Tokina 300mm F4 AT-X AF (AF 304) A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 13   
reviewer#15249 date: May-18-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70 - 300 G
Sony 70 - 400 G
price paid:460 Cad
positive:Size
Weight
Built in Hood
Built to Last
SHARPNESS
negative:Focus Dial Rotates
Non Removable Tripod Collar
Slight CA
Slight Loss of Contrast
comment:Tokina 300 F4 Review
This is a solid piece of Glass. Well built with a sturdy feel throughout. Handling was a mixed bag as the focus ring turns during autofocus forcing the user to adjust hand position to accommodate. Numerous times I was caught holding the lens in the wrong spot as I went to focus. On the plus side the front filter does not rotate when focusing so polarizers and filters work as expected. In manual focus the ring turns smoothly with about 180 degrees of throw. The lens is small (8 inches) and has a nice felt lined built in hood. I spent the last two weeks shooting this lens in every condition by itself and with a Tamron 1.4x Mx-AF MC4 teleconverter and a Promaster Spectrum 7 1.7x teleconverter. This is possible due to the constant F4 aperture which allows AF. I also shot a whole series of tests using the clear image zoom built into the Sony A77ii. The last tests I did pitted the lens against my Sony 70 - 300 G.
The Results. This lens is Sharp. Good at F4, Very Good at F5.6, Excellent at F8. There were some mild instances of chromatic aberration (easily fixed post). The autofocus is fast. It is a touch slower than SSM but still very good. Expected noise from screw driven focus system. Bokeh was buttery smooth and beautiful. The 70 - 300 G has long been my favorite Bokeh Monster. This lens is very close to that level of smooth. Contrast is decent not as good as new coated lenses, but easily fixed post as well.
The first day of shooting with the teleconverters was a disappointment. It was overcast and I had many instances of missed focus and was not pleased when pixel peeping. I had to use a high ISO of 1000 to maintain a decent shutter speed and suspect it was still not high enough. Thus my results. The second day of teleconverter testing was much better. Bright sunshine, low ISO, fast shutters and much better results. As with any lens using the teleconverters resulted in a slight drop in detail and caused some focus issues. Hardly noticeable in good light. In all instances using teleconverters this lens was sharper than the Sony 70 - 300 G at 300mm.
Without Teleconverters The 70 - 300 G was actually a winner in terms of sharpness. Until you get further away. On my shots that were more than 100 feet away the Tokina took the lead in sharpness again. I also felt that the tokina locked on a little better in lower light than the 70 - 300 G. Sometimes the G series both 300 and 400 indicate a focus lock but really are just slightly off. This happens more than I would like with both of these expensive lenses and if subject permits I often do a manual check with my G lenses to ensure a good focus. The Sony G lens showed better contrast but the Tokina contrast could easily be made as good as the Sony in post. The Tokina could shoot a full stop faster at F4 300mm where the 70 - 300G has a minimum F5.6. I also did a couple comparisons against my 70 -400G at 300mm. In terms of sharpness I could not tell much difference. So this 20 year old lens easily holds its own against new Sony G glass and even beats it in some instances.
This is one of only 3 options available in Minolta mount for AF 300 Constant F4 aperture. At less than half the price of the Minolta version. It is a fantastic deal. Those looking for a constant aperture with sharp results, better performance with teleconverters than the 70 - 300G and a lighter package than the 70 - 400 G. Look no further this lens fills a nice prime slot in any Sony shooters bag. Now that's only if you can find one!
reviewer#11318 date: Aug-22-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:500mm F8
135 1.8 CZ
price paid:450.00
positive:Sharp
Superb Build
Smooth Focus Ring
Small Form Factor
negative:Non
comment:I bought this used on ebay without even thinking about it. I think I waited 6 months for it to even show up in A-mount. For those that know, it's rare and even more rare for the sony mount.

First thing that struck me was the build. I couldn't believe how well made it was. I mean, I own lenses four times this price and it's just as well built in my opinion and its actually quite beautiful to look at. The weight and feel make it a true pleasure to hold in your hands. I especially like the built in sliding hood and the manual focusing ring. I found it to be smoother than most zooms I own costing much much more.

The AF is fairly silent as well. In fact, it never bothered me at all and I think it's fairly in line with Sony's SSM. It's not as fast, but I couldn't tell all that much. It does hunt in low light a bit though.

The optical quality is what I was really impressed by. With smooth bokeh and super sharp images I couldn't be more happier. It really is the perfect size, weight and quality for excellent pictures at this focal length.

