Tokina 100-300mm F4 AT-X 340 AF-II A-mount lens review by redmalloc

reviewer#3255 date: Feb-12-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300APO
Sigma 70-300 DG APO
Tokina 80-400
price paid:300 USD (broken)
positive:Build
Handling
f4
negative:Focusing accuracy? (see review)
comment:New Comments
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.

Original Review
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.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 25
  • sharpness: 4.82
  • color: 4.80
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 4.96
  • flare control: 4.64
  • overall: 4.84
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