*Plastic Fantastic* - The Tokina 19-35 F3.5-4.5

Started May 24, 2003 | Discussions thread
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*Plastic Fantastic* - The Tokina 19-35 F3.5-4.5
May 24, 2003

OK folks here it is - the Tokina 19-35 F3.5-4.5 Ultra wide angle zoom quick report!. This lens costs £150 !!

The lens arrives in a white cardboard box in a bubble wrap bag with a manual and hood - YES CANON - a HOOD and it's a Very thick well made petal type one too unlike the flimsy affair you have to pay £20 extra for, for the Canon 20-35USM.

The lens itself looks like a cheapo chinese copy of a Tokina 20-35 Mk2 with the traditional Tokie heavily "treaded" grips for zoom and focus, it's an INTERNAL Zooming design on the same lines as the 16-35L where if you fit a filter (77mm) the lens is effectively sealed stopping an ingress of dust..

Of course it's not "officially" Full time manual focus and the focus ring turns as it focusses but the action of the ring in AF position is so smooth (unlike the older 20-35s and the ATX-Pro) that it can be manually focussed in the AF position almost as smoothly as a real USM lens! , the (rather slow) AF motor is also very quiet for a DC motor unlike the metal Tokinas such as the earliest 20-35 Mk1 which sounded like a cheap RC car - and the lens has a metal lens mount which is inspiring.. Even this cheapo has a 6 blade aperture which isn't as nice as the 8-blades on the Sigma 15-30 is a LOT better than the horrible 5-blades on the canon 20-35USM .. Tokina are known for reliability and solidity and I'd guess that this lens will continue that tradition.

OK, Sharpness.... Wide open it's not the sharpest tool in the box and similar to the Canon 20-35USM and early Tokina 20-35 F3.5-4.5 Mk1 but it does keep the same level of sharpness across the whole of the frame unlike the 20-35 ATX Pro F2.8 which is sharper in the very middle but turns to a total blur as you reach the edges, a uniformly softish photo can be sharpened in photoshop, one which isn't uniform is next to useless.. Stop it down a bit (F5.6 will do) and things start to hot up, by F8 the lens is singing ..

Colour and contrast aren't bad at all, about on a par with the canon 20-35 and all of the metal built Tokina 20-35 variants, Colours are far more neutral than the Sigma 15-30 but with less contrast than that lens. CA is more controlled than I expected, far better than the ATX-Pro I had but present all the same..

So on first showing, what is my gut feeling ???? .. Value for money springs to mind - Whether I'd take one over a Canon 20-35USM is another matter at the same price, but I certainly wouldn't pay the £280 more for the Canon as all it really gives you is Ring USM and you'll lose 1mm at the wide end AND more importantly the canon has a weak 5-blade aperture ..

Would I buy the ATX-Pro F2.8 instead? - well going by the one I had, the answer is a definate NO, this cheap lens is superior in every respect bar build quality..

Would I go for the Sigma 15-30EX instead - Here the answer must be YES , the Sigma has weak points - frame linearity can be a problem wide open but is sharper at the centre and it's weaker than this Tokina full stop after 20mm , it also doesn't take sensible filters - colour goes to the Tokina , contrast to the Sigma, of course the 15mm WA on the Sigma is the big seller - possible problems full frame with Vignetting a minus, give and take.. I'd give the Sigma the Cigar overall but it IS £400 not £150 ..

I ain't commenting if the 16-35L is worth £1150 more than this lens, there have been too many Duff Ls reported on the forum lately including mine

Here is the contact sheet with the 100% Crops , Wide open, 10D on sharpening "normal" , no sharpening done in Photoshop... the 10D is softer than the D60 at standard settings remember and full the frames these were cropped from sharpen up nicely..

hope this is of interest

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