Tokina 100-300mm F4 AT-X 340 AF-II A-mount lens review by redmalloc
|redmalloc#3255 date: Feb-12-2008|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta 100-300APO|
Sigma 70-300 DG APO
|price paid:||300 USD (broken)|
|negative:||Focusing accuracy? (see review)|
Over a longer time period I have come to appreciate this lens more and more - though I use it very infrequently. If you can find one it is a worthy alternative to the Sigma 100-300/4.
The only thing I should add to my original review, is that I've noticed at f4 moderate to strong CA in typical high contrast areas (tree branches against bright sky) which I failed to mention below. Also there are occasional situations where flare can wash out the contrast.
I bought this lens from eBay in broken condition (condition stated in auction). The AF was not working properly and would often get "stuck". I sent it off to THK Photo (official Tokina west coast repair). They repaired it quickly and for about $100. Once back it looked and worked like new.
I purchased this lens for a specific wildlife safari I was planning to Kanha NP India. A year before I went to Sasan Gir India with the Sigma 70-300 DG APO and was disappointed with its low-light + 300mm performance.
As far as comparing the 2 lenses I can say that the Tokina 100-300 was quite satisfactory in areas where the Sigma failed me and the extra cost and size/weight were well worth the trade off.
I really like the build of this lens. The weight and handling on the A700 actually came to be something I appreciated. The zoom feels very smooth and pleasant to adjust. The focus ring is a little slow for manual focusing but at the same time gives precise control.
As far as optical quality goes, my wife tells me its great (and she is a good authority on this). I write this in a funny way since right now I am looking too critically at my pictures - especially since many of my pictures were mainly taken at high ISO (800+).
Unfortunately the lens' AF broke during the trip. Fortunately it broke in such a way that it only affected focusing near minimum focusing distance and I was able to continue shooting through the trip with it. I'll be sending it back to THK for a re-repair since evidently they didn't do it right the first time.
Speaking of AF, I found it to be quite fast on the A700. In a few situations it surprised me with how well it focused on some fast moving birds. On the 7D it is obviously slower but not terrible. I do wonder if the fast focusing motor of the A700 was what killed the AF though... If I did have a complaint about the AF, it would be that it isn't as accurate as I would like - but maybe that was due to the failing AF system in my specific lens.
Overall I really enjoyed using this lens. I did some research before I went on this trip and was trying to decide between the Sigma 100-300/4 (similar to the Tokina) and a Minolta 200/2.8 with TC (~300/4). In hind sight I know that I made the right decision.