Tokina has always been a maker of some excellent third party lenses, and the release of the Tokina 70-20mm f4 ATX Pro heralds this even more so. The recently announced lens isn’t billed as being weather sealed–but that doesn’t meant that it wasn’t able to take a beating. The lens also exhibits great image quality and some of the best bokeh that we’ve seen from a zoom lens.
But while it’s an overall great lens, know that it doesn’t specialize in any one particular aspect.
Pros and Cons
– Pretty darn sharp wide open
– Really, really nice bokeh
– Solid build quality
– Image stabilization in the lens is very effective
– We really like the color rendition, especially with skin tones
– This weird noise happens when the IS activates and deactivates
We tested the Tokina 70-20mm f4 ATX Pro with the Nikon D810, PocketWizard Plus III transceivers and the Lumopro LP-180.
Taken from the Adorama listing of the lens
|Construction||14 Groups / 19 Elements|
|Angle of View||34.45° 12.42°|
|Closest Focusing Distance||39.37 in. (1.0m)|
|Zooming System||Rotary Zoom|
|Dimensions Diameter x Length||3.15″ / 82mm x 6.59″ / 167.5mm|
|Weight||34.57 oz. (980g)|
|Optional Accessory||TM-705 Removable Tripod Collar|
Taken from our first impressions post
The Tokina 70-200mm f4 is a telephoto zoom lens designed for professionals that shoot during the daytime and want something at an affordable price with great results. For the most part, this is well translated into its exterior design. For starters, you get a massive lens hood with the product that when removed makes the package look that much less intimidating.
The exterior is dominated by two control rings including two switches. These rings control focusing and zooming while the switches set the lens’s functionality to manual focusing/autofocusing and also set the vibration compensation. The switches are placed towards the back for easier access while shooting without removing the viewfinder from your eye.
The lens has a distance scale on it as well to help you focus out to certain areas. However, like most autofocusing lenses this is more or less useless.
During the review period we took the lens to the beach, in the rain, and it was also housed in a camera bag with very little protection from bumps on the NYC subway system. Nothing happened to the lens that would have affected the quality. We also accidentally dropped it in a three foot fall but it still operated perfectly.
After some research, we found that the lens isn’t billed as being weather sealed or even splashproof–but it sure took a beating as if it was. For that, Tokina should be commended on a well designed product.
Focusing with this lens in good light is quick and effective on the D810. Granted, the focusing with the closest Nikon competitor is faster–and understandably so. The only situations where we encountered problems with the focusing was in very low light where we had to place the focusing point over a very contrasty point. Once that happened, the Nikon D810 when paired with this lens would have a better hit rate, but it still wasn’t 100% perfect.
We see bird and sports photographers mostly using this lens–and for that it shouldn’t be much of a problem during the daytime or in the light of a stadium.
The overall image quality of the Tokina 70-200mm f4 ATX Pro lens is one that you really can’t and shouldn’t complain about. It’s sharp, a tad contrasty, renders some beautiful colors, and delivers the kind of quality you’d expect from a lens like this. But where we think that this lens really shines is with its bokeh. 70-200mm lens options are usually well known for their bokehlicious images and by all means this one holds itself very true to those standards.
This is a lens targeted at the enthusiast photographer, though we can very much see some professional photographers using it for certain kinds of work like outdoor sports as we stated earlier. If you couple this with the high ISO abilities of modern DSLRs, you probably won’t have much of an issue in lower lit situations either.
Where we need to be completely honest though is that even though this lens is a jack of all trades, it is indeed a master of none. There are offerings out there with better bokeh, better sharpness, even better color, and more. But this is overall one of the more versatile lenses that we’ve picked up in a while.
AS ALWAYS, EXIF DATA IS INTACT IN ALL THE IMAGES. JUST CLICK ON THEM AND YOU’LL FIND THE EXIF DATA IN THE URL.
Again, we want to point out that the bokeh from the 70-200mm f4 ATX Pro lens is perhaps the single best reason to purchase this lens. It’s gorgeous, creamy, not distracting, and has enough micro-contrast to it that it almost looks like the lens could have been some sort of Zeiss offering. However, Zeiss lenses have much more pop to them.
The bokeh fiends will love this lens–especially for portraiture.
What we will say in closing for this parameter is that we’re so pleased with the bokeh from this lens that it would be easy for us to think that it would be a prime lens. And for us–a bunch of writers that swear by their prime lenses–that is a huge plus.
This lens offers excellent sharpness when shooting wide open but gets better as stopped down until around f8. Beyond that point, you’ll start to see minimal diffraction but not enough to cause lots of issues.
Like any lens, we recommend using it with a flash to get the best sharpness. But even at f4 or f5.6, we’ve seen sharper offerings. Granted, the sharpness still isn’t at all bad–we’ve just seen better.
For portrait work–which is a large part of what I personally do, I am incredibly pleased with the color rendition. The lens does a great job with skin tones that I really can’t complain about and when it came t shooting things like flowers it delivered some beautiful and very healthily saturated colors.
The Tokina 70-200mm f4 lens still tends to render overall colors more towards the cool side of the color spectrum so you’ll need to bring it back into the warm zone in post-production to really make them shine.
In our tests, we couldn’t find any major color fringing issues that would make us go back to Tokina crying or even spend time in DPReview’s forums complaining about it while not trying to do something about it. And for that, you should be happy–we can all use less folks in those forums complaining about random things.
Extra Image Samples
Here are other image samples
– Fairly lightweight lens
– Fast to focus
– Nice bokeh
– We wish it were properly weather sealed.
The Tokina 70-200mm F4 AT-X Pro FX VCMS is a beautiful lens with great image quality, fast focusing abilities, and can surely find a home in the bag of many a photographer. But for what it is, note that it isn’t particularly the best at anything. For that reason we also think that the price should come down a bit.
We award this lens 4 out of 5 stars. Want one? Check Adorama for availability starting at $1,099.
Recommended Cameras and Accessories
Nikon D810: This high megapixel body will help you take the most advantage of the lens’s sharpness; but even then there are better options.