Tokina 400mm F5.6 SD AT-X 400 AF A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 20   
reviewer#9688 date: Dec-12-2011
sharpness: 2
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta Xi 100-300
Minolta 75-300 big beercan
Sony 75-300
Tamron SP 300 telemacro
price paid:200GBP used
positive:build quality
negative:soft!!!!
comment:Softest lens I ever used!!! Tried stopping down to F9 but still very soft, and that is the smallest aperture I would use in the real life. This lens made me want to apologise other lenses I called soft in the past. Sorry you guys were much better than this one!!! Returned to the seller within a week.

I arbitrarily gave 4 to the ratings other than sharpness and build. Yes it is beautifully built and not too heavy. If you don't care the optical quality, then go ahead!
reviewer#9212 date: Jul-7-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 300/4,
Minolta 100-300 APO D
price paid:300 USD (used. mint)
positive:Vivid colors,
Very well built,
compact and lightweight,
fast AF,
good bokeh
negative:Rotating/annoying focus ring,
large CA,
little soft
comment:Not very sharp on FF 24MP body, a lot of CA is visible. However, it produces very nice colors and bokeh. Build quality and compact size/weight are really impressive.
reviewer#8117 date: Oct-19-2010
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Tamron 200-400/5.6
Tokina 300/4 AT-X 304
price paid:
missing
positive:light
AF is OK
negative:soft at 5.6
comment:nice lens (for its price)
has some AC (not to much but it needs post prod correction)
This lens is very light for a 400 mm

quite happy about it
reviewer#6972 date: Feb-27-2010
sharpness: 3
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-50 f/4
28-75 f/2.8
50 f/1.8
100 f/2.8
70-210 f/4
price paid:130 usd
positive:Excellent build quality
Excellent built in lens hood.
Good AF response
Good color balance
negative:Soft
Flat contrast
comment:By far the the softest lens in my bag. But, it also has much more reach. Major aberration on high contrast, but mostly just a problem against a hot bright sun sky.

The beercan is significantly sharper, with more vivid color, and better aberration control. Not as sharp as a 70-300G, in fact, a cropped 300G would probably show more detail than this. Not fair though comparing a $130 film lens to a modern G though, just wanted to illustrate the point.

Its sharpness isn't bad, but its not good. Its especially soft at and near hyperfocal distance, and stopping down does little to sharpen.

Build quality is EXCELLENT, could not nitpick a single thing about it.

All things considered, at the price I am thrilled with this lens. If you want a 400mm under $200, this is an excellent choice.
reviewer#6518 date: Dec-4-2009
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 500 f8
price paid:280 USD used
positive:sharp, especially stopped down to f8
cheap
easy to cary and shoot handheld
built like a tank
built-in hood is a bonus
negative:only 72mm filters I own
hunts a bit in low light
comment:This was my first long tele lens. It performed very well on my A100 when shooting stationary wildlife in decent light. But it really came to life on the A700. The focus is so much faster that I hardly miss any shots at all any more. Stopped down, it is really sharp (but still very usable wide open). It's small enough and light enough that it is not a problem at all to carry on long hikes. I have been happy on more than one occasion that it was in my back pack. Until I get a new 70-400, this will be my main wildlife lens.




reviewer#4865 date: Feb-15-2009
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-200mm f/4.5
Minolta 75-300mm f/4.5 - 5.6 (new)
Nikon 300mm AF-S f/4.0
price paid:400 USD (near mint)
positive:Very durable
Relatively light weight
Relatively compact
Inexpensive
Decent sharpness
Good color rendition
Very accurate AF
negative:Terrible spherical aberration
comment:This is one of the most compact, lightweight, and durable lenses of its kind. It can be hand held on both full frame and 1.5X crop bodies, with a steady hand and SSS turned on. Otherwise, a tripod is recommended. Color rendition is very good and sharpness is more than acceptable at all apertures. Autofocus is not only fast, but also impressively accurate on the Alpha camera bodies.

