Lens review

Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11-16 mm f/2.8

Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11-16 mm f/2.8
17 August 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

In November 2007 the Tokina company launched an ultra wide-angle lens, the AT-X 116 PRO DX AF 11–16 mm f/2.8. At that time it was a unique instrument - no other producer was offering such a fast device of that type. Our test showed that the lens was also well done - we expressed some serious reservations concerning two problems: the chromatic aberration, a flaw often encountered when it comes to the wide angle Tokinas, and work against bright light. That latter issue was especially troublesome because, as a result, you had to deal with a huge contrast decrease even in a situation when the source of light was situated far from the frame.

In January 2012 Tokina decided to introduce a successor of that lens. One glance at the chart with parameters and you know that hardy anything was changed; the weight of those instruments seems to be the only noticeably different feature.

What justifies the II symbol in the name of the new device? The producer claims that the anti-reflective coatings have been improved. Still does such a change really justify a launch of a new version and a new test procedure? Yes, it does. First of all new coatings might suggest a better performance against bright light and it was one of the biggest issues of the previous version of this instrument. It is not all. The resolution, as measured by us, is, in fact, the MTF50 function value and it is not only sensitive to the number of details but also to the overall contrast of a photo, which is influenced by the coatings of a given device. Following this train of thought you can say that a good choice of coatings is very important when it comes to a wide angle lens; in such an instrument the beams of light fall at obtuse angles to the elements and it is known that the efficiency of coatings decreases along with the increase of the angle of a light beam. Improving the coatings can influence not only work against bright light but also the MTFs or vignetting. When better coatings are implemented the corners of the detector get more light.

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There is one more argument for repeating the test of the Tokina 11-16 mm: the old model of that lens was tested on the Canon EOS 20D in 2008. Nowadays many people use far more densely packed sensors - their resolutions can oscillate from 12 to 24 Mpix. The Canon EOS 50D which we currently employ in our tests, will be a better tool to assess the performance of a new lens as it is more likely to be attached to one of contemporary digital cameras.

You shouldn’t forget one more thing. The Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 still remains the fastest ultra wide zoom lens, designed for smaller sensors – small wonder we’ve got plenty of queries about the test of its new version. As we always try to take wishes and questions of our Readers into consideration, we are publishing this review – enjoy your reading!

We would like to thank the Delta company, the sole distributor of the Tokina brand name lenses in Poland, for lending us the tested lens.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11-16 mm f/2.8 - Introduction