Review Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD @ D7200


What many people don’t realize: Even on DX/APS-C, you benefit from lenses for 50-megapixel full-frame cameras. The number of pixels per mm on a DX/APS-C sensor is the same size as on a 50-megapixel full-frame sensor. 

Tokina AT-X 24-70 mm F2.8 PRO FX is an affordable workhorse for the professional photographer or prosumer, designed to satisfy even the requirements of photographers with a full-frame 50-megapixel sensor. This universal zoom lens, available for Canon and Nikon cameras—due to its constant high brightness and 24-70 mm zoom range—is widely usable. On a camera with an APS-C/DX, you lose a bit of angle as far as the field of view is concerned, which you gain with the telephoto. A field of view that corresponds with a 105 mm lens on a full-frame sensor is more suited to a frame-filling portrait than 70 mm. That makes this lens perfect on a DX or APS-C camera for landscape, portrait, documentary, indoor, sport or theater photography. You can leave your flash at home and get more of the atmosphere in your shots. If you are planning to ever switch to a camera with a full-frame sensor, then you do not have to buy a new lens. As a preview of our test of the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 on a full-frame camera, we start with a test on a Nikon D7200.

Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD: shop price just above 1000 euros

But a full three cast aspherical elements are combined with three super low dispersion (SD) lens elements for as high a resolution and contrast as possible. This kind of complex lens design makes it possible to get sharp, contrast-rich shots where vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion are held to a minimum. The strikingly flat front lens reduces the risk of damage and, together with the innovative optical construction, ensures a minimum of reflections.

Build and auto focus

If you compare the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 with the new Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8E, then it is notable that the two design teams have chosen very different solutions. The Nikon 24-70 mm lens is much longer than the Tokina. As far as build quality is concerned, the correspondence is also that the Tokina lens is built like a tank. Part of this, I believe, is that none of the metal on the inside of the Tokina has been replaced by plastic, such as is the case, for example, in the most recent Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8L MK2. Use of plastic or not, I do not expect that they differ much as far as robustness is concerned. The 82 mm front lens is big. Certainly if you use this lens on a DX camera.

From the pattern on the rubber ring, you can feel whether you are touching the focus ring (horizontal and vertical grooves) or the zoom ring (only vertical grooves). The front lens does not turn during focusing, thanks to the internal focus mechanism, which is nice when using filters. The AF motor is less silent and on average a bit slower than the AF motors of the most modern Canon and Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lenses. The switch from AF to manual focusing happens simply with the familiar Tokina (and Olympus) clutch mechanism. This zoom lens is available in Canon and Nikon mount.

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Very modest distortion and vignetting

Tokina 24-70mm f/2.8 review sample imageTokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD @ 70 mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, 64 ISO

Many designers choose to design a lens with visible vignetting at full aperture. That is less expensive and offers the option of applying a smaller lens aperture. The dark corners are then automatically made lighter by software, in the camera when saving the jpg files or when opening RAW files on your computer. The disadvantage of this method is that the signal-to-noise ratio of your shots becomes poorer in the corners. Tokina has chosen the high road by keeping the vignetting limited by design. On a camera with a DX sensor, you can ignore the vignetting in all cases. Very good.
Distortion runs from visible barrel-shaped to visible pincushion-shaped in the same way as with the other high-end 24-70 mm lenses that we have recently tested.


Remarkably little flare


The strikingly flat front lens reduces the risk of damage and, together with the innovative optical construction, ensures a minimum of reflections. In order to prevent flare, a multi-coating is applied to the two front lens elements and to the rear-most lens elements. It works. Flare and ghosting are clearly minimized by this. If you take shots at f/16, then a sharp light source can ensure beautiful 18-point sun stars.


Sublime sharpness


Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD @ 24 mm f/8,64 ISO

Resolution of Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO: perfect match for a 50-megapixel camera.

The Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 Pro delivers very sharp images starting at full aperture, whereby after stopping down two stops, the optimal center sharpness is reached. Just as with many 24-70 mm zooms, the center sharpness is the highest at the shortest focal length. But even at 50 mm, this zoom lens aims high when it comes to center sharpness. The Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 does better in our list of reviews than many lenses with a fixed focal length. If you compare the Tokina 24-70 mm with the Tamron 24-70 mm or Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8E, then the Tokina wins on center sharpness. In the corners, the—much more expensive—Canon and Nikon perform a bit better. The Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8E is the winner among these three zooms when it comes to corner sharpness.

Tokina 24-70mm f/2.8 review

Chromatic aberration

Across the greatest part of the zoom range, the chromatic aberration is kept well in check. Only at 24 mm are colored edges visible at sharp contrast transitions in the corners. This is very simple to correct with software. The lens correction profiles in Lightroom, Photoshop and DxOMark make it possible to do that for all the shots at once with one press of a button. At the time of the test, there was not yet a lens correction profile available for the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8, but that will be resolved with the next software update. 

Bokeh Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD

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Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD @ 70 mm f/2.8,100 ISO

The Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 is a lens for bokeh fans

The 9 rounded aperture blades and the high brightness of this zoom lens ensure a beautiful background blur, so that you isolate you subject clearly from the background. The high sharpness at full aperture amplifies that effect. When there are aspherical lens elements used in a lens—and that is currently the case for all high-end zoom lenses—then there is a chance of onion-ring bokeh, where rings are created in the bokeh of light sources in the background blur. We find that often, but not with the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO. That is probably thanks to the cast aspherical elements. Onion-ring bokeh is caused by the grinding process of aspherical lenses. By casting the lens elements, which is not simple in technical terms, Tokina prevents ugly onion rings in the bokeh.
Another source that can detract from the bokeh is vignetting. As a result of vignetting, the bokeh changes from round in the center to cat’s eye shaped at the edges and in the corners. This phenomenon occurs to an extreme degree with bright zoom lenses. Thanks to the strikingly low vignetting, the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 aims high on this point as well. 

Conclusion Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD review with Nikon D810

{insertgrid ID = 387} Look in our list of reviewed lenses in order to compare this lens with other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: “What you see is what you get”.

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ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of lens correction profiles in DxO Optics, Photoshop or Lightroom for the conversion of RAW files, then the scores for vignetting, chromatic aberration and vignetting are (even) higher. {insertgrid ID = 309}


  • High image quality
  • Great bokeh, partly thanks to unique aspherical lens elements
  • High build quality
  • Bright
  • Compact build
  • Attractively priced


  • AF is audible
  • No built-in image stabilization

Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO = compact, maximum resolution, minimum vignetting/distortion.

Between the time when we first heard about a new Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 and the actual appearance of the Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD, a good deal of time passed. Understandable, since the design of a lens for cameras with a full-frame 50-megapixel sensor is not simple. And because a Nikon D7200 has as many pixels per mm as a 50-megpixel camera with a full-frame sensor, that applies just as much for the Nikon D7200 test camera. It places high demands on the center sharpness of a lens. Tokina has succeeded well in rising to the challenge. This is a potential workhorse for a very critical target audience, while there are already a number of optically good lenses (Canon 24-70 f/2.8L mk2, Tamron 24-70 mm f/2.8 and the recently appeared Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8E) on the market.

The Tokina 24-70 mm f/2.8 PRO is convincing with unparalleled high center sharpness and is a welcome addition to this group. The lack of built-in image stabilization is a disadvantage for some people in comparison with the competition. But not all photographers place the same emphasis on built-in image stabilization. The extremely solid build and the handy Focus Clutch mechanism for switching simply to manual focus are two important plus points for the Tokina. Take a good look at the list and shop prices of this bright, professional, all-round zoom. It will be clear that very high image quality has become accessible to a large group of photographers, who until recently could only dream about that.

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