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Review Tokina 17-35 mm

Tokina 17-35 mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX SD & Nikon D3200 (N-APS-C)

The Tokina 17-35 mm was announced in the middle of 2011 and became available in the autumn of 2011. Choosing for f/4 enabled the designers of Tokina to make this lens more compact and lighter than, for example, the Tokina 16-28mm 2.8, which weighs almost a kilogram. The Tokina 17-35 mm is suitable for cameras with a full-size sensor, but can also be used on cameras with an APS-C sensor. We have tested the Tokina 17-35 mm on a camera with a DX sensor: the Nikon D3200 . We have to admit that a Tokina 11-16 mm, in terms of viewing angle, seems a more logical choice for a camera with a DX / APS-C sensor. However, the Tokina 11-16 mm currently has no built-in focusing motor and neither has the Nikon D3200 , which limits this combination to manual focus only.

Tokina-17-35-mm-review

Tokina-17-35mm-review
Specifications
Lenses / Groups:13 / 12
Closest focus (cm):28
Magnification Ratio:0.21
Filter (mm):82
Lenshood incl. :+
Length / diameter:89 x 95
Weight (gram):600
MSRP (NL) euro:799
Tokina 17-35mm lens review
Tokina 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX SD @ 17 mm
Tokina lens review
FOV Tokina 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX SD @ 35 mm

On a camera with a DX / APS-C sensor, the zoom range of the Tokina 17-35 mm corresponds to a 26-50 mm zoom lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor. You thus have a 2x zoom range that extends from wide-angle lens to standard lens.

Construction and autofocus

 

The Tokina 17-35 mm is extremely well made, similar to the Tokina 16-28 mm we have tested earlier with a Canon mount. The robust housing deserves its name as a member of the Tokina AT-X Pro Series. Yet, the Tokina 17-35 mm is almost 150 grams lighter and a lot cheaper than the Nikon 17-35 mm.


The Tokina AT-X lenses have their own way for choosing between autofocus and manual focus. This is done by means of a ring at the end of the lens, and not through a switch on the side of the lens, as with most other brands.
Tokina-17-35-mm-clutch

If you pull out the ring, you can use the AF. Pull it towards you, and then you can focus manually.

The lens is equipped with the newly developed SD-M (Silent Drive-Module) AF system for accurate and quiet autofocus. The AF is, despite its name, not very quiet.

Image stabilization

 
The Tokina 17-35 mm has no built-in image stabilization.

Vignetting Tokina 17-35

 

In practice, you will see no noticeable vignetting when using the Tokina 17-35 mm on a camera with an APS-C / DX sensor. The Imatest measurements for vignetting by the Tokina 17-35 mm prove vignetting is low throughout the entire zoom range and at all apertures. That in itself is not very surprising, because this lens is designed for a camera with a full-frame sensor.

Yet it is a good performance, because there are many lenses with a focal length of 17 mm that do show vignetting on a camera with an APS-C sensor.

Tokina-17-35-mm-vignetting

Distortion Tokina 17-35 mm

 

Distortion is kept low by the Tokina 17-35 mm. For a wide-angle zoom lens, this is quite a good performance. Imatest measurements show distortion is very low over the entire zoom range and goes from light barrel (at 17 mm) to light pin cushion (~ above 20 mm).

We test distortion of lenses, if possible, using in-camera correction of distortion. However, camera manufacturers only correct the distortion of their own brand. In this light, these measurement results of the Tokina 17-35 mm are very good.

Tokina-17-35-mm-distortion

Bokeh

 
The diaphragm consists of 12 blades. This gives a nice round bokeh. Because the center sharpness at all apertures is very high, you can produce images with a very sharp subject in the foreground and a reasonable background blur. With a focal length of 17 mm, the background is still somewhat bemused by the large depth of field with aperture 4. It also shows the bokeh extra rings. Click on the image for a larger version, or click here for a 100% magnification of the image area of an image made with the Tokina 17-35 mm @ 17 mm. Tokina-17-35-mm-bokeh17mmmini
At a focal length of 35 mm, the background blur and bokeh are nicer than 16 mm, but still there are visible rings in the bokeh. Here you see a crop of a photo taken at a focal length of 35 mm. Click on the image for a larger version, or click here for a 100% crop of a picture made with the Tokina 17-35 mm @ 35 mm. Tokina-17-35-mm-bokeh35mmmini

Flare

 

Wide-angle zoom lenses designed for full-size sensors are complex designs with many elements and a convex front lens. This type of lens is nearly always sensitive to flare. This also applies to the Tokina 17-35 mm, which consists of 13 lens elements. Both at focal lengths of 17 mm to 23 mm, we encountered flare and ghosting in the studio. Here, you see an example of an image taken at a focal length of 17 mm. At a focal length of 35 mm, we did not observe any flare or ghosting.

