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Review: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11 – 16 mm f/2.8

Beyond Sigma and Tamron, Tokina is the other heavyweight when it comes to making lenses for third-party cameras. To their credit, they have a number of excellent pieces of glass that would make proud possessions for any photographer. One of these is the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11 – 16 mm f/2.8.

The Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11 – 16 mm f/2.8 is a wide-angle lens designed for the smaller image circle of crop sensor digital cameras such as:

  • the Nikon D7200
  • the Nikon D5200 (discontinued by the manufacturer, but you can get great warehouse deals)
  • the Canon 7D and the
  • Canon Rebel series

The previous version of this Tokina lens did not have the luxury of an internal auto-focusing motor. The version II however, has an internal AF motor making it compatible with all cameras with or without an internal AF motor. The new version of the lens also has some additional coating included.

Though this lens is not technically designed to utilize the coverage that a large sensor gives you, it could still mount on a full-frame camera but with a significant amount of vignetting and corner softness.

For best results don’t attempt using this lens with a full-frame camera. The new version has two aspherical elements and two super-low dispersion elements.

This is a breakdown of the acronyms that are associated with the lens:

  • AT-X stands for Advanced Technology – Extra.
  • DX stands for sensor compatibility. This lens is designed for crop sensor cameras.
  • AF stands for Auto-Focusing. This is the major change from the older version.

F/2.8 is the largest aperture that you can shoot this lens at. Focal length range is 11-16mm. On a Nikon system it gives the same angle of view that a 16-24mm lens gives on a full-frame camera. On Canon systems it has a 35mm format equivalent focal length of 18-26mm. The exact angle of view as per accompanying specifications is – 104 ° – 84 °. 9 diaphragm blades control the aperture opening.

The large angle of view, together with the possibility to produce a shallow Depth of Field makes it a good lens to shoot movies with. This lens is not designed to produce excellent bokeh quality. So, don’t expect it.


The overall design is sturdy and confidence inducing. It feels as if it is built to last. The lens weighs a good 550 grams (Tokina specifications). The one touch clutch manual / auto-focusing mechanism on the barrel takes a bit of getting used to.

There is no Auto – Manual focusing instant switchover button. The large focusing ring has a good rubberized grip though and it feels secure when you do want to make precise focusing adjustments manually.

Barrel Distortion, Chromatic Aberrations, and Vignetting

The lens suffers from a slight amount of barrel distortion at its shortest focal length. It goes away when you zoom in. Chromatic aberrations is present just like in the older version and correction in Photoshop is necessary.

At its widest the lens has some vignetting, especially when you shoot at f/2.8. This can be easily corrected in Photoshop. Alternatively, for best results, you can choose to shoot at longer focal lengths while also stopping down the lens by about 1-2 stops.

Lens Sharpness

The sharpest point of the lens, at wide open, is definitely the center. Just like in the previous version, corners are a bit soft at all focal lengths and especially when shooting wide open. Having said that, stopping down does improve performance.

For landscape shots (this lens is tailor-made for amazing landscape photos) you would probably be shooting at f/8 and beyond for a majority of the time and that means corner softness shouldn’t be a problem at that apertures.

Overall, this is one of the sharpest wide angle lenses that you will come across for small (APS-C) format cameras.

Negative Points

Apart from chromatic aberrations and vignetting, which have been discussed above and requires some correction to produce better results, there are some other negative points as well. One of the problems of the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11 – 16 mm f/2.8 is its noisy auto-focusing motor.

It may not matter much when shooting stills, but if you are shooting movies the auto-focusing motor will definitely create issues. You will need a way to record your audio using an external well-dampened microphone.

Lastly, the focus clutch mechanism, which requires you to pull the focusing ring to bring it out of and then push to get it back into auto-focusing mode takes some getting used to. Some users will find the mechanism vastly different from the much easier full-time manual focusing override options in other brands.

Switching from Manual Focus to Autofocus
Switching from Manual Focus to Autofocus

Overall, however, the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II AF 11 – 16 mm f/2.8 is definitely a great piece of glass!

The Tokina lens is a real value for money (ideal for crop sensor users who love landscape photography, especially when considering comparable lenses from other leading brands like Canon and Nikon which are way more expensive).

Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens for Canon Mount
  • Ultra-wide angle zoom lens
  • Internal silent focusing motor
  • Fast internal focusing
  • One touch focus clutch mechanism
  • Water resistant optical coating on the glass for ease of cleaning

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