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LENS PORN: Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)
Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)



INTRO

The Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 is an ultra wide angle zoom lens with constant maximum aperture of f/4 at all focal lengths. The version I'm reviewing here is the first version, introduced in 2004. This version does not have a built-in AF motor, so it will not AF on non-motorized Nikon bodies.

The Tokina 12-24/4 was designed for DX/APS-C/crop sensor cameras so the effective focal length when applying the 1.5x crop factor of my Nikon D5200 DSLR is 18-36mm on FX. (BONUS!!! from 15mm up to 24mm, it can be used on full frame cameras without vignetting.)

My copy was in such bad cosmetic condition -- the lens was dropped by the previous owner and the filter thread had cracks, the zoom ring rubber grip was also loose so it was held together by a baller band (I like the handling more with the baller band). But we have to be practical. We use a lens for its image quality, not for its cosmetic appearance.



BUYING DECISION

Up until before I bought this lens, 18mm was the widest I could ever get, that was with my Nikkor 18-55mm VR2 kit lens. 18mm, to me, was still too tight. A friend recommended that an UWA lens suits my shooting style, but I waited 1 year before I decided it was the right decision. Once I got it, it really opened up a new world for me! Ironically, the first photo I ever shot with this lens was a car accident right outside our meetup venue. Ha!

There were several competitors out there -- a wider Sigma 10-20/3.5, a more expensive Nikkor 12-24/4 which can also AF on non-motorized Nikon DSLRs, a brighter Tokina 11-16/2.8, and even the second version of this lens with much better coating. My 2 deciding factors were price and the more flexible 12-24mm range.



BUILD QUALITY

The whole body is made of plastic, while the chassis and mount are metal. Thankfully. So this lens was dropped before, eh? It's still working perfectly and the crack is only at the front filter thread. I guess it's a tough piece of plastic!

Users can switch between AF and manual focusing by pulling/pushing the focus ring on the lens. In this first version, the AF is driven by a motorized Nikon body, which means that it will not AF or only for manual focusing on a non-motorized Nikon DSLR body. This was no problem for me.

I noticed that manual lenses have a hard stop when focusing to infinity, whereas AF lenses focus BEYOND infinity. I find this to be an annoyance when focusing because I feel that it's so hard to see if you are exactly at the infinity mark.

The lens comes with a BH-777 bayonet hood. This is the only lens in my life that can NEVER be used without a hood, otherwise it will flare alot (probably the later version is much better at this with its improved coating!).



IMAGE QUALITY

As mentioned before, the later version of this lens uses the same optical formula but a much more improved coating for better contrast, color rendition and flare control.

Which is clearly what this first version really needs. Because I find the coating to be inefficient. The contrast always seems to be soft at f/4, which improves by f/8. But on sunny outdoor, contrast will still be soft down to f/22. Sharpness was never an issue though, it's acceptably sharp from f/4.

Colors are average, nothing spectacular. I find that my other lenses have more life than this lens brings. Oh my gawd, when I shoot outdoor, the images are just very cool and bluish, even when I already set the white balance to 'Cloudy' on my D5200. In other words, I usually find the images to be flat, but not that bad.

Is the lens really a constant f/4? I don't know how to explain, but when I zoom in, I notice it darkens a bit from f/4 to f/4.5 (approximately).

The only thing that one should never expect from this lens is a blurry background. Even if the minimum focusing distance is 0.3 meters, it's still not close enough for a closeup, given its focal range.



SUMMARY

The Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 (version 1) is a bargain lens nowadays. The range is flexible enough for more applications like landscape, architecture/interior, product shots, even portraiture. This lens lets me tell a story about the scene, and also capture subjects in context to the scene.

Despite the shortcomings that I've mentioned about this lens, I find it to be a great addition to my gear. In fact, it is one of the most used lenses I've ever had (other than the Tamron Adaptall 2 SP 90mm f/2.5 MacroTamron Adaptall 2 28mm f/2.5 and Sigma 18-200mm OS HSM).

A worthy investment for the budget conscious and practical!


========================================

SPECS

Tokina AT-X Pro SD
12-24mm f/4 (IF DX)

SD = Super Low Dispersion Glass
IF = Internal Focusing
DX = Digital Crop Sensor

Year Introduced:
2004

Available Mounts:
Canon EF, Nikon F

Focal Length:
12-24mm
(Full Frame Equivalent = 18-36mm)

Minimum Focusing Distance:
0.3 meters

Filter Thread Size:
77mm

Aperture Run:
f/4 - f/22 (9 blades)

13 elements
11 groups
2 aspherical elements

Made in Japan

A later version was introduced in 2009. This updated version features the same optical formula but with improved glass coating. The version 2 also has built-in AF motor so it can AF even on non-motorized Nikon bodies.

Photo Album

Product Page

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

========================================

Video and Photo Samples


I've shot so many photos/videos with this lens. 95% are unedited.

For the other photos, just go to my photo album linked in this post. Thanks!

(Note: Some of the photos were using soft filter.)















PHOTOS

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)

Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm f/4 IF DX (Version 1, 2004)


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