Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review of the Tokina AF 100mm f/2.8 macro

In last week's article I told you about a bit older lens I came across which I planned to review. The lens in question was the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro, the subject of today's article. There is fierce competition in this slot (~100mm macro lenses), including various macro lenses from Sigmaand Tamron, plus Nikon's own options. There seems to be something for everyone here, so where does Tokina's 100mm stand in all that?

Beautiful bokeh, backgrounds are very smooth

+ optically perfect, period.
+ great value; you get lots of goodness without spending much.
+ AF is accurate and rather fast for a macro.

- having said that, it requires a body motor.
- although its plastic parts seem to be high-quality, it's still plastic.
- 55m filter ring diameter isn't optimal from the Nikon perspective; I'd rather have 52mm or 62mm

Intended Users
Great for:
  • macro, duh.
  • portraiture; great working distance and beautiful bokeh
  • any short tele landscape work

It has one job, really, and it does it well

Not for:
  • sports; AF is fast for a macro, but still slow-ish for tracking action
  • entry-level DX cameras; you'll lose autofocus.
  • work in dirty/dusty environments; it extends a lot, it sucks in a lot of air

Final Verdict

A brilliant lens that does flawlessly what it's asked to do: take super-sharp macro photos. Every else on top of that is a bonus, really, and I found it to be a competent lens for e.g. portraits and general short-tele assignments (particularly of stationary or slowly-moving subjects). As usual, it boils down to personal preference. Here's what I mean:

1) If your scope only involves macro and you have a body that meters AI-S lenses, you don't need the Tokina 100mm f/2.8. Get any old micro-Nikkor instead.

2) If you plan to use this lens also for other things, perhaps a VR version would be preferable - consider the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS or the Tamron 90mm f.2.8 VC.

3) DX user looking for a good all-around solution? Give the micro-Nikkor AF-S VR 85mm f/3.5 lens a look.

Options right and left!

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