New Tokina 12-24 or used Sigma 10-20 4-5.6?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_white|7, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. Hi all. I have been in search for a wide angle lens lately and I have narrowed my choices down to these two options. I could either get a new Tokina 12-24mm for $399 or a used Sigma 10-20mm for $350. If you could simply tell me your opinions about the lenses (i.e. pros/cons about them both and your personal opinion on my decision.), that would be great. I am in no means asking you to choose my lens for me, as it is a personal choice, but I would appreciate it if you could help me choose.
    Thanks alot.
  2. Don't know anything about the new Tokina 12-24mm but the original model works great on my D300 and D50.
  3. If the 10-20 is in good shape, that's a good enough price. The real question is will you miss the extra 2mm wider if you go with the 12-24. 2mm is a lot. Both will make very nice photographs, to be sure.
  4. Have you considered the newer model, Sigma 10-20/3.5? That's the one I'd chose (unless Tokina 11-16/2.8 is way cheaper).
    But from the two you've chosen, Tokina is usually preferred for better image quality. Sigma needs to be thoroughly tested before purchase, especially when it's second-hand.
  5. Thats what I was worried about. I have heard nothing but good things from the tokina, really. And Ive heard that the corner blurriness and distortion is a little worse on the sigma than that of the tokina. Can anyone attest to this?
  6. I had the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 and it was outstanding. The f5.6 at the 20mm end was the only downer for me, and even that was minor. I had the Tokina 12-24 before, and it didn't go as wide as I wanted, thus the Sigma 10-20 replaced it. And 10mm on DX is very very wide indeed. I loved it. I didn't find corner blurriness or distortion on the Sigma 10-20 that I had.
    Here is a random grab shot I took in London with my Sigma 10-20mm at 10mm f5.6. Looks very good to me, sharpness corner to corner is excellent.
  7. I have a Tokina 11-16/2.8 and the Sigma 10-20 4-5.6. The Tokina is a sharper lens, especially as my Sigma seems to need adjustment, but even new, the Sigma was not as sharp as the Tokina. I suppose the Tokina 12-24 will be of similar quality.

    As wideness goes, I miss the 10mm even on the 11-16, thus I can certainly see applications, where you may feel restricted by 12mm on the wide end.

    For me the real question is minimum focusing distance. The Tokina shares the 30cm of the 11-16, and in contrast the Sigma and the new Nikon 10-24 go down to 24cm. That's the distance from front element to sensor plane, but as these are physically long retro-focus lenses, the effective focusing distance (that determines perspective) is much more different, making it possible to effectively go much, much nearer with the Sigma or Nikon than with the Tokina.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing. I suppose the good optical quality of the Tokinas is also helped by their very conservative focusing policy. On the other hand, there are shots, that you can't take with the Tokina. Of course these can as well be seen as gimmicky, but then maybe not. It's probably more a matter of style. Some may miss these shots, some may not. If you make such images (small object as gigantic foreground, roots or cracks in the ground taken almost from ground level, you need as much DOF as you can get, thus you typically operate the lens at f11 or above. This is a range where the Sigma is also quite good in the corners and overall very sharp.