Overall, I now know why these rarely hit the market. It's because of how well they are made. The optical quality is very sharp with excellent IQ in my opinion. If you think about it, the Minolta 300mm F4 costs 3 times as much. From what I heard its not much better. Maybe that's why it took me so long to find a used one. Even better is the fact that its the perfect size and weight. Compared to my reflex 500mm the IQ is much better- MUCH better. The bokeh is smooth as butter as well. I'm actually thinking of ditching the 500mm F8 now. I like the colors on this much more and the sharpness is up to par with high end glass. with a Kekno 1.4 tele your at 420 and 5.6 which is still very respectable- all of this in a small premium package. I couldn't be happier and its a total keeper.

If you can get this don't even hesitate and buy it. I bought this one quickly as it was experiencing high traffic near the beginning of an auction already. Glad I did- one of my favorite lenses.

Update 1/17/14:
Yep, 500mm reflex goes for sale this weekend. I have gotten my best shots on this lens last year. With a teleconverter it just makes no sense to use the 500mm anymore. This isn't much heavier in my opinion. Just a fantastic lens even after a few solid months of steady use.
reviewer#11305 date: Aug-12-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 300/4 APO HS G
Sigma AF 300/2.8 EX DG (IF) APO
Minolta AF 300/2.8 APO/APO HS G
Tokina AT-X 300 F/2.8 AF PRO
Sigma AF 70-200 F/2.8 EX DG APO
Tamron SP AF 70-200 F/2.8 Di
Tamron SP AF 70-300 Di USD
Tokina SD AF 35-200 Macro
Minolta AF 80-200 F/2.8 APO/APO HS G
Sigma AF 100-300 F4 D EX (IF) APO/EX DG (IF) APO
Minolta AF 500/8 Reflex
price paid:£256.65 (used)
positive:Price
Build quality
Size
IQ
Weight
Sliding lens hood
Finish
CA/PF control
negative:No rear drop-in filter facility
Hard to find in A-Mount (plenty via eBay Japan)
some vignetting with hood fully extended on FF
comment:This lens is darned hard to find in A-Mount and is slightly smaller than a 70/80-200/2.8 and it's pretty lightweight for a metal/glass lens though the build quality and it's compact size is superb.

Compared directly to the Minolta 300/4, this lens blows it away. Not just in terms of weight and size, but in price and more importantly IQ and handling. It's 1/2 to 1/3 the price and 2x - 3x better. There's no contest between the Minolta 300/4 in direct comparison to this little gem. It's sharp and there's no evidence of excessive CA/PF or barrel and pincushion distortion. In short, it's almost the perfect fixed aperture telephoto-prime lens.

If you ever get the chance to own this lens, then don't let the opportunity pass you by. Get it! No real need for a 300/2.8 that can cost up to 10x more.
reviewer#11106 date: May-11-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-400 APO
Sony Reflex 500/8
Sony 300 F2.8G II
price paid:400 EUR (used)
positive:Sharpness, Colors, Bokeh, AF, Build, Size, Integrated Hood, Tripod collar.
negative:Rare Lens.
Slow focus in dark (A900).
No Focus Limiter.
comment:I really love this lens.
I find the sharpness very good on full frame camera (a900) straight from F/4 even in the corners at the frame.
The bokeh it's smooth, the colors and the contrast are good, aberrations are not problem.

The build is great, I love the size and the sliding hood.



Here You can find some full-size samples with this lens on A900:
http://www.alphaforum.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=1545
reviewer#9792 date: Jan-15-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 200 2.8; Tamron 200-400; beercan
price paid:450 USD Used
positive:Weight, length, price.
negative:AF hunts and is not SSM (but then it'd be 2x as expensive)
comment:I finally found one of these bad boys on EBAY! My primary use for telephoto lens's is surf photography. I had originally used the Minolta 200 2.8 on a Sony A700, but I found that I need a longer lens (especially when I upgraded to the @850.)I used the Tamron 200-400 f/5.6 for a couple of sessions as a temporary solution, but that lens suffers from slow slow slow af, CA, and poor IQ unless you shoot at F/8 or smaller. The tokina is an extremely great value considering its almost as good as the Minolta 200 2.8. Tokina color and contrast are not as good as the Minolta 2.8, but that is not difficult to correct in the digital age (this was probably a deal breaker in the film age.) I'd love it if the Tokina was a 2.8, but that would dramatically increase the cost, length, and weight. I'd really like a chance to compare this lens with the Minolta 300 F/4 (which is around 2.5x the cost.) I'm confident that this lens is a far greater value. Now if I could only get my hands on the Minolta 600 F/4
reviewer#6871 date: Feb-5-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 80-200xi
Sony - AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6
Canon 300mm F4
price paid:350E (old stock)
positive:This lens is very sharp and can be picked up very affordable if you're lucky (since these are rare). Also the build quality is superb, the autofocus is for the price fast enough but probally wouldn't satisfy some birders or sports photographers.
Good bokeh
negative:It's a nice lens but you wont find them easily since they are rare.
comment:Superb tele lens for the beginning wildlife and close up photographer. Although this lens is a prick in close up (long minimum focus distance) it delivers a superb bokeh and nice sharp pictures at the minimum focal distance.
This is the perfect telephoto prime lens for the beginner.
reviewer#6649 date: Dec-29-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-300 Apo
price paid:400 €
positive:Build Quality, Sharp, Lens hood buil in, AF fast
negative:heavy, but it is a 300mm...
comment:Vey good lens with small distortion AND GOOD AF.
reviewer#5300 date: Apr-28-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO
price paid:305€ (Used)
positive:Build Quality (It is a Tokina ...)
AF Fast in good light condition
Light for a 300/4
Support TC
Lens hood included in the lense (you can't loose it)
negative:AF hunts in low light condition
comment:Well, as with my other tokina lens, I have been happy with the build Quality