Tokina-17-35-mm-flare

Resolution Tokina 17-35 mm

 

We have analyzed the resolution of jpg files created with the Tokina 17-35 mm and the Nikon D3200 . At 24 mm, the sharpness is soft at f/4, but for the other focal lengths, you can see: the sharpness in the center at aperture 4 is already high, reaches a maximum at f/5.6 of more than 3500 LW/PH, and then very slowly decreases. Starting at f/5.6, the sharpness in the corners equals the sharpness in the center. Only at a focal length of 35 mm, the sharpness in the corners lags behind the center. However, thanks to the high resolution of the Nikon D3200 , even then the resolution remains above 1500 LW/PH, which is a value that is a typical value for the center resolution of lenses on a 12-16 MP APS-C camera. This is a very good performance.

Tokina-17-35-mm-resolution

Chromatic aberration Tokina 17-35 mm

 

Tokina succeeded to keep chromatic aberration limited in the design of the Tokina 17-35 mm. The lens design of the Tokina AT-X 17-35 mm includes an aspheric glass element and two "Super-Low Dispersion" glass elements to minimize chromatic aberrations. At f/4, you may observe some chromatic aberration in sharp contrast transitions at the corners of the image in 100% crops of jpg files. The smaller the aperture used, the lower the chromatic aberration in the corners.

Tokina-17-35-mm-CA

Conclusion

Tokina 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX SD

Tokina-17-35-mm-product1

JPG file score

Test Camera (jpg)Nikon D3200
Focal lengthOverall172333
mm @ full frame (FF)Overall263550
Final score8.38.58.38.3
Resolution8.58.88.38.5
Chromatic aberration8.48.88.48.4
Vignetting9.49.29.49.6
Distortion7.16.38.27.1
See our overview of tested lenses or our overview of tested lenses with a Nikon mount to compare the performances of this lens with other lenses.

Pros

  • High optical performance: resolution, vignetting and distortion
  • Nice bokeh
  • Suitable for full frame

Cons

  • Chromatic aberration visible at f/4 and large magnifications
  • Susceptible for flare at 17 mm

The Tokina 17-35 mm may be a less obvious choice for a camera with a DX sensor than the Tokina 11-16 mm, but the optical performance of this lens on a Nikon D3200 is just very good. The finish of this lens is at a professional level. The supplied lens hood prevents ghosting, but it will not always be prevented. Put the Tokina 17-35 mm lens on a Nikon D3200 , set your camera to Aperture Priority, f/8, and shoot!

Comments  

-1 # Tokina 17-35mm with DX sensorNick Savage 2013-02-13 14:40
I've found that when attached to a Nikon D300 or a D70 body, the camera doesn't operate, it doesn't turn on. The specs enclosed say "Format 24 x 36mm Full size exclusive for digital cameras". So does this lens work on some Nikon DX format cameras such as the D3200 and not others?
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0 # Thanks for the additionIvo 2013-02-13 18:05
The Tokina 17-35 mm was introduced recently. We only tested this lens on a modern Nikon D3200 camera, and there it worked perfectly. Sorry to hear that it doesn't work as well with the D300 and the D70.

Regards

Ivo
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0 # Great reviewJohn Evans 2013-05-29 07:37
Hi
I'm happy to see you do such an in depth review of this FX lens on a DX sensor. I'm nor quite ready to drop a minimum of 2K on a FX body and have been very happy with my D70s although I did break down for a D7100($922.32)I am looking forward to eventually getting an FX when the prices come way down. In the meantime any new or used lenses I buy will be FX.

I do have the Tokina 11-16 2.8 DX and surprisingly it does work very well on FX camera's from 14mm to 16mm without any rounding of the corners.
Thank you again for the review.
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+1 # Tokina 11-16mm DX @ FX Ivo Freriks 2013-05-29 21:02
Thanks John for sharing your experience with us.
The Nikon D7100 is a beauty of a camera with an image quality equal to or better than FX camera's of a few years old. At a much lower price and with similar features, the D7100 might hold you back from dropping a large amount of money on a FX body for several years.

Regards,

Ivo
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