    Again, it may or may not affect you, but it certainly should be considered.
  8. How big do you print? If not real big, image quality between both these great lenses will matter little.
    Distortion is only a big issue if you shoot a lot of brick walls or architecture.
    I have and love the Tokina 11-16 myself, but if it were me, and those were my only two choices, I'd get the Sigma.
    Also, I'd probably recommend against using these lenses above f11 as the above-poster suggests. Diffraction definitely sets in at that point, and in most of the range of these lenses, f8 is all you need for pretty huge depth-of-field.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Tokina has two versions of the 12-24mm/f4 lens for Nikon. The newer vesion has a built-in AF motor for about $500. Since the OP mentioned $400 for a new Tokina, most likely it is the earlier verison without AF motor.
    The Sigma 10-20mm lens has an AF motor built in; i.e. the equivalent of a Nikon AF-S lens.
    A few days ago, the OP asked a related question:
    where he mentioned that he had a D90. Therefore, having an AF motor in the lens is not critical, but for future compatibility, you may still be better off with an AF-S type lens.
    For a DX body, 12mm is quite wide already. Unless you shoot a lot of building interiors, 10mm is not all that necessary.
  10. Im not really worried about compatability issues, I dont plan to downgrade my camera in the future. So thats not really a big deal. I do like the aspect that the sigma can move in closer to the subject for focusing, though. This is becoming a more and more difficult decision. I am talking to a guy now about his used sigma. So, if that falls through, I will definately just go with the new Tokina. I cant seem to find used sigmas relatively less expensive than if I were to buy it new anywhere, and the Tokina is a better price for an almost equal lens (to me). I will have to do some more searching. I think I would rather have the sigma because of the closer focusing and the wider angle (these two combined features would be great for me), so I will be looking around for them.
    Any further assistance/opinions are still greatly appreciated.
  11. mark, speaking as an owner of the original 12-24 tokina, i would second matt's comments. the wider 2mm is considerable. there are times when 12mm isnt wide enough. however, i would thoroughly test the sigma if possible, especially since a new lens comes with a warranty. i dont think IQ is going to make too much of a difference, though the sigma has some weird distortion patterns--its evidently optimized for 10mm, so if you shoot at the widest setting most of the time you should be fine.
  12. Thats what Ive heard. That the sigma has pretty bad distortion that is almost not able to completely reduce in PP. This is what Im thinking about doing. Maybe I will get the Tokina, then since the going price used is very close to that of the new price, I will use it for a while and see if the extra 2mm really makes that much of a difference. If it does, the tokina gets traded for the Sigma.
    The going price new is only about $80 difference between the two. On second thought, thats not really that much if I want the sigma. Its better to pay the extra once so I dont have to pay the money twice, plus the extra.
    Now we get into a completely different conversation, I guess. Is the extra 2mm gained by the sigma worth the slightly lower optical quality? I dont plan to be printing larger than 8x12, but I would like to have the option to if I wanted..
  13. This reminds me of the current "What's limiting your photography?" thread, where the OP contends his photography is seriously crippled by his collection of slower-than-molasses lenses.
    Unless someone's getting paid to make a particular kind of photograph, which requires a particular kind of lens, then the choice of owning a lens comes down to personal preference and how much money we can afford to spend, opinions of others not withstanding. Yet we want to believe our photographic efforts would be so much more potent, even we only had a couple of extra millimeters. ;-)
  14. I want more-so others opinions of these lenses as lenses, not what I should do with my money. I havent personally used either of these lenses so I need someone to attest to each of them in a few different aspects so I have an idea of what a real person thinks about them in real life. I was specifically trying to stay away from making a thread like the one you described because I know this is a personal choice, I guess it turned into something I didnt want it to.
  15. "I know this is a personal choice"
    "I would appreciate it if you could help me choose"
    Kind of contradicts the earlier statement.
    "I need someone to attest to each of them in a few different aspects"
    I thought you got a great range of responses, both to your request for opinions about lenses, and what people thought about your own selection process. And just because your thread is similar to another doesn't mean it's the same. You did a good job of specifically identifying what you want, something lacking in the other thread.
    But if you didn't get what you're looking for in responses so far, be specific: what, for example, are those "few different aspects" you want to know about?
  16. "we want to believe our photographic efforts would be so much more potent, even we only had a couple of extra millimeters. ;-)"
    dave, that's kinda not the point. it's just that with a 12-24 on DX, there are definitely wide-angle situations which would be better with more reach. your need to be snarky aside, i'm trying to answer the OP's question, relating from my own experience with the tokina (which i absolutely love, except for the fact it doesnt go to 10mm, btw) so hopefully he can make the right choice for him without spending extra money.
    that's not to say potent photos cant be produced with that lens at that focal length. it's just that when you reach for the UWA, most of the time, you're looking for an exaggerated perspective and 10mm is wider than 12mm. dont get me wrong, most of the time, the 12-24 is plenty wide, and i dont regret getting the tokina because the extra length on the end makes it good for people photos as well as landscapes. also the build quality is superb.
    reason i'm thinking about it is, i'm planning a trip to Mexico City, and in preparation copped a book of aerial photos (awesome). the Pyramids in Teotihuacan look like they deserve all the wide-angle coverage possible, although it does look like i'd have room to step back a bit, which may not be the case in more congested urban areas like Palonco. in any event, i'll make do with the tokina and i'm sure it'll be fine, but for a once-in-a-lifetime shot where wideness counts, you want to be as wide as you can get.
    to the OP, the tokina really is a sweet deal at that price (i paid $500 for mine), and in general i prefer new lenses over used. but it really comes down to shooting style. if you think you will mainly shoot at the widest setting, get the sigma. if you plan on shooting at every focal length, and mixing landscape and people shots, get the tokina. not much more to say on this one.
  17. "your need to be snarky aside, i'm trying to answer the OP's question"
    Snarky I was not. I equated the thought that more in photography (wider aperture, wider angle, longer lens, etc.) is better than less, with the concept that, in sex, "size does matter." And in both cases, neither assertion is necessarily true, which you've restated in your own post.
    And technically, the OP didn't ask a question. He asked for opinions.
  18. I want this lens specifically for the wide angle usage, and the Sigma covers almost all of the range of that of the tokina besides at the longer end, which I am actually picking up a 18-55mm VR tomorrow to cover this tomorrow for $60 from a friend. I currently have an appointment to meet the man with the sigma this saturday and I will see about that then.
    As always, further comments are thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks again.
  19. Unless you really need the extra 2mm of going to 10mm on the Sigma, I would go with the Tokina. Other arguments aside, at f/4 even the Tokina is already a slow lens but at least it's not variable aperture. With the Sigma starting at 4 and going to 5.6 that makes for a very dark image in the viewfinder, can slow down AF in dark situations and makes manual focusing next to impossible. I have the original Tokina 12-24 and it's a great lens. But for about the same price as what I paid for it new they are now making the 11-16 2.8. I would much rather have the 2.8 lens, and it also matches up with their 16-50 and 50-135 that make up a full set of 2.8 zooms from 11mm to 135mm. With the 1.5 multiplier, that is equivalent to the traditional full-frame set of about 17-24, 24-70 and 70-200.
  20. Alright, so after it all, I ended up getting a new sigma 10-20mm lens with 4 year sigma warrenty new in box with two day shipping for $449. I looked up images and I found that the extra two mm's near the wide end really do make alot of difference and I will really benefit from them. The focus is spot on and I like the closer minimum distance that the lens offers. Cant wait for it to get here.
    Thank you all so much for all of your help. I will update when the lens arrives on friday (hopefully)
  21. Congrats - enjoy your lens!

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