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Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye

Review Date: Dec 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: build, sharpness, fun-factor

I got this lens heavily used from a rental place, and honestly no one would be able to tell that. If it werenít for some scuffs, it would appear and operate like new. All the mechanics are in tip-top shape. The zoom ring is still wonderfully smooth, the focus not so much, but Iíve seen another copy of this lens and this is simply how they operate. This one is Canon mount. I use it on 7D.

As far as optics, well, itís a fisheye, so know what youíre getting into. The fishy distortion is actually quite nice in that the proportions of objects are more natural closer to edges of the frame, unlike with the rectilinear lens, which keeps the straight lines straight but ďstretchesĒ objects away from the center as a result. I often need to add barrel distortion to photos of people taken in tight places with my sigma 10-20 to make their faces less distorted. This lens achieves that naturally, and since the fishiness degree can be lessened by zooming in, I think itís better for these uses.

Optically I have no complaints. The CA is there as reported everywhere, but LR3 actually deals with it very nicely without even any correction (as compared to Bibble, for example). Using the additional corrections along highlight edges, takes care of most of the unsightliness of this. Itís not much of an issue, in my opinion.

Sharpness is wonderful everywhere at f11 - I am impressed. Wide open the edges suffer, but itís acceptable for most situations this would be used. Remember that this is pixel-peeping on a 18MP sensor.

Apart from this, the lens is fairly small, AF is fast enough and precise enough. DOF in most situations is pretty large in any event, so itís not that it matters a great deal.

Other than a general complaint about fisheye pricing versus their limited usability, I donít have any issues with this one.

Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X 535 AF PRO DX

Review Date: Sep 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $699.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, build quality, included hood and tripod mount, one-touch focus switch
focusing speed, flare

Iíve had this lens for a few months now and I use it on a Canon XTI. I got it mainly for photographing people/kids, but as it is the longest lens I have, I end up using it for all sorts of stuff when I need longer reach. I have to say that I never tried the equivalent Sigma, but at the time I was making the purchase I really didnít have time for returns or back and forth with Sigma service because of focus problems. This was my experience with one other Sigma lens I own. Also, this lens was rated higher in optical quality in all the reviews I had seen before I pulled the trigger so that made the decision much easier. Full frame 70-200 equivalents were too large, too long on the short end (70mm), and too pricey (and white).

Iíve rented and handled Canon L lenses before and it terms of build quality this lens is in the same league. The body is metal and the focus and zoom rings are smooth and well damped. Even the built-in tripod mount is damped. When you loosen the tightening screw it turns smoothly on the lens body just like the focus and zoom rings. The mount cannot be detached from the lens, but one can either find a spot where it doesnít get in the way, or simply loosen it and let it turn and get repositioned as needed. Iíve gotten used to it being there.

I must also say that I dig that Tokina ďone-touchĒ switch in the focus. I find it more useful than Canon/Sigma full-time manual focus. You can use this thing completely without taking your eye off the viewfinder. I never even knew how useful the focus on/off switch can be!

In terms of optical quality, I have no complaints other than flare. This review covers pretty well all the pros and cons and what I have seen matches their findings pretty closely. The flare can get bad in some conditions, but because the angle of view is pretty narrow and the included flower hood is effective (in which BTW itís possible to turn a circular polarizer, provided that yours is serrated in the front not just the side), I donít find this to be much of a problem. Otherwise this lens is perfect as far as Iím concerned Ė I had a hard time telling apart test shots between f2.8 and f4 in the 50-100mm range. Beyond 100mm wide open itís visibly softer, but itís not too bad. Stopping it down even one click starts bringing a lot of detail back. At f4 and up this lens produces an amazing amount of detail at any focal length.

The last thing is focus Ė and here is where Tokina folks have to start paying attention. The lens uses a micromotor (in Canon mount at least) and it is not a speed demon by any means. For me, tracking a running kid hasnít been a problem, but the competition is better in this regard and I can see how this aged focusing mechanism could be a deal breaker for some in a $700-$800 lens.

Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Jul 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $470.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: WIDE, sharp, competitively priced, included super cool lens pouch and hood
silly lens cap, 77mm filter, flare

This lens is reeeeally wide and so much fun! Iíve had it for a week now and it still makes me dizzy every time at 10mm Smile

This is my first Sigma and the first super wide angle lens Iíve ever tried. The first copy of this lens I received had soft left side at any aperture between about 15-20mm and also suffered from crazy focus, and I was quite disappointed.

I am glad I decided to try another copy before giving up, because the second one is of that quality that gets this lens such great reviews. It has very fast and accurate focus (makes funny silent grunting noises like a little piglet), and is quite sharp across the frame by f8 at all focal lengths. Wide open a little soft around the edges but sill very good. I would recommend it to anyone, with the caveat that they might have to send it back once or twice to get a good one.

I canít say Iím a fan of the Sigma finish Ė I have a feeling that the paint is going to chip off at any moment. But hey, it takes great pictures and thatís what counts!

The flare can get to it in harsh conditions, but no one will ever notice at 10mm theyíll be so dizzy Smile Oh and the lens cap is really annoying. I canít get it off with the hood on. I have to figure out where to get that pinchy Tamron-like replacement now.