The original Tokina 11-16 mm (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX II SD) had no built-in AF motor and has been for sale for a few years. It is a fast, constant f/2.8 wide-angle zoom lens, designed for cameras with an APS-C / DX sensor. Some cheaper SLR cameras, such as the Nikon D3200 , have no built-in AF motor. It is especially for owners of these Nikon cameras that a new version of the Tokina 11-16 mm arrived on the market, equipped with a built-in AF motor. Apart from an additional nano-coating which reduces internal reflections, the lens remained unchanged. We tested the Tokina 11-16 mm DX II for you, using a Nikon D3200 .
Field of view Tokina 11-16 mm II @ 16 mm with and without correction of vignetting and distortion (using the lens profile for the Tokina 11-16mm version without built-in AF motor) by Lightroom. The Tokina 11-16mm II is designed for cameras with a DX / APS-C sensor, offering a field of view equal to the field of view of a 18-26 mm zoom lens on a camera with a full frame sensor. The combination of a constant f/2.8 aperture and the wide field of view make the Tokina 11-16 mm DX II an exceptional lens.
Construction and autofocus
There is nothing to criticize about the construction of the Tokina Pro series lenses. It does its Pro name honor. Both the zoom ring and the focus ring have the right friction over the entire area. The drive of the autofocus is very fast, but also clearly audible. There is little evidence of searching in low light, thanks to the high aperture of the Tokina 11-16 mm. The way you choose between autofocus and manual focus with Tokina AT-X lenses is striking. This is done by means of a ring at the end of the lens, instead of a switch on the side of the lens, as with other brands. If you pull out the ring, the lens works through AF. If you pull this ring towards you, you can focus manually.
The Tokina 11-16 mm II has no built-in image stabilization. Given the constant f/2.8 aperture and the focal length range of this lens, there will be very few situations where image stabilization will be missed.
When testing lenses, we try to use all available in-camera lens correction for jpg files. Nikon cameras correct chromatic aberration in jpg files (and do a good job, there), without offering a user the opportunity to exert influence on that process. You also have the option to correct (Nikon lens) jpg files for vignetting and distortion. To our amazement we could also apply Auto distrtion control to the Tokina 11-16 mm II. In this review, the Nikon D3200 was set to normal vignetting correction and auto distortion control for jpg files. For further details, see "unwanted correction of 3rd party lenses".
Vignetting Tokina 11-16mm DX II
For a wide-angle zoom lens, the amount of vignetting in jpg files is remarkably low. Only at f/2.8, you can recognize vignetting in a shot of a very evenly illuminated surface, such as a blue sky. In the picture at the top of this page, you see a worst case. Using software, this is easy to correct. Using smaller aperttures, you will see no vignetting. Even without correction of vignetting are still good performance for a wide angle zoom lens. Due to Nikon D3200's in-camera correction of vignetting, the in-camera jpg files on average show a fourth stop less vignetting than the uncorrected RAW files. But, you will see below that a Lightroom lens-correction profile works even better.
Move your mouse over the image to see the Imatest results for Tokina 11-16 mm II RAW files.
Distortion Tokina 11-16 mm DX II
Also in terms of distortion score the corrected jpg files of the Tokina 11-16mm very good. Only at a focal length of 16 mm, the barrel distortion just visible. Comparison of the uncorrected RAW files to jpg files shows that the in-camera distortion correction of the Nikon D3200 good job at a focal length of 11mm, but the distortion is greater at a focal length of 14 to 16 mm. The used lens correction profile is not intended for this Nikon lens. It is wiser to this parameter to turn off / to leave and instead use distortion correction in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Move your mouse over the image for the distortion in RAW files.
The Lightroom lens correction profile is easy to use and very effective. Below the Imatest results for vignetting at a focal length of 11mm f/2.8. After correction, the light distribution over the entire image plane is very evenly. From corner to corner, the largest difference in brightness after Lens correction in Lightroom is always less than 0.25 stops. Individual lens corrections for Canon, Nikon and Sony mount Tokina 11-16mm lenses are available.
You don't choose a wide angle lense for a nice bokeh. The Tokina 11-16 mm bokeh is not so smooth and clearly shows rings. The shape of the bokeh of a light source in the background at full aperture is beautiful circular. As soon as you start to stop down this lens, that round bokeh changes from round to the shape of the aperture.
Move your mouse over the image to get an impression of the bokeh.
The Tokina 11-16 mm is supplied with a lens hood. But using such a wide angle lens it is not always possible to avoid a strong light shining straight into the lens. In such situations, flare and ghosting may occur, as is demonstrated in the image to the right. Green ghosting, as we saw in the previous Tokina 11-16 mm test saw, we are absent in the current test. Perhaps that is the succes of to the extra nano coating of the lens elements in the Tokina 11-16 mm DX II version.
Move your mouse over the image.
Resolution Tokina 11-16 mm II DX
The sharpness of the Tokina 11-16 mm is high. The sharpness in the center is higher than in the corners. Yet that is not distracting: with more than 2000 lines per picture height (LW / PH), the sharpness in the corners is higher than the center sharpness of a large number of lenses that we have previously tested.
Click on the image for the Imatest results for resolution.
Chromatic aberration Tokina 11-16mm II DX
Thanks to the in-camera correction of chromatic aberration through the Nikon D3200 , there is no visible chromatic aberration in the jpg files. In the RAW files there is visible chromatic aberration in the corners, as you can see in the 100% crop of an image, shown here. In Photoshop or Lightroom this can be resolved quickly. Use the standard Adobe lens correction profiles Adoobe, so you do not need to correct each individual file.
Click on the image for the Imatest results for chromatic aberration in a Nikon D3200 jpg file.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.Due to the lens correction performed on Nikon D3200 jpg files, the uncorrected RAW files show lower scores for chromatic aberration, distortion and (consequently also) vignetting. These differences disappear when the RAW files are corrected in Lightroom or Photoshop.
High optical quality: very high center resolution
Fast, constant f/2.8 aperture
Large field of view on a camera with an APS-C sensor
No built-in image stabilization
Sharpness in the corners is high indeed, but lower than the center sharpness
This Tokina 11-16 mm II review has a few minor differences in comparison with our review of its predecessor: the Tokina 11-16 mm. The main change is that the new version is equipped with a built-in AF motor. The extra nanocoating has led to a reduction of ghosting against strong backlighting. Given the constant f/2.8 aperture and the focal length range of this lens, the absence of a built-in image stabilization will be rarely missed. To our surprise, it is possible to correct vignetting and distortion in jpg file saved on the Nikon D3200 with Tokina 11-16 mm II. Thanks to the in-camera correction of vignetting, the performance of this lens becomes even better. But it is wise to leave this in-camera lens correction off. You'll get even beteer results using standard lens-profile distortion correction of RAW files in Lightroom or Photoshop.
If you compare the optical performance of these lenses in our Tokina 11-16mm review with that of the Tokina 11-16mm DX II review, there's no significant difference between these two very well performing lenses. When you don't need the built-in AF motor, then the old Tokina 11-16 mm is a good, slightly cheaper, alternative for this excellent lens.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.