Tokina 20-35mm F2.8 AT-X 235 AF PRO A-mount lens review by trondeh

reviewer#586 date: Mar-15-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:18-70 (kit) 28-75/2.8
50/1.4, 28/2.8, 35/2
price paid:
positive:Sharp, little distortion, great colors.
negative:Problems with focusing at the wide end. Gives soft pictures below f5.6 unless care it taken when focusing
comment:This is a fine lens! Care must be taken at the wide end as it back-focuses on my 7D (which is calibrated by Minolta and is spot-on with other lenses). When I first got this lens, I was very disappointed with the extremely soft results I got at 20mm 2.8. After a while I figured out that it was the AF that failed. I assume that the reason it was OK at f4 and up was because of the wider DOF. Any way, It is easy to use manual focus and compensate for this, or as I often do lock focus on an object a bit closer. The DOF is big on 20mm any way so that is easy. Of course I would really like this lens to have precise focus all the time, but it has other great qualities that compensates for this flaw. I find this lens to be used almost as much as my 28-75/2.8 because of the great results I can get from it.

I changed the focusing screen to a Haoda split screen. After doing so, focusing manually AND strange enough, even auto-focus was spot on! This sounds crazy and I have no explanation why changing the screen also helped auto-focus with this lens. Does anyone have a clue why this happens?

I found that using a UV filter gave flare problems, even if the filter used was of good quality. When I removed the filter, I god much better quality from my pictures. I have changed my ratings accordingly.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 9
  • sharpness: 4.33
  • color: 4.56
  • build: 4.89
  • distortion: 4.78
  • flare control: 3.89
  • overall: 4.49 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania