurate autofocus.

If a brand name producer features a well-done lens in their line-up, sold for an affordable price, an independent producer’s task is difficult. Not only they should offer their product with at least a bit lower price tag but also it must be optically outstanding - only meeting these two requirements can guarantee that customers will choose it instead. Taking it into account it seems the Tokina has a cat in hell’s chance to win the duel with the Canon EF 17–40 mm f/4.0L USM. The Canon is an elderly construction and hardly something optically excellent; still it’s been tested by many photographers like few other lenses, it is a solid device, weather sealed, and it offers a bit wider focal range for just slightly higher price than the price of the Tokina. The silent USM motor is an additional asset. Honestly I can’t imagine a lot of Canon fans who would prefer the Tokina 17-35 mm to the Canon 17-40 mm.

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When it comes to the competition with Nikon products the situation of the Tokina is even more difficult. Nikon offers a really rich choice of ultra wide angle lenses for full frame, starting from the excellent but expensive Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8, through the stabilized 16–35 mm f/4.0 VR model and finishing with the 18–35 mm f/3.5–4.5, launched not so long ago. You also shouldn’t forget about the older models like e.g. the AF-S 17–35 mm f/2.8 or the previous version of the 18-35 mm model which still can be bought in some shops or second hand. Facing such a competition the chances of the Tokina 17-35 mm, being just several hundred PLN cheaper than the new AF-S 18-35 mm, are slim.