Tokina 20-35mm F3.5-4.5 AF A-mount lens review by ithinkso

reviewer#11965 date: Aug-30-2014
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
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 28-85 3.5/4.5
Sigma 24 2.8 "Superwide"
Sony 18-70
Sony 16-50 2.8
price paid:?? a loong time ago!
positive:Reasonably good performance and excellent build quality
negative:Filter ring rotates when focusing
I suspect there are better lenses out there
comment:This became my most frequently used lens when i acquired it in the late '80's. I was very pleased with the results it gave (on film of course, in those days) and continued to use it occasionally on film after I took up with digital in '07. I suspect most dyxum members would be interested in the performance of this lens on APS c but I've never even attached it to either my a100 or a77 (see my review of Sony 18-70).

I used to think this lens was big and heavy, but that was before the 16-50 2.8 came my way. This thing is like a feather in comparison!

I've been looking out for a reasonable priced used full frame DSLR for some time now and took the plunge recently. The fact that I already have a lens like this available makes full frame viable for me. Having tested it out today I would say it's on the good side of adequate, and I won't need to hurry to replace it (I have the focus speed set to slow just in case!).

Summing up. No need to seek this lens out (especially if you're on APS c). However, If you see one going cheap snap it up, and if someone sends you one for free in the post you'll be laughing!

Edit: 8 Months on from this review, the lens has still not found it's way onto my A77, but I have used it quite a lot on the A850 making long exposures with polarisers and ND filters. I'm generally pleased with the results. However, I'd still not wholeheartedly recommend it to others as the front element rotates when focussing and this is a nuisance when you have a polariser on and a filter holder. When set to MF the focus ring is loose and not positive in any way, making it easy to knock out of focus when adding a graduated filter, for example. This has resulted in a high percentage of unusable shots. If you're into this sort of technique or thinking about trying it out in future then you probably won't want make this lens your first choice. Having said that, I have had to make minimum corrections for distortion and I'm not actively seeking a replacement for it. I will be putting up with it's foibles for the time being.

You can see images I have made with this and my other reviewed lenses here

Edited 17/4/17. Since the Minolta 20mm 2.8 arrived in my stable, this lens is likely to go to a new home as I only retained it following the acquisition of a 19-35mm Zoom due to the 72mm filter size.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 7
  • sharpness: 3.71
  • color: 3.86
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 3.86
  • flare control: 3.71
  • overall: 3.83 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania