Lens review

Tokina AT-X 165 PRO DX AF 16-50 mm f/2.8

Tokina AT-X 165 PRO DX AF 16-50 mm f/2.8
9 June 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2007-06-20 on Optyczne.pl

The launch of the Tokina AT-X 165 16-50 mm f/2.8 PRO DX lens was perhaps one of the most awaited events on the optical market recently. At the beginning of 2006 there were rumours that Tokina planned to launch four new lenses with the following parameters: 10-17 mm f/3.5-4.5 Fisheye, 16-50 mm f/2.8, 17-135 mm f/3.5-5.6, and 50-135 mm f/2.8. During the PMA 2006 fairs that news was corroborated officially and the date of the launch was set near the Photokina fairs in October.

At Photokina, though, just two models were presented – the 10-17 mm f/3.5-4.5 Fisheye and the 50-135 mm f/2.8. The issue grew silent and the launch of the 16-50 mm f/2.8 instrument was postponed by…a Tamron. It happened that the Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8, launched in 2006, was so good that Tokina decided to hold back the launch of its own new lens and take it back for further improvements so the final product could compete and win with the Tamron.

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That fact even increased the interest in the new instrument. After all, the new lens was supposed to be optically better than the Tamron, which was as solidly made as most of the AT-X PRO series lenses. If the new lens additionally was to have the range wider by 1 mm (and 1 mm gives you a field of view wider by over 3 degrees) perhaps it was worth waiting for?

The moment the Tokina AT-X 165 16-50 mm f/2.8 PRO DX hit the shelves in Poland, the Migomex company lent it to us for testing purposes and we didn’t hesitate to check whether or not one year and a half of waiting was a waste of time.

Six months after the lens in a Nikon mount had arrived to Poland, the models in a Canon mount appeared as well. We decided to make the most of this opportunity and check how the Tokina fares in both mounts. The differences between the Canon and the Nikon performance were almost guaranteed – we deal here with a different size of the sensor, a different distance and a different diameter of the mount which might be crucial at a very difficult combination of 16 mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture.

Information about our review method can be read in our article “How do we test lenses?"

Tokina AT-X 165 PRO DX AF 16-50 mm f/2.8  - Introduction