Unfortunately, this lens is nearly unusable on high resolution sensors, such as those in the A350 and A900. Massive spherical distortion causes a "seeing double" effect that can not be corrected with software. This is what several reviewers have mistakenly called "chromatic aberration" (or "CA"), but it is actually uncorrectable spherical aberration. It is the worst I have ever seen on any lens and it destroys this otherwise near perfect Tokina telephoto. Stopping down does little or nothing to reduce this aberration. Lower resolution sensors (such as the A200) might render this aberration less noticeable, but test before you buy.
reviewer#3432 date: Apr-5-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO
price paid:$400 USD (used)
positive:- Durable build
- Light weight for 400m lens
- Sharp
- Built in lens hood
negative:- CA shooting wide open in high contrast situations
comment:Ran across this lens at a local camera shop. From what I've read, these are hard to come by in good used condition. I really wasn't needing a 400mm lens but for the price, couldn't pass it up! I took the lens out to the local state park and had a BLAST shooting birds, lizards, butterflies, etc. As others have said, you can easily hand hold this lens when shooting ISO 100-200...also using the steady shot feature of the Sony A700 helps too. This is not a fast focusing lens when going through the entire focusing range; however, when attempting to focus within small ranges, auto focus is relatively quick and spot on! I was actually amazed at how many of my shots were perfectly focused on the first attempt. I did notice some CA when shooting wide open in full sun. Nothing that can't be fixed with a little post processing. I feel I definitely got my money's worth with this lens. Oh and something others haven't mentioned, this lens is nice to have when trying to get a good shot of lizards or reptiles. You can stand about 8-9 ft away and get an excellent close-up shot without scare'n off the critters. The lens provided good sharpness/IQ but not comparable to "G" glass. If you ever run across one, pick it up...you'll have a lot of fun with this lens.
reviewer#2841 date: Oct-15-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:Sigma 400mm APO, minolta 50mm F1.7, Sony 18-70mm
price paid:300 USD (used)
positive:Small, light, sharp, good contrast and color. Close focus.
negative:Slow AF tends to hunt, bad CA in high contrast situations at F5.6,
comment:Overall a good lens. The AF is fast if it gets locked on, but tends to hunt and overshoot if it is uncertain. The CA is quite evident, moreso than on the sigma, though the color and contrast is better hands on. I would say the sigma has faster AF, but that's because it doesn't focus as close as the Tokina.
reviewer#2565 date: Jul-18-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28mm f2.8
50mm f1.7
100mm f2.8 macro
price paid:Ł97
positive:Excellent build
Built in hood
Tripod collar
Light for a 400mm
negative:Little slow on AF sometimes
f5.6
comment:Best virtue is that it is handholdable ( providing ISO is high enough ) which is why I bought it.
Solid build which is a Tokina trademark on many lenses.
All round solid performer especially at the price.
I find the built-in hood a benefit.
Good and bright to look through.
Reasonable focus distance.
OK with a 1.5xTC and in good conditions still gives AF. Usable with a 2.0xTC but you are in manual world.
For the money what more do you want ?!
reviewer#2434 date: Jun-11-2007
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 170-500mm APO, Canon EF 300mm + Tamron 1.4x tele-converter.
price paid:250 USD (used)
positive:Sharp >= F6.3, Well built, Relatively light weight, Very inexpensive.
negative:Occasional CA at high contrast situation. Sluggish AF especially when the motor needs to turn a lot.
comment:This is an inexpensive but sharp 400mm prime lens. It is both compact and light weight. Excellent for hand-held birding if you can live with its relatively slower AF (might not be fair to compared with a Canon L lens) and occasional CA.

The IQ is quite sharp when stopped down. At f8 it has about the same sharpness as a Canon EF 300mm f4 + 1.4X TC at f4. While the IQ is little soft wide-opened it improves quite a bit after f6.3 and up. Occasionally CA is obvious when a white object and strong light meets.

After playing with it for a while I figured out a trick to cope with its sluggish AF when flying objects were involved. I focused in advance an easy focused area of the same distance as my shooting targets/or infinity before the actual shooting started. In reduced motor movement I could shoot with spot focus a flying egret or a dove without too much difficulty.

To avoid the CA I set the camera's contrast level to the minimum when shooting a white target such as the egret.

Update1:

Adding a 1.4x Tele-converter my Sony A100 can still AF nicely with one of the four corner AF points with almost no hunting at all. I have obtained some nice BIF photos this way.

It works with Sigma APO 1.4x TC as well as Tamron 1.4x TC (with 4 corner AF points basically)

Update2:

Sadly, My A200 ripped the internal gear of this nice lens. It was in the "Eye-start" mode and trying to focus while I hold the focus ring. BTW, the focus ring turns under both AF/MF modes.
reviewer#2319 date: May-16-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.6
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:tamron 70-300 di
price paid:Ł179
positive:light
fast auto focus
build
negative:none yet
comment:this is my first lens review
i do not have nor ever used some of the real top glass
compared with the tamron 70-300 this lens is streets ahead, have only had it one day, the focus is much faster, much easier to hold and much, much better built, have found the lens to be very sharp, all most as sharp as my 50 1.7 (this is the sharpest lens i have), think this lens will be great if it gets enough light, needless to say i'm selling the 70-300
reviewer#1945 date: Mar-11-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:I haven't tried any other 400mm lenses (or more).
price paid:200€
positive:Sharp stopped down.
Excellent build.
Internal focus.
Tripod collar.
Cheap!
negative:Alot(!) of CA in contrast situations.
Slooow focus (on my 7D).
comment:This lens can deliver some sharp pictures with good bokeh and pretty good colors. Although it has some really bad CA sometimes. I've tried this lens for a while now and have got some good results and alot of bad. In good light (sunshine) it's pretty easy to handhold and still get sharp results. But my best shots are with the lens on a tripod. I'm very satisfied with it's performance due to its price and I'll keep use it untill I have the cash to a sig 400 macro or Tamron 200-500.
reviewer#1703 date: Jan-25-2007
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 500/8
Sigma 300/4
price paid:
missing
positive:Range
Relatively cheap on second hand market
Solid performance
Compact size for the range
negative:CA
A bit slow
Not the best AF performance
Tripod collar can't be taken off.
Not really up to the a900 sensor
comment:I purchased this lens mostly as a curiosity; it was cheap, from a reliable seller and I wanted to have a prime lens in this range.
I wasn't disappointed but I wasn't thrilled either. It does a solid job for the price and I guess most owners will be satisfied (if not expecting G glass performance)
Stopping it down a bit helps with sharpness and purple fringing.
AF performance is solid; I can't say that is slow but certainly isn't for fast action shooting. If something is missing on this lens then it's a focus limiter which would help a lot when needed.
The lens is not up to the a900 sensor capability but so aren't many older cheaper lenses.
**Full frame**
25MP found in a900 is just too much of resolution for this lens. It is usable but not up to what i would like to have (except in emergency).
reviewer#1021 date: Jul-16-2006
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Tokina 80-400 f4.5-5.6
price paid:
missing
positive:Good built. Light. Even sharpnest from center to edge compare to the Tokina 80-400. Build-in hood.
negative:Purple fringing in high contrast area.
Non-removable tripod collar.
comment:A great lens if you can avoid high contrast situation. No longer in production and hard to find in the second hand market.

Sharpnest is great at f8.
reviewer#623 date: Mar-24-2006
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX with 1.4 x telecon.
price paid:
missing
positive:Well built, lightweight, and portable. Fast and sharp enough for most wildlife use. Good value and fun to use.
negative:Only 5.6, so flexibility limited for low light and action.
comment:Having a great time with this lens on my 5D. I've had to work on my technique for hand held shots but the results are good and improving as I get more experience with it, and plenty sharp with a monopod. I agree that its one of the best values for this focal length, and I'll use this more than I would a heavier F4-4.5.
reviewer#436 date: Jan-23-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 400 5.6
price paid:
missing
positive:lightweight, sharp, 72mm filter size
negative:discontinued; 5.6 aperture
comment:My wife & I each have one of these. wish they had not been discontinued, but everyone wants a zoom, it seems. Even with an all metal body, this is an easy to use, lightweight lens for its focal length.
reviewer#236 date: Nov-24-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Not compared
price paid:
missing
positive:Light, easy to handle
negative:Focus can be a bit slow at times if working throguh the range
comment:Generally agree with others. Ratings may or may not be "on" as I've little experience with primes like this. I shot some fairly contrasty shots at SD WAP and didn't notice excessive CA - can't really say I noticed it at all. Using RawShooter Premium, which is said to do a very good job of controlling CA so that may be a factor in observing the results? Bought used but have to say, as a sub-$200 lens, I don't think there is much at all to complain about given the cost of competitive offerings. Build 3 reflects a few little things - more deisng than materials, workmanship. I'd appreciate some kind of detents or stops on the collar, the focus ring is a little awkwardly placed. (I'm thinking about seeing if I can renove the collar screw and drill a tiny dimple at 90 degree points?)
reviewer#224 date: Nov-15-2005
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Bang for Buck
Light for 400mm - good for hand-holding with AS
negative:Sharpness at 5.6
Low contrast
comment:This is a very good way to get good 400mm performance on a budget.

It is light enough that hand-holding is feasible, and great fun using this to catch birds in flight.

Sharpness at f8 is good (5.6 is ok), especially when one considers the price and focal length!

Really would like a focus limiter on the lens.

Contrast on this lens is a bit low, and colours not as saturated - so PP helps alot here.



reviewer#134 date: Oct-5-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 400 F5.6 APO Tele Macro
Sigma 300 F4 APO Tele Macro
price paid:
missing
positive:- very light for this focal length
- comes with tripod collar
- excellent Tokina build
negative:- tripod collar can not be removed
- no focus limiter
comment:I must say that I like this lens. It is light
enough that I don't need to think twice if I
am going to take it, or not, if I expect some
long lens photo opportunities.
It can be used wide open, but it gets
considerably better, as all lenses do, when
stopped down. At F8 I am very happy with results,
no, it is not a G lens, but quite good.

A tripod is not "a requirement", as it usually
is the case with longer focal lengths, and it
can be used handhold without too much trouble.
AS works as advertised and I was able to get sharp
pictures at some very slow shutter speeds for
600mm equiv. (many thanks KM :)

When it comes to AF if it only had a focus
limiter...

it can focus down to 2.5m, and it takes time for
AF motor to “move it” from one end to another,
also it is a bit noisy.
reviewer#112 date: Sep-16-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:70-210 f4
price paid:
missing
positive:Small and Light for 400mm;
Tripod Collar;
Built in Lens Hood
negative:f5.6 max aperature - dim viewfinder; CA wide open,
Focus AF/MF
comment:Sharpness is good stopped down to f8-f11, but wide open it is a bit soft, and CA takes its toll on high contrast subjects.
I bought this lens a while ago, and didn't use it much initially. More recently, I have enjoyed shooting the local heron population. It has done a pretty good job for a budget lens. Works OK with Kenko 1.4x DG converter, but AF is pretty useless. In good light/contrast, AF without a converter is actually pretty quick, as long as you keep it from hunting.
Using the tripod mount with the VC-7D is a bit tricky...it sits too close to the body of the camera. I've got a monopod that it works with, but I have to put it on a certain way.
reviews found: 20   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 20
  • sharpness: 3.83
  • color: 4.10
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.45
  • flare control: 4.25
  • overall: 4.23

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