Tokina 50-250mm AT-X review

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Sometimes a lens at my local photo shop sits on the secondhand shelf unsold for so long that it then gets put in the £5 'rummage box'. So it was with the Tokina 50-250mm f/4-5.6 AT-X reviwed here. Lens tested on D810.
    I write this as honetly I am amazed how cheap really quite decent lenses may be obtained. When I see people spending hundreds of pounds worth of money that they have struggled to earn on new gear I feel like saying 'check out the rummage box - and save yourself a grand'. Anyway, I digress. This lens was in very clean used condition and on picking it up I saw the useful focal length range and good build and also had to do a double take - does it really go down to 1:1.4 life size? It does...and that's more than some genuine macro lenses!
    First off, here is my lens.
    00d4cF-554150084.JPG
     
  2. Well I had to try the macro feature first. It is enabled by twisting the lens past closest focus at 50mm and then zooming. The zoom action is the focus control. Here is the full frame - and I think you will agree that it looks pretty darn good.
    00d4cK-554150184.JPG
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Which bodies did you try the lens on, 35mm film or DSLR?
     
  4. Lets have a closer look...here's a crop.
    00d4cO-554150284.JPG
     
  5. Shun, these tests conducted on D810.
    Next up a shot at 50mm outdoors. The even illumination and excellent sharpness are suprising for an older zoom. I really like how it starts at 50mm, much more useful than 70mm start in my opinion.
    00d4cR-554150384.JPG
     
  6. Ok, lets see a 100% crop of the above.
    00d4cT-554150484.JPG
     
  7. Now as you know it's at the longer focal lengths that zoom lenses start to struggle. Here the 50-250 is of course not as sharp as at the shorter end, however it is still obviously better than some current 70-300 AF offerings which were very poor when I tried them. Here is the lens at full zoom.
    00d4cU-554150584.JPG
     
  8. Ok, lets have the crop...don't get too excited...but not too shabby performance either
    00d4cV-554150684.JPG
     
  9. Well so far I was really enjoying my £5 bargain. I tried it at 135mm and again, it performed really well with even sharpness (which was almost as good as my Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 Ai-S).
    00d4cX-554150784.JPG
     
  10. To round off I will leave you with another macro shot, but before I do I will just say that I think that if you are prepared to try older lenses that you have never heard of before then you can really get some bargains - and I mean that. If I had just this lens and a trip to a nice location I would not feel short changed. Of course, you need a support or be prepared to up the ISO, but for tripod work this lens works as good as or better than so many newer lenses yet even at £29 it had remained unsold for 2 years. What a shame. Anyway, here is another macro shot.
    00d4cb-554150884.JPG
     
  11. And a crop...
    So, any other users of this lens here? Mine is from 1981 and yet performs as well as many from 2015. I look forward to finding similar bargains out there, ignored, passed over and yet ready and willing to serve the photographer with good service still.
    00d4ce-554150984.JPG
     
  12. Never noticed this before--but Her Majesty has catch-lights!
     
  13. My one concern with a lens that looks like that is that it has the "rabbit ear" coupling for the light meter on the old FTn series. Does it also have the Ai cut? If not, you might damage DSLR cameras like the D810, D750.
    If it is Ai'ed. then you found a gem -congratulations.
     
  14. Thanks for the input. Brooks, yes I made sure that it
    was a proper Ai fit lens - these weren't made in non-
    Ai fit do no danger of a broken tab.
     
  15. Thanks for posting this, Ian. I am very impressed by the macro performance. I have the same 50-250 ATX in Canon FD mount which I shot once on a Panasonic GF2 (micro 4/3). I was pretty pleased with hurried test results from my copy, but shamefully have not done more with it since. My technique was less than optimal since it was late evening and I was impatient. Lacking a tripod collar, I had the plate bolted to the GF2 body, which made a very long moment arm with the long lens and the 1/80th shutter speed even with lens wide open. I think the first image was at 200mm since I was comparing the Tokina to the Canon FD 200/4 macro, even though I was not testing the macro function specifically.
    Now that I've acquired a Sony A7 it may be time to give the Tokina another try, especially the macro function given your great results. Incidentally, I agree completely it's nice that the lens starts at 50mm.
    00d4fJ-554161784.JPG
     
  16. More iris. This is the entire micro 4/3 frame, BTW. So effectively a crop of a hypothetical 135-format frame, but the "full" GF2 frame, if that makes sense.
    00d4fK-554161884.JPG
     
  17. I think you will like it on FF Michael - and your photos look very nice too.
     
  18. I have just been going through some more of my photos taken with this lens and it had me wondering. Is there any lens from any manufacturer (for Nikon fit) that offers similar range and features?
    I thought I would share one last photo taken wide open at 250mm. I think that digital has given these slower lenses a new lease of life.
    00d4lJ-554183584.JPG
     
  19. I have two of these. One is in Konica mount and I don't remember just now what mount the other one is. The reason I am able to use such a slow lens with a Konica is that I have two bodies, an FT-1 and a T2, which were modified to use Nikon E screens. Unless I am carrying a tripod, this is a fair weather lens. If there is a particular lens which comes in more than one mount and which is slow, I first look for it in Minolta manual focus mount. This way I can use it with an X-700 with either a plain matte screen or a grid screen. There are many good slow lenses. The trick is being able to focus them well. There are other lenses in the AT-X line which are also quite good. I have the 28-85/3.5-4.5 in several mounts. The 90/2.5 macro is the same lens as the 90/2.5 Vivitar Series 1 macro but with later coating. If I ever find A 50-250 AT-X in K mount I will try it on my K-x DSLR.
     
  20. thanks for this! you make the larger point that for the vast majority of us who do not make money out of photography, there's tons of perfectly good tools that are being discarded because they are labeled as "obsolete" ONLY because technology has "improved". one keeps hearing that body X is "obsolete" simply because it was released 9 years ago."obsolete" in my book means - when i have a film camera and i cannot buy film anywhere. or, i have a digital camera but somehow all the computers have disappeared from the face of the earth. yet, many of us will continue to drop millions of dollars just to catch up with the "latest"...
     

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