Tokina 17mm F3.5 AT-X 17 AF A-mount lens review by Seagull

reviewer#7567 date: Jun-14-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 50 f1.7
Minolta AF 50 f1.7
Sigma 24mm f2.8 Super Wide II
Beercan 70-210 f4
Minolta 35-105 f3.5/4.5
Minolta 35-70 f4
Sony 18-79 f3.5/5.6 kitlens
price paid:80 GBP
positive:Very sharp stopped down slightly
Build quality
Good Colour
Fast, quiet, accurate AF
negative:Fiddly lens cap
comment:Unexpected bargain from a dealer at a photographic fair. Few customers, end of day, huge stand to pack up and he hadn't made many sales. A bit of haggling got me this plus my Minolta 50mm f1.7 for 165 GBP, both mint condition. I only considered it as someone saw me looking and suggested the dealer had grossly underpriced it. I knew nothing about it but took a gamble with a view to selling it on at a profit. After using it, I decided I couldn't sell it.

Works perfectly on my A350 with no compatability issues. It's slightly soft wide open but very sharp stopped down. Using a tripod for landscapes in half decent light it's got fantastic depth of field and on the A350 is sharp corner to corner. Colours are almost as good as my best minolta lenses.

Flare can be an issue (to be expected) but was helped by the addition of a decent filter but you need to be careful as with any really wide lnes. Flare control is better however than my 24mm Sigma Super Wide II

Build quality is best described as 'rugged' but with a quality finish. As opposed to modern plastic lenses, then the older metal bodied Minoltas, this is by far the toughest. It appears to be made from a particularly thick walled cast/machined metal alloy and I suspect would be a great choice for a war zone photo journalist. You could just keep it pointed at the men with guns, keep snapping and if anyone gets accurate it would probably stop the bullet!

The non removeable metal hood is both a blessing and a slight niggle. It makes getting the lens cap on and off a bit of a fiddle but also protects the lens from dings and bashes. The only reason for keeping this lens in a padded lens bag is to pretect your other lenses!

I don't use this lens very often but when I do, it's usually those shots you can't plan in advance and need both real sharpness and very wide angle to do justice to the moment. Typically the awesome landscape/weather shots that you can never plan for and never see again. I won't sell it simply beceause I suspect replacing it with anything better would cost me way, way more than I paid. Definately a keeper.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 14
  • sharpness: 4.68
  • color: 4.71
  • build: 4.64
  • distortion: 4.36
  • flare control: 4.29
  • overall: 4.54 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania