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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

Review Date: Aug 14, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $570.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Solid (but incompetent) build, compact, 2.8 maximum aperture
Apparently wide sample variation renders some copies unsuable, limited zoom range

The Ratings I gave are admittedly based on a flawed sample, but I can only judge what I have in front of me. The low Build Quality score is my indictment of a manufacturing process that could produce such an utterly useless lens.

The following review was originally posted in the Nikonians forum. I am reposting it here since I see no need to rewrite it. You may wish to view the original to see the image example.

I received my Tokina 11-16 (SN 8208793) on Friday of last week (Aug 8, 2008). I immediately went shooting and was initially pleased with the results, but most of those shots were taken in bright sun with apertures above 5.6. The following day I did some testing and my enthusiasm began to wane.

Using nothing more than the standard brick wall and my own "monument" test (white engraved text on a big slab of flat, black granite), I determined that the 11-16 had extreme corner softness and even center frame softness when shot wide open.

I continued on from the testing site to shoot some frames at a local winery. While there, I was forced by circumstance to use the 11-16 for some grounds shots. I took the opportunity to shoot a few frames for "real world" testing purposes. The Tokina fared no better here. This is the center frame of one of those shots (ISO 100; 11mm @ 2.8; tripod, timer release, 1/1600sec). Focus was taken on the Wine Shop sign:

**image here**

Further testing the following day produced similarly appalling results. There is no redemption for this lens.

The Tokina 11-16 (this copy, anyway) is unusable for its intended purpose and I am returning it. I will not audition another because of the lack of local availability—and because of the lack of availability in general. The process of ordering this lens online and then testing, rejecting, returning the lens and waiting for more to become available so the process can begin anew, is just too tedious and time consuming. I've decided to buy the 12-24 Nikkor and be done with it.

To Tokinia, I say: A zoom lens this limited in range should be nearly flawless, and manufacturing processes should not permit a sample like the one I tested to ever fall into a customer's hands.