Last updated on December 24th, 2020
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX Review. The Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX and the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX-II is designed for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. These were released in 2012 and benefited from a built-in AF motor to create it compatible with a wider range of Nikon DSLRs and introduced superior anti-reflective coatings to reduce the consequences of lens flare that the first had been known to suffer from.
I am not an expert, just a hobby photographer. I do take thousands of pictures a year with my Nikons., this can be my first non-Nikkor lens and I am pleasantly surprised by the standard. To be honest, I used to be expecting less. looked like it was worth a try.
What is the Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX?
I love this lens it’s much smaller and lighter than the Nikon. I would love to shoot most of the time with my Nikon D7200 operating out of the hard bags on my motorbike. To this point, the lens travels very well, but no issues.
The Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX is meant for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras with APS-C sensors and follows on from two earlier lenses – the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX and also the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX II. The latter of those was released in 2012 and benefited from a built-in AF motor to make it compatible with a wider range of Nikon DSLRs and introduced superior anti-reflective coatings to scale back the effects of lens flare that the first had been known to suffer from.
Although it doesn’t shoot quite as wide as alternatives like the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM or Nikon 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 G AF-P DX, it’s the advantage of a relentless f/2.8 aperture through its zoom range. It’s also built to a more robust standard than most budget wide-angle zooms, which might be feeling rather plasticky and are at risk of damage more easily.
On paper, the lens appears like a superb choice for anyone trying to find a faster and wider alternative to the Tokina AT-X 12-28mm f/4 PRO DX lens, but is it well worth the money or are there better options out there?
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX (Pros &Cons)
- Quite sharp.
- Bright f/2.8 aperture.
- Ultra-wide angle of view.
- Nominal vignette.
- Slow, loud autofocus.
- Visible distortion.
- A focus clutch may be tricky to use.
- Not weather sealed.
- Omits image stabilization.
Its angle of view is solidly within the ultra-wide territory. I’ve used both, I’ve lugged that big Nikon everywhere in the country, and am glad to own this lighter cousin in my kit. I might buy this lens again in a heartbeat. it isn’t the sleekest zoom on the surface, but its f/2.8 aperture puts it during a class of its own, especially given its relatively low price point.
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX – Features
This third-generation Tokina camera lens covers a broader focal range than the 2 11-16mm zooms that have preceded it, and so it’s suitable for a large kind of application from landscapes to interior and architecture work.
The distance is admired 16.5-30mm when it’s paired with Nikon APS-C DSLRs that enforce a 1.5x crop factor, whereas it’s admired 17.6-32mm when it’s mounted to Canon APS-C DSLRs.
Tokina has also reworked the optical design. Unlike the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX II, which had the development of 13 elements in 11 groups, this lens incorporates 14 elements in 12 groups with nine aperture blades. Modifying the optical construction has increased the burden of the lens very slightly from 550g to 560g, and also the minimum focus distance is reduced to 28cm.
The construction of the lens sandwiches two glass-molded aspherical lens elements between three super-low-dispersion glass elements in an attempt to stay contrast and sharpness high while minimizing spherical aberrations. Towards the front of the lens group, there’s also what’s referred to as a P-MO aspherical lens that contributes towards the bulbous appearance of the front element.
The lens encompasses a minimum aperture of f/22 and relies on the manufacturer’s multilayer film coatings to scale back internal reflections that may cause unwelcome ghosting and flare. Unlike some wide-angle zooms, it doesn’t feature optical image stabilization to counteract handshake, but this isn’t as essential on a lens where camera shake isn’t accentuated to the identical degree it’s on longer telephoto zoom lenses.
The front of the lens is additionally larger in diameter than Tokina’s previous 11-16mm wide-angle zooms. It accepts screw-in filters and adapter rings via an 82mm thread against the 77mm size.
At the rear, you get a rubber ring that compresses as it’s mounted and effectively seals it against the cameras’ metal lens mount. Despite the secure fit, it’s not separated as being weather-sealed throughout. The extra reach you get at the long end brings it more in line with the opposite wide-angle zooms on the market.
As a part of the boxed contents, you receive lens caps for front and back still as a plastic BH-821 petal-shaped lens hood that locks with a reassuring click when attached.
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX – Autofocus
Extending the lens to the long end and asking it to autofocus between near and many subjects revealed that it’s aloof from silent in use. Although the whirring noises are fairly low-frequency, it’s one of the loudest lenses I’ve used recently.
The autofocus whirrs and groans shouldn’t delay stills photographers, but they’ll be more of a priority for videographers searching for silent lenses that won’t disturb sound recording.
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX – Handling and Build
For a lens that boasts an f/2.8 maximum aperture and 82mm filter thread at the front, I accustomed expect it to be larger than it’s. this is often described as a compact ultra-wide-angle optical lens and Tokina has successfully made it a practical size without being too bulky.
At its widest point, it’s 5mm thicker than the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX II. It’s a pair of millimeters longer too, but a small amount like its predecessors it feels comfortable and well balanced when it’s paired with an average-sized APS-C DSLR and supported on the palm of your manus.
One of the key differences between this optic and cheaper wide-angle zooms is its build quality. Although it does feature plastic in its construction, it’s robustly made and you get the sense it’s built to last the severity of day-to-day use.
There is a broad focusing ring towards the front of the lens and a narrower zoom ring behind with a bit focus-distance window located between the two. Both rings are rubberized to strengthen grip and also the main focus ring features a finer texture.
The zoom ring operates across its range with but 1 / 4 turn and is rotated anti-clockwise to focus and clockwise to zoom out. Although the resistance of the zoom ring is larger than you get on some similar lenses, it’s consistently smooth which I used to be still able to zoom across the range using just my thumb from its resting position within the palm of my hand.
Those with a watch for detail will notice there don’t seem to be any switches to be found on the side of the barrel. Instead, you get Tokina’s trademark one-touch focus clutch mechanism that allows photographers to change between AF and MF by snapping the most target ring forward for AF and back for manual focusing.
While this method of focus operation is intuitive, the disadvantage is that the shortage of manual intervention in AF mode. In use, I discovered that you just must be quite positive with the snapping motion to make it engage fully within the manual mode.
At the front of the lens, you’ll find a white dot that pairs up with the white dot on the lens hood to make it that little bit easier to align and fix. Just behind this is often the gold ring that’s become synonymous with Tokina’s AT-X PRO series lenses. As I revealed on our review sample, though, this tends to peel off, so I just removed it to prevent it from being a long-term distraction.
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX – Image- Quality
I paired up our review sample with the mid-range Canon EOS 80D DSLR. Inspecting a series of shots taken along the coast revealed its optical performance isn’t flawless, but nevertheless it delivers an admirable level of sharpness.
Stop the lens down from its maximum aperture to f/4 and you’ll notice an improvement in center sharpness, with corner sharpness peaking between f/5.6 and f/8. Satisfactory results can be achieved at f/11, but beyond this point, sharpness levels do start to tail off and diffraction creeps in.
There’s always an element of concern about how well wide-angle optics are able to control curvilinear distortion. Tokina’s older 11-16mm wide-angle zooms handled distortion well, and the same can be said for this lens. Using its widest setting you’ll witness some barrel distortion, but it’s not as pronounced as you might expect, and is easy enough to correct later, provided you shoot in the raw format and choose the acceptable profile from the list of Tokina lenses. Barrel distortion becomes less visible when the zoom is extended to 16mm and beyond.
I also saw signs of chromatic aberration in my test shots, with purple and green fringing being traced along high-contrast edges of images taken of a castle ruin. Most modern Nikon DSLRs can correct this automatically as a part of their JPEG processing, but Canon JPEG shooters don’t have this luxury.
As for corner shading, it’s most blatant when the lens is employed at the widest point in its zoom range. It’s slightly less severe at 16mm and 20mm, and you’ll start to see an improvement by closing the aperture down by a couple of stops. If you plan to use the lens at 11mm and would like your images to be free of fall-off, straight out of the camera, I’d recommend setting the lens to around f/8.
In the same way, distortion and chromatic aberration can be removed in post, it’s possible to remedy vignetting in seconds – provided, once again, you shoot in the raw format and apply the correct profile.
The lens produced a set of test results that matched my real-world findings. Centre sharpness peaks at f/5.6 in the least focal lengths, with slightly sharper results being recorded towards the sting at f/8.
Dial-in an aperture value of f/5.6 or f/8 and you’ll be about to produce the sharpest results you’ll with this lens. I’d advise not shooting too far beyond f/11, at which point diffraction starts to take its toll on sharpness.
Should I buy the Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX?
If you own a Canon or Nikon APS-C DSLR and know your photography would benefit from an ultra-wide-angle zoom with a fast maximum aperture, this is a lens that should be carefully considered. It’s up there as one of the most affordable wide-angle f/2.8 zooms you can buy and offers great sharpness at wider apertures.
The Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX also makes a solid case for itself with photographers who insist on having a faster aperture for shooting in low-light situations.
It’s not without its optical flaws, though, and to get the best out of it you’ll want to prioritize shooting in raw so you can easily correct the distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration at a later stage.
If you can live without the fast aperture and are working to a tighter budget I’d recommend Canon users look at the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM and Nikon users check out the Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 G AF-P DX. Tamron’s 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD is another alternative to contemplate if you’d like your lens to be weather resistant and offer optical image stabilization.
A niche lens, but one that should be considered if you shoot on a Canon or Nikon APS-C DSLR and require a wide-angle zoom with a fast aperture at a reasonable price.