First Impressions: Tokina 12-28mm f4 (Nikon F)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (2 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Tokina’s zoom lenses are amongst some of the most popular for APS-C DSLR camera shooters for many reasons. Besides their generally stellar image quality, they are also often priced just right. In the case of their brand new 12-28mm f4 designed for APS-C sensor DSLRs, they’re once again targeting the budget-conscious photographer that wants a wide-angle zoom. The lens has a focal length ranging from 12mm to 28mm–which equates to an 18 to 42mm on a Nikon DSLR. Plus it has a constant f4 aperture throughout the zoom range. Tokina also decided to give this lens nine aperture blades–which should translate into smoother bokeh.

But as many wide angle shooters know, you don’t spring for a wide angle lens for the bokeh.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo Listing

Performance
Focal Length 12 – 28 mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 18 – 42 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Nikon F
Format Compatibility Nikon DX
Angle of View 99° 37′ – 54° 73′
Minimum Focus Distance 9.84″ (25 cm)
Magnification 0.20x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:4.94
Groups/Elements 12/14
Diaphragm Blades 9
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread Front: 77 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.31 x 3.55″ (84 x 90.2 mm)
Weight 1.17 lb (530 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (2 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

When we first unboxed the Tokina 12-28mm f4, we were pleasantly shocked. It is quite a lens to be honest and would be better suited ergonomically with a Nikon D7100 than the D5200 that we are currently testing it with.

The lens has a particular character to it that makes it look very Nikon-like. This is because of Tokina’s use of black and gold trimmings on the lens.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (5 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

When you look at the lens, you’ll notice the major controls: the focusing ring and the zooming ring. And in between that, you’ll notice the focusing range scale.

The exterior of this lens feels very Nikon-like in the texture of the finish–and Nikonians will really appreciate this.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (4 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

That front element is a massive 77mm thread for your filters. Better yet, if you put a filter on this lens, you’ll fully protect it from nearly any bump you might throw at it. The front element moves a bit when zooming, but for the most part it is still internally.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (6 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

While other manufacturers might have a dedicated switch on the side to activate manual focusing, Tokina has usually opted for the pump action option. If you pull the focusing ring back, it will be in manual focusing mode.

Sound familiar? Olympus and Fujifilm adopted this method with some of their lenses.

Build Quality

At the time of writing this post, we’ve spent around five hours with the lens. It feels very solid, though Tokina states that it isn’t weather sealed. We’ll have to put it through its paces a bit more, but we must note that the lens became extremely hot in NYC’s 100 degree weather–but you have to expect that.

Autofocusing

Super quick! No really, this lens is super quick to focus and when manually selecting the focusing point, you’ll see that it is even quicker to communicate with the camera’s focusing system.

For what it’s worth, it’s a bit noisy, but not too terrible.

Ease of Use

There isn’t much to this lems beyond pointing and shooting it at your subject. If you want to manually focus, then note that the snapback ring is a bit tight to use and you’ll need to put some strength into it. But otherwise, you’ll have loads of fun with a lens this wide.

Image Quality

I spent some time with the lens this past weekend shooting around the neighborhood. Here are some selections:

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (8 of 14)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (9 of 14)ISO 2001-400 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (10 of 14)ISO 2001-2000 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (11 of 14)ISO 2001-800 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (12 of 14)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (13 of 14)ISO 2001-3200 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (14 of 14)ISO 2001-2500 sec at f - 4.0

First Impressions

So far, we’re pretty damn impressed with the image quality, feel, and focusing speed of the Tokina 12-28mm f4. If you’re an APS-C DSLR shooter, then you’ll love to mount this lens on for landscape, architectural, and overall scenic views. And for the price point, Tokina seems to have an extremely awesome killer optic.

Stay tuned for the full review.

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