Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Started Sep 16, 2009 | Discussions
macdane Regular Member • Posts: 471
Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

I traded for a Tokina 28-80 f/2.8 AT-X PRO awhile back and found the performance really lacking. It was pretty much unusable wide-open and really didn't even approach decent performance until at least f/5.6 or so. I finally got around to sending it in for calibration last week and was surprised to find it waiting at my front door yesterday.

The notes THK sent back with the lens floored me and I'd like to share them with you:

Unit was thoroughly inspected and we have found nothing wrong with it. It meets factory specifications...This lens was designed for film cameras, not digital. The optical performance on a digital camera will not be the same as on a film camera.

Just to be sure THK was clear on the problem I was having, I included a composite of shots made with the lens at various apertures to illustrate just how bad it looks wide-open:

...and a control shot (at f/2.8) from my 70-200VR:

Now, I understand that one of the things you get when you spend a gazillion dollars on a Nikon 24-70 is the ability to shoot wide-open with negligible penalty, but this is ridiculous. I'd much rather have my 24-120VR back, but the reason I traded in the first place was for f/2.8 capability...which, clearly, I still don't have.

Any of you with experience in this sort of thing, what's your take? Do I just shrug and chalk it up as a learning experience? I want to use this lens!

Thanks,
Dane

 macdane's gear list:macdane's gear list
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rundadar Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
All (3) my 28-X0/f2.8 sucked exactly like yours...

...however, I bought them all second-hand and so was able to re-sell it without much financial loss.

Yes. It's a learning experience. If you still want an inexpensive midrange zoom with a 2.8 aperture - give the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 a try - not built like your Tokina but night-and-day better optically.
--
Cheers,

Alex Glickman

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rundadar/

miwo76 Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

I used to own this lens and the images you show are pretty much identical to what I experienced with it...it's pretty foggy and soft at f/2.8 and improves as you stop down...but I bought it for the f2.8 of course...I bought mine used on eBay as my first f2.8 zoom 'cause it was so cheap...but now I know why.

I owned it (bought it used for less than $300 CDN) and then traded it in for a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (DX format lens) which was light years sharper (and much lighter) than this lens at f/2.8.

You might want to consider the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 which has similar performance than the 17-50mm f/2.8 and will work on full frame cameras if you're looking for a reasonably cost-effective f/2.8 lens in that range.

I think the newer lens have specific coatings for digital sensors to improve contrast and sharpness and the Tokina 28-80mm f/2.8 just doesn't do well at f/2.8 on any digital body that I could review on.

Cheers,

Mike
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/miwo76

gareth12468 Contributing Member • Posts: 628
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Looks sharper than mine..... I sold mine a while and now I use a AF-S 24-85 instead.....

HenkL Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

it is less then mediocre performer on DX. On FX it is not that bad. I have a copy that front focusses . If you would correct for that, the results are not that bad. But...I mean the built... I wish all my new lenses were build like this!

gareth12468 Contributing Member • Posts: 628
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

HenkL wrote:

it is less then mediocre performer on DX. On FX it is not that bad. I have a copy that front focusses . If you would correct for that, the results are not that bad. But...I mean the built... I wish all my new lenses were build like this!

True, I like the build of this lens too.....

bgD300 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,552
You know, solid build isn't a good thing

Now, you can't drop it, collect the insurance and buy a decent nikkor 24-85mm.
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OP macdane Regular Member • Posts: 471
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Wow, I'm feeling rather naive. Having flashbacks to business law classes...implied warranty of merchantability. I wonder how Tokina can stay in business with products like this...?

Thanks for the feedback folks!

 macdane's gear list:macdane's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +10 more
E man Regular Member • Posts: 150
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Because so many of their other products are excellent?

macdane wrote:

I wonder how Tokina can stay in business with products like this...?

Thanks for the feedback folks!

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the_chris Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Dear Dane,

I've once tested the 28-80mm Tokina on my Fuji S5. I can confirm the softness wide open, even though it hasn't been as severe as in your case. To a varying degree, this kind of softness and lack of contrast can be found in almost all older lenses designed for use on film. It is even preferred by some photographers, especially in the portrait photography, so images look more flattering. This is because the optical design has once been laid out for the light gathering properties of film. Digital sensors do have different demands, which new lens designs contribute to. Nevertheless, some designs still rock concerning their results if compared to actual offerings when you take into account their acctual price on the used market. This includes several Tokina lenses as well. In general, when buying "outdated" designs, you are better of this prime lenses as their construction demand was lower than zooms which have gotten a longer way since then, profiting more from newer inventions like improved coatings and reduced production costs of spherical (e.g. molded type) elements as well as ED elements and similar.

To name some examples, even the Nikon 135mm F3.5 does not count to the most light sensitive lenses out there, it's sharpness is great, colors are vivid and the blur is very smooth. The 105mm F2.5 is probably one of the most famous examples, it's bokeh is quite similar to the famous and expensive 105DC (I compared it myself, this is first hand experience).

Speaking of Tokina, the 300mm F4 and the F2.8 model are said to represent good value as well. I count myself happy to be the owner of a Tokina 100-300mm F4. For the same price of a 70-300VR Nikon, this lens offers equivalent sharpness at 300/4 to the Nikon at 300/5.6, surpassing it at the same aperture. If you do shoot soccer like me, having an aperture of 4 and the long end really helps a lot. It makes the difference between 1/320s with motion blur at the hands and feets or shooting at 1/640 with tack sharp images wile background blur is improved.

So, do not demonize all older lens designs. As it is even with new ones, there are starfruits and lemons

Best regards,
Chris

helgep Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: All (3) my 28-X0/f2.8 sucked exactly like yours...

Well, my Tamron 28-75 sucked at 2.8, so take care to get a good copy.

I have tested a couple of Tokinas as well, and they were both that at 2.8. Others say the same, so it seems that the rule is that most/all Nikons are good/great at 2.8, some Tamrons are good others not, and all Tokinas are bad.

  • Helge

rundadar wrote:

...however, I bought them all second-hand and so was able to re-sell it without much financial loss.

Yes. It's a learning experience. If you still want an inexpensive midrange zoom with a 2.8 aperture - give the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 a try - not built like your Tokina but night-and-day better optically.
--
Cheers,

Alex Glickman

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rundadar/

nicolas33 New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

There seems to be a good degree of sample variation with the old tokina 2.8 zooms. I had two copies of the 28-70/2.6-2.8. One behaved similar to your 28-80 and the other one was a lot better, but still showed a distinct softness wide open. They are rather f/4 zooms with an f/2.8 option
In the end I sold both...

cosmerodrigues
cosmerodrigues Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

Well for some months ago I tested an used Tokina 28-70/2.6-2.8, and the results where almost the as Dane – “macdane” posted above.

At the time the lens was really cheap, an used f/2.8 zoom lens for 150 Euros, but the results where so bad the I returned it to the previous owner and got the money back.

Currently I have the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (Mechanical) and the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 (Motorised), at f/2.8. Both are good performers. At 50mm the 17-50 is not so good, and the 70-200 is excellent all the focal length from 70 to 200mm, the only problem is the focus speed …
But in the future I am looking forward to buy a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8.

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Novens2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,664
Re: Tokina 28-80 is supposed to suck???

My sigmas are all good wide open 18-50 macro 50-150 (at wide end 35-50 3.5) I would give up all my nikons first 16-85, 50 1.8, 35-70 2.8.

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