Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tokina 11-16 F/2.8 DX ii lens review

Tokina 11-16 DX ii

 I just received my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II from Amazon. I usually don’t review lenses but I decided to review this one because I could only find a handful of reviews on it myself.

Tokina 11-16 DX ii next to tamron 18-270 and Rokinon 14
I own many wide angle lenses and I have tried to avoid buying this lens, but it fills a niche that no other lens I have can fill. Just so you know, I carry the Tokina 11-16 in my bag over my full frame14mm F/2.8, every nikon 18-whatever kit lens, Nikon's own 10-24, and Tamron's super zoom 18-270mm. 

 First off, this lens is not for everyone. Obviously, it is not a full frame lens (even though it fills the frame at 16mm.) This lens is also not for the casual photographer who wants another cool lens. In my opinion, this is a specific lens to fill a specific need; in my case, 
I needed it to be able to shoot SHARP pictures in LOW LIGHT from the front row of a wedding. 

IT IS WIDE! A kit 18-?? lens is just not wide enough to get an entire bridal party from the front row. I could use another wide lens but they are lacking in the areas bellow.

IT IS SHARP! Tamron, sigma, and Nikon all offer similar options. Nikon has a lens with more zoom range but at the cost of Sharpness. Tamron and Sigma offer some close competitors in zoom range and aperture but they are just not anywhere close to as sharp as this one.  My 14mm full frame lens is sharp, but shooting with a full frame lens on a DX camera kinda defeats the purpose of a wide angle...  Anyway, this lens is SHARP!

IT IS BRIGHT! At F/2.8 all the way through, I can let a good amount of light in. The kit lenses and many of the other zooms are F/3.5 or F/4 wide open, and when they are wide open, they arnt sharp. The Tokina is nice and bright, but also sharp wide open.

AUTO FOCUS is FAST. I wouldn't expect anything different from such a wide zoom. The focus is accurate and locks on quick. The push/pull mechanism they use to switch from manual to auto focus is weird and it takes some getting used to, but I rarely switch back and forth so it is a non-issue for me. This older Tokina 11-16 did not have an autofocus motor but this one does :)

It is heavier than a kit lens but it is nowhere near as heavy at my 70-200 F/2.8 so the weight does not bother me a bit.

I really don’t know why Tokina decided to make this a ZOOM lens, but I’ll take it :) 90% of the time, people buy a wide angle lens to be able to shoot at the widest angle possible... I guess it would bother me more if the lens wasn’t tack sharp or if it caused a variable aperture; Since the lens is sharp all the way through and has a consistent aperture, I actually like the little zoom I have.

This Tokina has very LOW DISTORTION. Straight lines stay straight. The only time I’ve noticed some small distortion is when the subject is in the far corner (but with a lens this wide, distortion is to be expected.) Some of the other competitors have much worse distortion. 

Tokina 11-16 DX ii vs. 18mm and 14mm
 This is just a comparison of a few different wide angle zooms. There is a HUGE difference in an 11mm lens and a 18mm lens.

This Tokina 11-16 F/2.8 DX ii lens is the best DX wide angle lens on the market now. No other lens can match it's sharpness, wide aperture, and price. At $750.00 it is cheaper than many of Nikon's lens but still out performs them. With the added addition of an autofocus motor, superior build quality, and this lens just being ridiculously sharp, this lens will fill a spot in my bag for a long time.


  1. Hi Adam, thanks for the review.
    Does this version of the 11-16 still flare badly when shooting at bright light sources?
    And how's the CA around the fringes of objects?

  2. I do not have the old version to compare to but this version is very resistant to flare. I have not had a problem at all with it. I have tried many times to get the lens to show sun flare and while it is possible, it is in no way a problem.
    As far as CA, I can see some in very high contrast areas but it is surprisingly much better than some of my Nikon brand prime lenses. I would not consider it to be a problem either.

    This is one of my favorite wide angles that I have ever shot with. The F/2.8 aperture is awesome for indoor weddings and the sharpness is great.

    Let me know if you have any more questions :)

  3. Hi, i would like to get this lens but wondering if it has weather proof capability as i would bring this lens to Korea in winter season and i'll be playing in the snow often. I am using Nikon D7000, thinking to buy the previous version but it say it is not water resistance. Please share your inputs.

  4. hi, I plan to buy Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 but get confused when I heard the new Tokina 12-28 f/4. Yes, it sacrifices the good amount of light in return to a more usable long end zoom. If you ever try the new Tokina 12-28, please share with me about the image quality between them.

    I plan to get a UWA lens while still be able to shoot in normal condition without having to change lens that much.

    kindly advise.

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