AF is fast in good light condition.

IQ is good at 4 and become it become very sharp at 5.6 - 6.3

I have tried it with my 2x Tamron TC and as far as i can close at 11 the IQ is fine (not good but fine)
I have also tried the Kenko Pro DG 1.4 TC and the result is a little better than with TC2 (not a lot)

I can recommend this lens as a great Price performance ratio

AF gets much faster with A77 than it was on A700
reviewer#3742 date: Jun-21-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:275 euro (used)
positive:Good, compact build
Sharp
Handholdable
pretty fast on A700
negative:smallish tripod mount
a little hunting in dim light
comment:Was looking for a longer lens than the beercan and found this one cheap. Overall I'm very happy with it's qualities such as build, sharpness and speed on the A700. I like that you can shoot handheld because it doesn't feel too heavy.
Now I would like to find the best possible 1.4xTC to go with it..I heard kenko pro DG's are good with almost no IQ loss.
Update: works fine with kenko 1.4 DG pro.
reviewer#3114 date: Dec-26-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 400mm f5.6
Sigma 50-500mm DG
Tamron 200-400mm
Tokina 400mm f5.6
price paid:$700 (used)
positive:Compact build
Sharpness
negative:I haven't fully tested yet against the sun but limited test showed adequate flare and CA performances using the A700
comment:sample test results in this link: http://art4less.smugmug.com/gallery/3852869#222966884
The hawk shots were against the sun/sky.
reviewer#2350 date: May-24-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikon AF ED-IF 300/f4 & 300/f2.8 AF-I
price paid:200€ (used)
positive:Nice and compact.
Very sharp wide open.
Nice colour rendition.
negative:AF "locks up" frequently.
comment:I have this lens in 'Nikon mount. I bought this lens expecting performance similiar to my AT-X 400 AF SD which is ok but not really great. To my surprice the AT-X 300 outperformed my Nikon 300 f4 in terms of sharpness, had a very nice colour rendition and a very nice build (Tokina normally does). It is also quite compact. I sold my Nikon AF ED-IF 300 F4 since it was constantly outperformed by the smaller Tokina. My Nikon 300/f2.8 AF-I does, fortunally, outperform the Tokina.
reviewer#2166 date: Apr-16-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-300 DG APO
price paid:321 € (used)
positive:sharpness, size, price
negative:only 4.0
comment:Have a look here for my mini review.
[URL]http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=14819[/URL]

Having only owned this lens for 10h it's hard to give good ratings but I will come back and update this review.

I have left flare and distortion at 3 because I can't comment on those just yet.

Update after 2 days : I love this lens, it's a lot sharper than the sigma and very usable wide open !
I'm alreay looking forward to the weekend :)

Update : I still love this lens :)
reviewer#1681 date: Jan-21-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:tamron 55-200, sigma 75-200
price paid:370 EUR (used)
positive:not-so-heavy, not-so-big, solid build, cheap
negative:AF hunts often, not razor-sharp, colors could be better
comment:I bought this lens used, because i couldn't afford a new one, especially a minolta or sony.
Overall I'm happy with it. It's very well built, solid and feels good in the hand, focus ring is confortable, built-in hood is very good. It is also relatively compact and "light".
The only real problem is AF, which is just fast enough but hunts often, expecially when used with a 1.5x teleconverter (kenko dc in this case).
Sharpness is good even if not the best, and it keeps a good level when coupled with a teleconverter.
I think this lens is a good choice if f4 is enough for you, it will let you save a lot when compared to many of the other similar lenses.

Update: After better evaluation, 5 for flare but 4 for color
reviews found: 13   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 13
  • sharpness: 4.73
  • color: 4.69
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 4.85
  • flare control: 4.77
  • overall: 4.81

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