Tokina 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF-II A-mount lens review by Kaishi

reviewer#11929 date: Jul-29-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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:Sony SAL75300 (that kit-quality zoom inherited from Minolta)
Minolta AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 (big beer can)
Minolta AF 70-210 F4 (beer can)
Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 HSM Macro
price paid:280 USD
positive:Range: 80-400 is great for anything from portrait to birding.
Price: Used, these go for ~$300-350. They were $500 new.
Construction: All metal, feels terrifically solid to me.
Tripod Collar: Helps balance.
Quick focus: hits target most of the time, at least while in bright sun. Not too noisy either.
Distortion: Extremely low for such an inexpensive lens! Virtually no need to correct.
Vignette: Virtually zero! No real need to correct.
Lens hood is pretty excellent, too.
negative:Contrast: not great resolution at 400mm F5.6, needs to be stopped down to F8 or F11 to look good.
Saturation: colors look a little grey-brown and muddy, compared to Minolta and Sigma options.
Chromatic Aberration: 400mm is CA-city. In a word, "monstrous".
External focus design: front element rotates and extends during focus.
Zoom causes lens to extend.
comment:This is a hard lens to rate. It has great performance at 80-200 in almost all categories. Above 200, it is a bit weaker, and when judged exclusively at 400mm, it is only decent.

At 80-300, I'd give this lens a 4.5/5.0
At 300-400, I'd give it a 3.5/5.0

It is built extremely well and works very nicely. Focus is quick for being body-driven, and very on-target.

I'll be keeping it for the foreseeable future.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 6
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 4.33
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 4.50
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.37 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania