Lens review

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF)

10 May 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart shows a comparison between the parameters of the tested lens and those of its full frame competitors. You can notice at once the Tokina is really big and physically heavy – only the Tamron is bigger and heavier but it comes with a wider range of focal lengths and optical stabilization. It’s also worth noticing that it is impossible to use standard filters with both the Tokina and the Tamron; however their rivals produced by Canon and Nikon cooperate with 77-82 mm filters without problems.

In the photo below the Tokina 16–28 mm is positioned next to the full frame Tokina 24–70 mm f/2.8 and the Tokina 14-20 mm f/2.0 model, designed for smaller sensors.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality

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The Tokina 16–28 mm f/2.8 starts with a metal mount; it surrounds contacts and a rear element of the lens, 24 mm in diameter. The element is mobile, being on the same level as the mount at 16 mm. When you pass to 28 mm it hides inside the tube almost 2 cm deep. The area surrounding it is very nicely blackened and matted; what’s more important, you can’t notice any slits or gaps so dirt and dust won’t invade the interior of the construction so easily.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality

A fixed ring, featuring a red dot so you don’t have any problems with attaching the lens to a camera, is the first part of the proper tube. Then you see a zoom ring, as wide as 27 mm, covered by ribs which are pleasing to the touch, with focal length markings at 16, 20, 24 and 28 mm. The ring’s movements are even and it is well-damped.

Further on you see a plate with the name and parameters of the lens which surrounds a window with a distance scale expressed in meters and feet. On the other side you find the serial number of the instrument and information that it was produced in Japan.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality

A manual focus ring, ribbed and comfortable to work with, is the next part. In the MF mode it works properly well and is well-damped. Running through the whole distance range takes a turn through an angle of about 90 degrees. It is a typical value for this kind of equipment.

While passing from the AF to the MF mode you have to shift the whole ring toward the mount of the lens. The solution, called by Tokina One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism, is not a favourite of ours. Firstly it makes the ring turn unproductively and with a quite pronounced play in the AF mode (as there are no FTM full time manual mechanism there); secondly you can’t readjust your autofocus settings. The switch to the MF mode always entails a jerk which makes a slight change on the distance scale and negates all your previous settings. You have to redo manually your focusing practically from scratch…Still it should be noticed that the specimen we had the opportunity to test had a ring which shifted in a quite smooth way, without getting jammed or blocked.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality

Further on you see an immobile part of the lens adorned by a golden stripe which turns smoothly into a built-in petal-type hood.

The front element is very convex, with a diameter of over 7 cm. It moves, being extended the most at 16 mm, and its shape makes it impossible to use traditional filters.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality

The optical construction of the lens consists of 15 elements positioned in 13 groups. In the front group there is one aspherical element with a diameter as big as 56 mm and two aspherical elements in the rear. Additionally you deal here with three low –dispersion SD elements and a round aperture with nine diaphragm blades. The aperture can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum.

Buyers get only two caps in the box but the hood is built-in, after all.

Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 16-28 mm f/2.8 (IF) - Build quality