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

reviewer#9566 date: Nov-5-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:SAL 18-250 (distortion only)
price paid:300 USD (used)
positive:-built (as in "like a tank")
-distortion and vignetting largely not an issue
negative:-passable flare control
-built (zoom ring unglued)
comment:This is a Tokina PRO lens and it does live up to this tag.

Overall remarks: This lens has a short zoom range (20-35 mm) but fast aperture (f/2.8) resulting in physically not very large but quite heavy, conical shape body. The lens is all-metal, built "like a tank", but I was surprised the zoom ring on my copy came unglued only after a month use (second hand, though). Filter diameter is 77 mm, probably a bit large to work with a flash on the hotshoe (I have not tried it). Once you start to use it, you will understand that the narrow zoom range makes perfect sense but on a full frame/film camera only. Autofocus works great on A900 (firmware 1.2). I use it at 20 mm 80 % of the time. This lens has 2 main uses: 1. Landscape 2. No flash interior and group shots inside. It has been carefully built to suit those two purposes and it performs admirably for both, especially at this price. If you use it for other purpose, in all likelyhood it will disappoint you, but it won't be lens' fault. In my opinion this is a highly specialized tool as a pro would require.

Flare: Flare control is not great but not horrendous either. There will be flare if shot directly into the sun or bright lights but those situations tend not to produce keepers anyway, so that is the least of your problems.

Distortion: Virtually free of barrel/pincusion distortion. Sweet!

Chromatic aberation: Prone to it at f/2.8 in strong light. It disappears by f/4. Someone who would shoot landscapes at f/2.8 will not get many keepers for other reasons (such as shallow dof), so that is, again, the least of your problems. For interior shots, it is hard to find the strong white highlights that can make CA visible, so not much issue there either.

Color: Simply great. Jpegs directly from camera show saturated, warm and contrasty images.

Sharpness: Excellent at f/4 and lower. Excellent in the centre, good to very good in the corners af f/2.8. To get the maximum corner sharpness at f/2.8 you would need good focusing and relatively flat subject. In such situations corners are about as sharp as the centre.

Vignetting: Even at f/2.8, pretty much none to speak of.

Summary: A great specialized tool for landscape/interior no flash shots on film/full frame. Please check the sample images uploaded, too, and make your own conclusion.

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