Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

Started Aug 2, 2010 | Discussions
narddogg81 Senior Member • Posts: 1,029
Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

Occasionally I see a Tokina ATX-Pro 80-200 2.8 come up for sale on ebay or the 'other' forum for what seems to me a good price for this kind of lens. Everything I read about this lens seems good, except for an awkward mf/af clutch mechanism, weight, and some softness at 2.8 (which is to be expected). Has anybody used both this lens and the tamron 70-200 and can compare them from an IQ perspective? Just want a little more info to help decide if i want to snap this up the next time this pops up.

Thanks in advance
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gkreth Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Ditto!

narddogg81 wrote:

Everything I read about this lens seems good, except for an awkward mf/af clutch mechanism, weight, and some softness at 2.8 (which is to be expected). Has anybody used both this lens and the tamron 70-200 and can compare them from an IQ perspective?

Good question. I have seen some of the same items as you, and I too have wondered how the Tokina compares to Tamron, and to the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 as well.

My biggest concern is "how much" softness wide open, especially at 200mm, when compared to the Sigma or Tamron wide open at 200mm. I would most likely use a lens like this at full zoom and wide open (e.g., for indoor or night-time sports, middle school and high school level).

Greg

helimech Contributing Member • Posts: 598
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8
1

Can't comment directly on the Tamron other than to say IQ wise it is probably the best all-round at the focal range/speed. The Tokina I did have and its main problem for me was CA, pretty bad in any sort of sunlight until it was stopped down to 5.6-8, where it was still there but acceptable. And yes it was a little soft wide open.

The Tamron's main weakness seems to be build quality, allot of problems with sticky aperture levers inside the lens.

I also had a older model Sigma 70-200 (non-macro I believe) before and I would rate it allot better than the Tokina.

I sold the Tokina and haven't replaced it yet because there doesn't seem to be a stand out lens in this category right now:

Tamron: so-so build
Sigma: IQ not as good (still good just a step down IMO)
Pentax 50-135: sorry awesome IQ but too many SDM failures for me
Tokina: no longer made for pentax, older ones so-so IQ

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snostorm Senior Member • Posts: 2,044
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

Hi Nathan,

I bought my Tokina 80-200 2.8 AT-X Pro AF II after it was discontinued, just about the time that Sigma APO Macro had also been discontinued, and any 80-200/2.8 AF in K mount was as rare a class of lens as you could find. I got it @ $400 USD in EX condition from KEH. . .

The lens is, as most reviewers state, a little soft wide open, but this is only when compared to the best lenses of this class. My other lenses in the 200mm class are an A*200/2.8, Tamron SP180/2.5 Adaptall 2, Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 Adaptall 2, and a new Sigma EX 180/3.5 APO DG Macro. All of these outperform the Tokina optically, but I still keep it, since it fills a slot I only occasionally need, and I've never been able to justify spending more money to replace it for the amount I use the FL range and speed.

AFAIC, it probably falls a bit below the new Tamron and Sigma models optically and in handling, but not so far as to be out of what I'd consider to be a "Pro" class lens optically or in build quality. Realize that it may be softer, but it's by no means a soft lens. It is easily capable of capturing fine feather detail in birds at close range wide open and stands easily in a higher class than any consumer class lens in the FL range.

I'd certainly like it if the tripod collar were removable, and I'd like to be able to switch from AF to MF on the lens without as much fiddling, but I've gotten used to working around these handling deficiencies, so they're really not a big deal. I'm used to dealing with what PF and CA it does produce in PP, so this is not a big deal for me either. For the money I paid, it was a steal, and I have no regrets, nor plans to replace it.

For me, a fast 80-200 is a great zoo zoom, a good, but heavier and more intimidating than necessary outdoor candids lens (I definitely prefer the DA*50-135 for this purpose, both indoors, especially with external flash, and outdoors), and a lens that might have some use for lower light sports if you are reasonably close to the action.

If you are considering this class of lens as a high use item, I'd probably go with one of the new models -- the Tamron would be my personal preference, since I'd probably want to use a TC on occasion, and the Tamron, with the screw drive AF has considerably more universal AF compatibility with existing AF TCs.

Scott

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Pete Regular Member • Posts: 278
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

I own this lens, though I don't use it very much. It is built like a tank. It is heavy. It's definitely a pro-grade lens.

Optically, it is, as noted, soft at f/2.8. That was a problem for me, because I was using it to shoot from the back of churches during weddings. I bought the 50-135 DA* and haven't looked back IQ wise. On my *ist-D or K10, there was simply no comparison. For me, it was the difference between a usable photo and a dead one. It was soft, though, and the cameras often struggled to focus it under low light.

That said, closed down a stop or two, and under better light even at 2.8 (yes), the lens is pretty darn good. When you get to f 5.6 or so, it is fine. Almost like the glass doesn't resolve enough to create an accurate image under low light, or somehow shifts focus. If anything, the back-focusing was maybe the greater problem. Not sure.

So, a mixed bag. Would I buy it? Maybe, but not if I was buying it for wide-open shots under low light. If you wanted it for outdoor work, other than the weight, it would be great due to its build quality.

Pete

MusicDoctorDJ Forum Pro • Posts: 12,400
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

I have a couple of manual focus Tokina lenses from my film days and they were pretty impressive.

But the only Tokina AF lens I have experience with is the 19-35, which was a very nice lens.

I've sold a lot of Tamron and Sigma 70-200 f:2.8 lenses and this is what I have heard from my customers:

  • The Sigma auto focuses a little faster and I've seen many come in for repair . . .

  • The Tamron is sharper and ocassionally has purple fringing . . . and I've never seen one come in for repair.

The Tamron 70-200 f:2.8 will be my next lens for my Pentax DSLR's.

I have a Tamron 70-300 Di LD and a Pentax 80-320 (pretty sure it is Tamron made) and they are both very sharp.

Image quality-wise I can't tell them apart.

Took this of a fox hunting prairie dogs with my *istDS and Tamron 70-300:

Lens at 240mm, aperture priority, f:6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO 400, handheld, taken 6-8-2010

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J. D.
Colorado

topgun2007 Contributing Member • Posts: 974
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

narddogg81 wrote:

Occasionally I see a Tokina ATX-Pro 80-200 2.8 come up for sale on ebay or the 'other' forum for what seems to me a good price for this kind of lens. Everything I read about this lens seems good, except for an awkward mf/af clutch mechanism, weight, and some softness at 2.8 (which is to be expected). Has anybody used both this lens and the tamron 70-200 and can compare them from an IQ perspective? Just want a little more info to help decide if i want to snap this up the next time this pops up.

Thanks in advance
--
My PPG

I can't comment on the Sigma but I've used the Tokina ATX-Pro and like it very much. Where this lens came in handy for me was that I shot a lot of football and la crosse games for a friend of mine who had his son playing in them. I found this focal length perfect these sports and the images were great. Of course I wasn't shooting wide open. I also shot a lot of pictures at the Kentucky Derby a couple of years ago and it there turned out great. Overall, I am very pleased with the lenses and since I got it at a very reasonable price 6 or 7 years ago, there is no way I will replace it. It has also held up very well. Hope all of this helps.

Regards, Jim

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=ARTIST&subSection=7472316&subSubSection=0&language=EN

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Cymru3 New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 vs Tamron 70-200 2.8

I use the Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 2.8 all the time for sports/action photography. It does a great job. Naturally, when stepped down the photos become sharper. With that being said, my friend says the same thing regarding his Canon L 70-200 2.8.  The lens is built like a tank and if the camera settings are correct, it will serve you well with professional results.

topgun2007 wrote:

narddogg81 wrote:

Occasionally I see a Tokina ATX-Pro 80-200 2.8 come up for sale on ebay or the 'other' forum for what seems to me a good price for this kind of lens. Everything I read about this lens seems good, except for an awkward mf/af clutch mechanism, weight, and some softness at 2.8 (which is to be expected). Has anybody used both this lens and the tamron 70-200 and can compare them from an IQ perspective? Just want a little more info to help decide if i want to snap this up the next time this pops up.

Thanks in advance
--
My PPG

I can't comment on the Sigma but I've used the Tokina ATX-Pro and like it very much. Where this lens came in handy for me was that I shot a lot of football and la crosse games for a friend of mine who had his son playing in them. I found this focal length perfect these sports and the images were great. Of course I wasn't shooting wide open. I also shot a lot of pictures at the Kentucky Derby a couple of years ago and it there turned out great. Overall, I am very pleased with the lenses and since I got it at a very reasonable price 6 or 7 years ago, there is no way I will replace it. It has also held up very well. Hope all of this helps.

Regards, Jim

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/home#section=ARTIST&subSection=7472316&subSubSection=0&language=EN

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