The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X

If you are looking for an ultra-wide lens for your Nikon, in my opinion this is better than Nikon’s 12-24 AF-S DX.

Ultra-wide lenses are great fun but getting a good one at a reasonable price can be hard. If you are a Nikon owner then I would advise looking no further than the Tokina. As, in my humble opinion, it out-performs even Nikon’s own [and vastly more expensive] 12-24 AF-S DX lens.

I picked up the Tokina just days after it was released in Japan and despite one little problem [the zoom sticking at 15mm] for which it had to go back to Tokina for repairs, I am as happy with it today as I was the day I bought it. Why?

Great build, superb performance, great value for money

The build quality is superb and with the easy-to-use push-pull MF-AF focus clutch, a lens that it easy to use either manually or automatically focused. Despite mine having to go back to the factory [it was a very early model, so maybe it had teething problems], I have rarely been disappointed with this lens. My only cause for concern is the fact that it occasionally hunts for focus. But, on those rare occasions – and because the focus travel between close and far is so small [one full turn of the focus screw pulls focus from infinity to 3.5 feet (1.1m)] – I just switch to manual.

It’s sharp, even wide-open at f/2.8, and the distortion is very slight even at its widest setting of 11mm. What distortion there is, is very easily corrected too. Far more easily than the distortion one finds on the Nikkor 12-24mm lens. Plus, with the 2.8 aperture and focal-length of 11mm, this lens constitutes the fastest ultra-wide for Nikon DSLRs. All for under $600.

Nikon users may not all agree with Ken Rockwell, but in his appraisal of this lens there isn’t a single point on which I would disagree with the man. And, as I am not one for subjecting my lenses to the kind of intricate spec and performance reviews Ken is, visit his page about this lens for all the nitty-gritty and details of just how good this lens is.

Pictures I have shot with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 At-X

No diss to Ken, he does a lot of sterling work in reviewing Nikon and Nikon-compatible equipment, I am just concerned about finding good gear and shooting with it. Between Ken’s site and that of Thom Hogan, and my own lengthy experience of shooting Nikon, I have all the experience at hand in choosing gear. Once in my sweaty palms, I just get on with using it. So, here are some shots made with the Tokina and a link to a gallery on Flickr with a load more shots from this wonderful lens.


A gallery of Tokina 11-16mm shots on my Flickr stream.

One full turn of the AF screw pulls focus from infinity to 3.5 feet (1.1m).

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Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

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