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Tokina 24-200mm AT-X 242 AF

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Review Date: Jan 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Excellent range, good clarity and contrast, excellent build quality. A very useful travel lens.
Cons:
Vignetting at 24mm. Geometric distortions except in 50-70 range and at 200.

Though I bought this lens for use on a Canon EOS 33 (Elan 7) film body, I tested it on a Canon 5D full-frame digital SLR which would show up any shortcomings. The results were better than I had expected. My copy of the lens is softer on the left edge than the right edge but prints 7.5 x 5 inches were acceptably sharp with good colour, contrast and clarity. I wouldn't like to print at the 300 ppi resulution of 14.5 x 9.7 without croppping the edges and I think for use on a digital SLR the lens should be used on a 1.5/1.6 crop sensor. Autofocus was accurate but a bit slow. The build quality is very good with only a niggle about a slightly sloppy manual focus ring.

The disappointment is the geomentric distortions. There's very visible barreling at 24mm (and also severe vignetting on my full-frame SLR). By 40mm or so the aspect is rectilinear (fairly distortion-free) but by 70mm pincushioning starts and gets worse up to 105mm after which it declines and at 200mm there is little distortion. Plainly one would not expect a modestly priced 8.3x zoom to be distortion-free but distortions were significantly worse than I had expected. Even so, I'm quite happy to use the lens on the EOS 33 and may also use it on my Canon 20D.