The Tokina AT-X 12-24mm AF Pro DX is one of the new generation of super wide zoom lenses, designed purely for digital SLR’s, so this lens can not be used with film or full frame digital SLR cameras like the Canon EOS 1Ds or 5D. Used with Nikon DX, Sony or Pentax digital SLR cameras this lens is roughly equivalent to an 18-36mm lens with a 35mm film camera, or with most Canon DSLR cameras it’s equivalent to a 19-38mm.
Note: The DX in the name means that this lens can ONLY be used on digital SLR cameras. It can not be used with film or with full frame digital sensors.
The Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24 is available in Nikon or Canon fittings and is supplied with a lens hood and case.
First impressions of the Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm DX are very good. At 570g the lens is no lightweight and feels well up to professional standards. Construction is actually a mix of metal and polycarbonate with an all metal zoom unit and mount, but polycarbonate outer barrel to keep the weight down. All controls operate smoothly and the gold ring on the front of the lens barrel adds just the right amount of class. The lens balances well with the Canon EOS 20D and the autofocus is quick and quiet. The zoom ring is a little closer to the camera end of the lens than I would choose but really that’s my only complaint about the handling. There is a large manual focus ring which slides backwards and forwards to engage or disengage manual focusing.
Although an “added “ feature, this isn’t one I like. It’s fairly rare for me, and I suspect, most people, to change from AF to manual focus nowadays, so the plus side of this control is fairly limited. You can after all switch the AF off on the camera. However, other lenses I’ve owned with this slide mechanism on the focus ring, invariably change every time I lift the lens out of my camera bag, or try to mount it on a camera, unless I remember to avoid the slidy bit. That gets really annoying. Otherwise the design and construction of the Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm is fully up to camera makers pro standards.
The lens takes 77mm filters and the front element does not rotate during focusing. Minimum focus is about 30cm /12 inches which isn’t quite as close as my Canon 10-22 EF-S which focuses down to 24cm. Interestingly the Canon uses a 6 bladed diaphram while the Tokina has 9.
The Tokina 12-24mm AT-X DX was one of the lenses I considered before buying the Canon EFS 10-22mm. For Canon users the Tokina is about a third cheaper than the Canon lens, but for Nikon users the Tokina is about half the price of the Nikon 12-24 f4 DX which has an almost identical spec, with the same filter size and closest focus distance. In my opinion the Tokina also feels much more substantial and better made than the Nikon lens, but as both the Canon and Nikon lenses are excellent performers the big question is how does the Tokina 12-24 compare?