Probably my most thorough lens review yet with lots of example shots.

I am reviewing the Tokina 11-16mmF/2.8 Pro AT-X116DX f/Canon version lens. I am going to discuss:

  1. Price,
  2. Show lots of b-roll I have shot, what this lens is good for,
  3. Sharpness test,
  4. Speed of focus,
  5. Build quality,
  6. Which cameras this works well for.

This is probably my most thorough lens review I have done.

Price

tokina-11-16I would say like to say I am not Scott Bourne, if you don’t know who he is you should start listening to his podcast ‘photofocus’. I don’t own as many lenses as Scott does, so this review will be geared towards amateurs like myself that are on a budget.

First off, wow look at all these reviews of this lens on B&H, which is a ton for a 3rd party lens! I have high expectations. Better be good at $600 which is only $75 cheaper than the price of my camera. They say you should invest in your glass and not the camera body, I hope they are right!

But you really need to put this in perspective because if you wanted to buy something similar like the Canon Super Wide Angle EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM it goes for $2,220!

Isn’t pretty much all of Tokina and some of Canon’s glass all come from Hoya anyway?

I know a ton of people are searching for the Tokina 11-16mm on Craigslist to find an even cheaper used price. I looked in my area but no one was selling this lens used, they must like it too much to give it up.

Examples of What do you use it for?

Check out this shoot I got on the ski slopes, before I got kicked off, I love how dramatic the distortion of a wide angle gives you.

A wide angle lens like this has lots of uses, real estate videos, landscape, bathroom scene with knife. There is now way you could do a bath room scene like this with anything less than a 20mm.

2.8 is fast glass, so it is good for low light shooting where you need a fast shutter speed to capture the action for stills.

Constant aperture so you can zoom while you are filming.

With wide angle I hear from Trey Ratcliff say that f4 f5 everything is in focus after a few years, and I have say he is right.

Sharpness Test

Unfortunately Lightroom does not have a lens profile for this lens yet, I found a profile that someone else made perhaps I can install it.

Lightroom zoom in on corners to see if it is sharp. It is not as sharp in the corners but I hear that is a common trait of wide angle lenses.

Speed of Focus

Some of the expert photographers talk about how 3rd part lenses can’t focus as fast as Canon or Nikon, so I wanted to test this out.

Here I am comparing the speed of how fast this lens can focus by focusing out side for a far distance and then inside much closer, I am comparing it to my Canon 28-135mm. it sound like they can focus at the same speed.

Build Quality

Everyone talks about build quality I am very careful with my lenses. Not a pro so heavy is not good for my neck,  might get very old on vacation.

My friend who also owns a T2i borrowed this lens and he could get over how well built the lens felt and how wide it got, he kept saying, “I got to get one of these!”.

Which camera will this work well on?

You will get full use out of this lens on your Canon crop sensor. Look at the label on box. I bet this would not work well on the 5d because it would vignette at down at 11mm.

Other Info

Filter size is 77mm.

It has a 3 year warranty.

Caboose in Broomfield Colorado

Driving at night with the Tokina 11-16mm by Dave Besnette as I drove

Tokina 11-16mm - First Test Shot

Buy Yourself Something Nice – you deserve it!

If this review was informative enough for you to consider buying this lens, please consider supporting my site by purchasing your lens from B&H Photo Video through this link, it does not cost you anything extra and B&H usually has the best prices around.

If you do buy this lens, please send me an email and let me know what you think.

B&H is where I have purchase a lot of my own gear. They are also nice enough to loan me gear so I can get more experience and pass that on to you.

25 comments

  • Hey Dave, some of those slider shots are pretty sweet.. When using the tokina with the slider for those shots where you start far and get closer, do you feel the elevated joystick head is important so the slider doesnt get in the shot? Also, with the joystick, since the camera is more elevated, do you notice an increase in vibration compared to your fluidhead for exemple? Thanks!

  • @Rick thanks. Yes I think elevating the camera with the joystick does increase the vibrations but the joystick makes it so easy going from one shot to the next I don’t mind using it.

