Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tokina 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 RMC

I don't know what I was thinking when I got this lens. Perhaps the price was the main motivation - a functioning full-frame zoom for 5 euros (~ $6.50). Is it worth the price of a cappuccino and a croissant? Should you buy it? Do you even care to read this review? Let's find out!

Not bad, not good. Wide-open @28mm is probably the worst case scenario, with visible distortion, loss of contrast, and fair resolution

+ cheap. 28-70mm full frame lens for a few coins lying around on your desk.
+ ergonomics are not bad; good feel from the focus ring as well as the zoom ring
+ optically quite acceptable...

- ...although, don't fool yourself. It's a cheap, very basic, consumer zoom.
- the bokeh in particular is too distracting for my taste
- kinda heavy-ish

The bokeh is nothing to rave about either
Intended Users
Great for:
  • FX users looking for a dirt-cheap midrange zoom as a temporary solution
  • manual film cameras. It has an aperture ring and a good focus ring
  • bundle it with a camera you plan to sell, to increase the (apparent) value

Not for:
  • long-term solution. It's just not good enough, I don't see the point.
  • Realistically, any AF modern lens is a more balanced option
  • I'd skip for mirrorless, too. Too big and heavy for a small mirrorless body, and the image quality isn't that great.

Final Verdict
The problem of this lens is its scope. It's cheap, yes. Very cheap. But, so what? When you buy lenses, you should buy in terms of scope (that is, where do you plan to use the lens). And this Tokina 28-70mm, although not a bad lens, is hopelessly obsolete in today's photographic world. If you want a midrange zoom for full frame, there are literally dozens of options that are better. Some of them are cheap, some of them are expensive (and some of them very expensive). Read my article on value, and try to decide how much (if any) you should spend on a midrange zoom. But, the bottom line is, even if you are on a very strict budget, there are lenses that are more sense-making that this Tokina.

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