Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX SD
In February 2015, the Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX was announced. Videographers around the world jumped out of their chairs. Rightly so: with a bright wide-angle, you take beautiful pictures and perhaps even more impressive videos. If you a wide view on a camera with an APS-C/DX sensor in the dark, or to isolate your subject from the environment as well as possible with a wide-angle, then you want a high-quality 10 mm f/2.8 lens.
The Tokina AT-X 11-20 PRO DX goes beyond where the successful Tokina AT-X 11-16 PRO DX-II stopped. Not only is the zoom range great, but Tokina indicates that the optical design is further improved. That raises curiosity, since the Tokina 11-16 mm (version 1 and 2) scored very high in our tests.
Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX SD for Canon APS-C and Nikon DX cameras
Build and auto focus
The Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX is designed for use on Canon APS-C (Canon 70D, 7D MK2, etc.) and Nikon DX cameras (Nikon D3300, D5500 etc.). The build quality is of the level we're accustomed to from Tokina: of a professionally high level. Because Tokina applies a great deal of metal in the lens body, their Pro lenses are quite expensive, but thereby—I'm thinking about the Tokina 16-28 mm Pro and the Tokina 70-200 mm Pro—also heavier. In the case of the Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8, that goes unexpectedly well. With a weight of 560 grams, the Tokina 11-20 mm is heavier than, for example, the Tokina 10-17 mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye or the Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. Both where build quality and brightness are concerned, these two less expensive lenses are playing in a lower class. AF is fast and silent, but in both cases, not extremely so. In video recordings, you can hear a light, satisfied purr during focusing. The AF speed is a bit less fast than for more expensive professional wide-angle zooms. There will be few photographers who end up in situations (think of Formula 1 photographers who want to document the action from close up with a wide-angle at f/2.8) where that difference between fast AF and lightning-fast AF will make a difference on a wide-angle zoom in practice.
There are many photographers who use the focal depth of their wide-angle zoom in order not to have to focus at all. They are then even faster in making great photos.
Vignetting is remarkably low for a wide-angle zoom lens. That is an extra-sharp performance by Tokina if you realize that when testing the lenses on the camera, we apply as many lens corrections as possible when saving jpg files. You see that, for example, in the comparison of the RAW and jpg scores of the Canon EF-S 10-18 mm: at 16 mm, the score for vignetting is almost 2 points poorer for RAW scores than jpg scores.
OBecause Canon does not make it possible to correct for vignetting and chromatic aberrations with non-Canon lenses, the other brands are at a disadvantage in the WYSIWYG scores. Tokina isn't bothered by that, and just makes a lens that is already very good with vignetting at all focal distances at full aperture.
Lens design Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX SD: 11 groups/14 elements, including 3 aspherical lenses and 2 SD (high diffraction) lens elements
Distortion Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX SD
As with all wide-angle zoom lenses, the distortion runs from visible barrel-shaped distortion at the shortest focal distance to light—in this case, even invisible—pincushion-shaped. The great thing about the design of this lens is that the barrel-shaped distortion at 15 mm is already completely gone. Visible barrel-shaped distortion is thus only present in a very small part of the zoom range.
The Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 has many and large lens elements in a reasonably complex design. This ensures triumphant optical performance, but it does not manage to completely eliminate ghosts. Even if it's only to protect the large front lens (with an 82 mm filter size), it's a good idea to use the included flower-shaped sun cap. It also reduces the chance of flare and ghosts. With bright sunlight that shines directly into the lens, you can encounter ghosts, as in the partial enlargement shown here.
The center sharpness is high at full aperture and reaches the maximum sharpness after 1 stop. The edge and corner sharpness at full aperture is less visible than in the center. For video recordings, even the corner sharpness at full aperture is more than enough. Here, too, stopping down a tiny bit works wonders. The highest corner sharpness is reached at f/5.6.
The Tokina 11-20 mm test shows less chromatic aberration in uncorrected RAW files than both the Canon EF-S 10-22 mm (as expected) and the Canon EF-S 10-18 mm (which is a great performance). In contrast to Nikon cameras, Canon cameras correct for chromatic aberration in jpg files only with Canon lenses. You see that in the WYSIWYG scores for sharpness and chromatic aberration in corrected jpg files. If you have not applied the CA correction of your camera, or if you prefer to correct for CA and distortion in Photoshop or Lightroom, then the Tokina 11-20 mm beats out the Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM, Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM and the Canon EF-S 10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.
We have the unfortunately not tested the Tokina 11-16 mm on a Canon camera, so that a comparison with the Tokina 11-20 mm becomes difficult. Given the higher resolution and the in-camera of chromatic aberration by the Nikon camera, it is not shocking that the Tokina 11-16 mm on a Nikon D3200 scores a bit higher than the Tokina 11-20 mm on a Canon 650D. I am, however, convinced that the Tokina 11-20 mm on a Nikon D3300 would be able to beat the Tokina 11-16 mm. We will come back to that. For now, I'm ready to get back to work with the Tokina 11-20 mm!
A wide-angle lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor is an ideal combination for creating great focal depth. Today, however, everyone wants as much bokeh as possible. And then you cannot get around the Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 when you want to shoot videos or photos with an 11 mm focal distance.
Conclusion Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX SD review with Canon 650D