|Price paid: $650.00
Date bought: October 2005
Similar products I use: AF-S 17-35 mm. f/2.8D IF-ED Nikkor.
Available in the following AF-mounts: Nikon, Canon.
There is now a new version available, baptized AT-X PRO 12-24 mm. f/4G DX II, which includes an internal focus motor (for AF on the D40, D40X, D60, D5K series and D3K series) plus an improved coating, supposedly to better its resistance against flaring and ghosting.
If you want wide on a DX, this is *wide*. With its excellent sharpness, nice handling and solid construction you’ll be hard pressed to find another 12-24 that offers this much bang for the buck.
As almost all extreme wide angles, it vignettes wide open, especially at 12 mm., but I have found that stopping down just slightly eliminates the problem completely.
Flaring and/or ghosting may also be a problem, but mostly if you shoot against the light or do not use the supplied petal-shaped lens hood. Thanks to internal focus (IF), it stays in place (just as your filters) because the front end of this lens does not extend or rotate.
This Tokina is sharp-sharp-sharp and, when compared to the Nikon alternative, comes at a little over half the price.
Build quality is outstanding, all metal, and I have not had any problems with chipping “paint” as reported by some users on other third party lenses.
When I bought this lens, it scored higher than it’s Nikon equivalent on photozone.de, but it is now standing a bit lower than the Nikkor.
I’m not quite sure if this is due to the – obvious – bias of Nikonians towards their brand lenses, or because recent samples of the Tokina have been dropping in quality.
Even so, I leave it to you to decide whether or not the 0.28 point rating difference (on a scale from 1-5) and the internal – Silent Wave – focusing motor of the Nikkor are worth the extra 400 dollars: Nikkor $899, Tokina $499. Indicated rating and prices at time of writing.
• Built like a tank - all metal. Not that I have anything against plastic. I own a few plastic lenses too...
• Center: very sharp, still good at the extremes, especially when stopped down a little.
• Internal Focus (IF). Means no rotating front end, so your lens hood and orientation sensitive filters, like polarizers and grads, stay where you want them to be.
• Good balance on my D200 and surely on my future Nikon semi-pro & prosumer bodies too.
• Clean and defect free at f/5.6, with a sweet spot around f/8.
• Costs $ 499 vs. $ 899 for the Nikkor which offers equivalent optical-, but inferior build quality.
• Only for APS-C (DX) DSLR's. This lens can be used on FX (full frame) cameras, but only at 1/2 their native resolution. This goes for the Nikkor 12-24 as well, by the way.
• No built-in focusing motor; unlike the AF-S Nikkor, this lens does not auto-focus on the Nikon D40 and other entry-level Nikons.
• Stiff zoom ring.
• To set manual focus, you have to pull the focus ring backward, which is a bit awkward, although I do not consider this a major flaw.
• As all extreme wide angles, prone to flare, produces some CA and vignettes wide open, especially at the short focal end.
• Heavy. Of course it's either that, or get what some people would call a “cheap plastic lens”.
Optical quality: 4,5
Build quality: 5
Value for money: 5
AF-S 12-24 mm f/4G Nikkor
AT-X 124 AF PRO DX 12-24mm f/4G Tokina
AF-S 17-35 mm f/2.8D Nikkor:
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