After upgrading from a crop sensor to a full frame sensor we were in the hunt for a new wide angle lens, and having blown our budget we started to look for a bargain. Enter the Tokina 17mm AT-X f/3.5 prime lens.
Our go to lens for many years was a Tokina 11-16 AT-X Pro, as it was perfectly suited to the world of derelict buildings and abandoned underground workings. However, this lens was built for a crop sensor and was now unsuitable for the full frame camera we had just purchased (it is missed though). After flying about the google vortex and eBay we settled upon an old legacy lens, the TOkina 17mm f/3.5, that seemed to fit the bill. It was also a bargain at under £150.
This isn’t going to be a technical write up as we haven’t got any idea on how you test and produce MTF charts, distortion and the like. What it will be is provide a vague insight into real life shooting conditions and any oddities we ave noticed. If you want a website that can give you these details for thousands of lenses, head over to DXOmark. We have only had the lens a few months, but it has been used on many occasions.
So wide I got my feet in.
At the centre of the frame, the lens is superbly sharp when stopped down to f/5.6 and above. Fully wide open, it is noticeably soft. At the far outside edges of the frame the lens suffers from considerable softness, but this can easily be cropped out. This isn’t really a problem if you are displaying the photos on the web at small sizes. however, if you plan to print at a large scale I would consider using a different lens.
It’s wide. It distorts. We’ll get over it. Or edit it in Photoshop.
Flare / Ghosting
When shooting towards a light source, it does have some ghosting and a little bit of chromatic aberration. Control of shooting angles and post processing etc solves this to an extent.
It works (woohoo). Being a legacy screw drive lens, our camera (Nikon D750) will not focus in live view mode. Not a problem, we use the viewfinder where it focuses like a normal lens. Sometimes it doesn’t enjoy focusing when the centre focus point is not used. Again, this can be worked around quite easily.
It’s a bargain. We like it and the quirks can be learnt quite easily, and a suitable workaround found. It’ll be staying on our bag for a while, until we get pissed of with the fixed lens hood or the huge weight for its small size and decide to purchase something else.