The Journey to Find “The” Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8

The Journey to Find “The” Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8

This one caught my attention while I was acquiring lenses for my new Panasonic AF-100.  I needed glass and my primary HD camera was a Canon XHA1 fixed lens camcorder.  I have a first generation Canon 5D with a few Canon lenses, 17-40 f4, 70-200 f4 and the 24-105 f4, which I love, but no fast ones.  To take full advantage of the shallow depth of field that the AF-100 sensor offers I need some fast glass! Primarily, on mostly used lenses, I’ve been spending hours researching for best values and performance.  I like used lenses because they are a great deal, and most of the time you can resell them for what you paid minus auction fees. Used is a great way to go.

One of my favorite forums to hang out in is the AF-100 forum on where great info is available for those interested in or who own an AF-100.  Since the AF-100 is still pretty new to the market many users are looking for lenses that will work with that camera. The Micro 4/3 mount is relatively new and choices are limited.  One day, I was checking out the forum and saw  this lens to be recommended by Matt Gottshalk as a fast zoom lens.  I found one on Ebay and won the auction. Well, I thought I found the right version, but it wasn’t the infamous version with the Angenieux lens coatings.  It was a newer version with the same name, but it was a “SV.”  I took some shots with it, sample video here, and the lens was pretty nice, but a tad soft wide open–so back to Ebay it went.  I did break even on that purchase by the way, including fees.  Not bad right?  So, back to Google I went.  I surprisingly found many versions of the Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8.– at least five incarnations of this model lensIt was driving me crazy! I knew that I couldn’t buy another one until I knew more.  We’ll, I found one resource that had all the information Ineeded to make an informed decision, and that info came from this site:  nikonglass.blogspot.comIoannis Kazolis’s blog on Nikon lenses is very good–check it out.  It is a must read if you are into this lens. With the info I got from his blog I found the right version in very good condition on Ebay at a fair price–sweet!  I have used it several times with very good results.  The last piece I shot with the Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 was Virgin River CanyonThe whole piece was shot with only the Tokina.

It’s a nice fast zoom lens for the price. Mid zoom at 50mm is it’s weakest point.  I was a little concerned, so I gave Tokina tech a call.  He acknowledged this was true, but that most zoom lenses have the same issue.  Nice folks at Tokina in California.  I purchased the Nikon mount since I will be using it on the AF-100. It’s a full manual lens, so I can control the aperture.  However, I still need to use an adapter to mount it on the AF-100.  (More onadapters here.) Also, Canon EOS lenses don’t have a manual iris ring and that makes it impossible to control without a Kipon adapter which has iris blades built in.  Sounds like a good option, but it doesn’t work very well.

Overall I’m happy with the lens.  It’s great for interviews and all around shooting for mid-range focal lengths. It’s nice to have a mid-range zoom on your camera so as not to have to change lenses so often as with primes. The Tokina goes for around $300 to $500 on Ebay, depending on the condition.  Although, when bidding with others who recognize the value of this lens, it can get ugly. Still it is a bargain compared to the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 at $1900.

So, be patient and you might snag one for a far price. Good luck!


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