The Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX is a wide-angle lens made for the large sensor fullframe camera and to rival the superb Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR and the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM as a third-party lens that gives more bang for the buck. Lets find out.
Right from get go you´ll notice how large a wide-angle lens this really is. Much like the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX weighs a hefty 950+ grams much heavier than the Canon equivalent. And as the aforementioned Nikon the Tokina does not features a filter thread due to the huge convex front element that’s protruding the lens almost beyond the edge of the lens hood.
Speaking of the lens hood it’s not removable but nor do you need to remove as it would only lead to scratches on the front element.
The build quality of the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX is pretty good. Oddly it features a slightly lighter and thinner coating than the previously reviewed Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D Macro. It gives you an impression of a lesser expansive lens that it really is. Overall you have no doubt that it is a really sturdy lens and the big front lens certainly helps that impression.
Similar to the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D Macro the autofocus switch is quick and a joy to use. It’s kinda manual focus override system where the focus ring is enabled by pulling it towards the camera body. Whenever you want to switch to auto-focus just push the ring forward again and of you go. Speaking of the focus ring it’s wide and rubberized and requires almost no force to use. In order to focus across the distance scale takes a quarter of a turn, which makes it quick to manual focus.
The zoom ring is equally rubberized and positioned much closer to the body. Unfortunately it’s not as wide as you would like it to be but not too small either.
Due to the huge convex front element (for a wide-angle that is) the lens doesn’t take filter nor any other accessories using regular threads as there are none. That means if you want to use a circular polarizor or a ND filter you’ll have to get a filter holder system like the ones from Cokin. The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR shares this “feature” while the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM features regular 82mm threads.
And the million dollar question would be. How sharp is it especially against the immediate competition. Shooting with Canon bodies I have no options the test the famous Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR so my comparison would only be against the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM .
The aforementioned Nikon lens is very well regarded as one of the greatest wide angles lenses ever made and I think the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX isn’t going to change that.
Versus the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM it’s a different mater. I used both a 1d series as well as a 7D on this lens and while the differences are minor of the APS-C sized Canon 7D, the larger sensor 1D body enlarges the differences. Both are sharp wide open center the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX is sharper in the corners. I stopped it down to F8 to get a larger depth of field and found the lens is very sharp from corner to corner with almost no achromatic abbreviation. That being said the lens performs excellent from F5.6. – The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM has a different look to it with files more vibrant as well as with more contrast. It’s up to you which look you prefer.
Without a doubt the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX is a superb lens. That especially true on larger sensor bodies and I think on a 5D or similar sized this lens would shine even more. Sure the zoom ring as well as range could be larger, the front element perhaps should take filters but in the end the reward is a superb image quality. The Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX is sharp pretty much throughout the range and with neutral colors.
Overall probably one of the best wide-angle lens choices for Canon and a great choice for Nikon.