[review] ----- Tokina 90mm f/2.5 Macro Locked

Started Apr 12, 2005 | Discussions thread
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tao.design Veteran Member • Posts: 5,632
[review] ----- Tokina 90mm f/2.5 Macro
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Tokina 90mm f/2.5 AT-X Macro: A Review

The Tokina 90mm f/2.5 AT-X macro is a twenty year-old lens that hails from the manual focus era of film cameras. The lens was released in 1986 and discontinued in 1997. The AT-X designation stands for "Advanced Technology Extra" and is normally a designation given to Tokina's zoom lenses. Tokina itself was founded by former Nikon executives and engineers who split from the optics leader to concentrate on zoom lens design.

The lens was sold both individually and with a matched optical macro converter, which Tokina refers to as the "macro extender." Without the matched converter, the lens reaches 1:2 magnification, while it achieves life-size reproduction with the accessory. In the premium set, the lens and macro converter came in a red velvet lined leather lens case.

Overall, the lens is similar in optical construction to the legendary Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 Series 1 macro. The Series 1 line was the first line by a third-party manufacturer meant to compete directly with the top lenses from Nikon, Canon, and other industry leaders. The AT-X line has its origins as Tokina's own premium offering and parallel challenge to Vivitar's Series 1.

Rumors and speculation abound as to the relation of the relation of the original Vivitar Series 1 macro lenses and the other 90mm variants the followed. Tokina representatives deny any relation between the Vivitar macro and their AT-X lens, despite identical optical formulas. Regardless, both the Vivitar and Tokina 90mm lenses achieved critical acclaim and cult status among shooters of the time.

The legacy of the Tokina and Vivitar 90mmm f/2.5 macros lives on in the excellent Tamron 90mm f/2.8 AF model macro lenses, which have gained a loyal following in their own right.

Though originally bought to compliment my manual focus lenses for film bodies, the AT-X macro lens continues to render superior quality well into the digital age.

This review is divided into the following sections

01 Handling -- Build Quality, Fit and Finish
02 Handling -- Rings and Toggles
03 Usability -- General
04 Usability -- Optical Converter
05 Usability -- Manual Metering
06 Performance -- Manual Focus
07 Performance -- Sharpness and Image Quality
08 Performance -- Distortion and Aberrations
09 Performance -- Flare
10 Performance -- Isolation and Bokeh
11 Conclusion
12 Marketplace
14 Usage: Macro
15 Usage: Portraiture

[1] pill

[2] z

Note: If any other uses have this lens, the Vivitar Series 1 90mm macro, or their modern descendants, feel free to add your own experiences.

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