With a fixed f/4 maximum aperture and an AT-X Pro designation it would be reasonable to expect a lot of the Tokina 12-24mm. What Digital Camera sees if it lives up to the self-proclaimed hype...
The Tokina’s design appears a little old-fashioned thanks to a slightly conical profile that contrasts with the modern fashion for more uniform cylindrical forms. It also has a push/pull AF/MF selector that is part of the manual focusing ring rather than a separate switch elsewhere on the barrel.
This does not mean, however, that the Tokina is behind the times – it has an internal focusing mechanism that leaves the focusing ring undisturbed in AF mode and also features both special-dispersion glass and aspheric profiles that are de rigueur in lenses of this type. A slight failing on the specifications front is the minimum focal length of 12mm when other APS-C lenses of this type tend to go just a shade shorter.
Similarly, although Tokina’s zoom ring offers just the right amount of uniform resistance, the focusing ring does not have quite the same smoothness. There is a window showing the focused distance but there are no depth-of-field markings.
Resolution is at least good and in parts excellent. The MTF curves obtained for maximum and intermediate focal lengths are so well matched that they are indistinguishable – the 12mm curve is slightly lower but, apart from a distinct dip at f/4, it remains above the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel level right out to f/16.
Significant chromatic aberration is evident at 12mm, caused by a distinct separation of the blue curve, but visually (and in real-world pictures) Tokina’s zoom produces some very pleasing images that are virtually free from imperfections.
The fact that the lens looks a little different may not be to everybody’s liking, and the fact that it is only offered in Canon and Nikon mounts may disappoint others, but the Tokina handles very nicely and can fairly be described as a joy to use.