  • just heads up, in your article you wrote “With wide angle I hear from Trey Ratcliff say that f4 f5 everything is in focus after a few years, and I have say he is right.” that confuzed me at first haha. i assume you meant yards, like you said in the video

  • when you say the only thing close to it is the canon L series lens, do you mean because it has fixed F stop all the way through? because the sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6, is even more versitle focal length wise, just not as fast. and similar in price.

  • A month ago, I rented the Tokina 11-16mm lens from Borrow Lenses, after reading a a bunch of comments from users, photographers & videographers. I must say that everything that I read where people praised the Tokina 11-16mm, were true.

    The lens is very fast and on the T2i, it’s a great lens for alot of things, especially sporting events like a soccer game.

    I plan on purchasing the Tokina 11-16mm, but I wanted to “give it a good test run”, and I found that the best way to do that was renting it for a week from borrowlenses.com.

  • Be careful. I purchased this from a seller on Ebay who had a ton of positive feedback and it was gray market with no warranty. Ask first if buying on Ebay. B&H NEVER has this lens in stock. It is an awesome lens though. Canon L glass is better, but to your point, at what price.

  • My God Dave! The landscape shot with the mountains and the dead tree at 3:45 is just amazing! The dynamic range is incredibile! what picture style did you use there? and did you use color correcting? Its just amazing! Very good job, and congrats on the lens, its a very useful one!

  • @Sergiu I have been using the neutral picture style with the contrast at -3 and sharpness at 1. I added a little sharpness and saturation back in at post.

  • Great review, but I think comparing to Canon’s 10-22mm or Tamron’s 10-24 would be a better apples-to-apples comparison.

  • Great shots, Dave. My favs were at 3:47 and 5:14. How are you white balancing these shots? Are you using AWB, dialing in a specific preset, or using a gray card? My colors just don’t seem to be as spot on as these shots. I used my gray card on a video I’m shooting for work and it turned out warm. Not bad by any means, just warmer than what I expected. I also like the rotational dolly shots and the slider shots.

  • @Randy if the shot is outside or has a lot of natural light I have noticed that AWB works great and is not much different than if I custom-ed white balanced it.

  • I have the same lens and love it. Perfect for sliders or glidecams. A word of warning. This lens is very hard to find and I purchased mine on Ebay and it turned out to be gray market. They wound up giving me a 7 year warranty when I complained.

    As a side note. You do a great job Doug. I think your strong suite is you have a very credible delivery. You lost me for a while when you started trying to be too funny ala Mystery Guitar Man. I dont think thats your thing.

    Keep up the good work.

  • ” neutral picture style with the contrast at -3 and sharpness at 1 ”

    So that means you went into the Neutral setting and modified it?
    Does that make it now a new User Setting?

    Thanks…

  • Dave:” @Logan For me Canon’s 10-22mm is not in the same class because it is not a fast as Tokina’s 2.8.”

    2.8 and 3.5 is not that much. True the 22 is 4.5. But most people who buy these lenses is for the wide end which is 3.5 – a half of a stop lower. The 10-22 has full time USM focusing as well which for me is a plus.

  • Amazing video! And thank you for all the feedback on the equipment you use and your honest opinion. You have inspired me! Keep up the awesome work sir!
    -Okinawa Japan

  • Hi Dave,
    Nice review, thanks. I am new to DSLR and have looked at your shots. They are nice but there is quite a bit of purple on the edges (chromatic aaberation if am not mistaken). Is that an issue with this lens? I am looking to get it with my first 600D DSLR mainly for video shooting. Is it suitable or am I better to begin with the like of 35mm f/2 ? Thanks.

  • Hello there,
    I have watched a lot of reviews about the tokina 11-16. Just got my self one but am disappointed. The video quality is more than worse. I have tried changing the iso, aperture and shutter speed but all am getting is very soft poor videos.
    Am using canon t2i. Please help. what setting and how to go about it.

  • Hello i need a help now I have a 60D with a 17-85mm+50mm-1.8 which one to buy now to do a good job to my musical video thank you very much you do a good Job Dave
    PS sorry for my bad english 🙂

  • Yeah! I purchase it in July))) Thank you Dave so much for recommendation, very very nice lens! Wide angle, nice sharpness and a little bit of shallow DOF)
    I really glad))
    Thanks again! 😉

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