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Tokina ATX 28-85 F3.5-4.5 lens quality

Roger Smith , May 22, 2006; 07:17 p.m.

I'm looking for a mid-range zoom for my X-700. The Minolta 28-85 looks like a promising lens, and was well-reviewed on Rokkorfiles, but it's still expensive on the used market. I have read good things about other Tokina ATX lenses of the era, and wanted to see how it compares. The 28-85 F3.5-4.5 TOKINA AT-X MACRO (62) seems much cheaper on the used market- is it good? I currently only shoot with Minolta primes, but would like a single walkabout lens instead of carrying multiple lenses and bodies.


Harry Voutsinas , May 22, 2006; 10:28 p.m.

Hi Roger I have had 2 of these lenes for my Olympus OM cameras(one broke after alot of hard use), and have had great results. They are metal and weigh about a pound,and take 62mm filters. I found it to be a great walk around lens. Harry

Francois Gauthier , May 22, 2006; 11:30 p.m.

It is an excellent lens and your best pick for a zoom starting at 28mm. Excellent quality. Ideal for tourism.

As a walkabout lens, i don't like the fact that it is a 2 ring zoom (focal and focus are separate) that makes it slower to use. (unlike on tripod where 2 rings make more sense).

This is why i prefer the old RMC (green) 35-105 F3.5-4.3 of the same brand, a smaller (55mm filter size) and faster lens to set. I get better street portrait shots with this one. But the ATX's rendition is better.

A third choice is the Tamron SP 35-80 F2.8-3.8. Similar to the ATX in quality and size (also 2 rings and 62mm filter size) but you trade a smaller zoom range for a faster aperture lens and a more powerfull macro (1:2.5). A nice lens but i prefer the ATX for its 28-85 range.

Since you already have primes, the quality of the ATX is interesting but if you already have 55mm filters, the 35-105 would be nice. I have a 24mm prime (55mm filters) wich makes a nice duo with it.

Stefan T. , May 23, 2006; 02:24 a.m.

In had two Tokina 3.5-4.5/ 28-70 (in AF and MF) and had very good results from the lens. It's pretty small and light, all metal built and has a 52mm filter diameter.


Bob Gentile , May 23, 2006; 11:01 a.m.

IIRC, there're some Vivitar Series 1 lenses in that focal range. 28-90mm/Macro? (Series 1 was their "pro" line and some of the Series 1 lenses are still considered legendary performers.)

Roger Smith , May 24, 2006; 11:42 a.m.

Thanks for the helpful replies, especially Francois. I think I'll get a Tokina.

Francois Gauthier , May 24, 2006; 02:31 p.m.

You are welcome, Roger.

A comment on the Vivitar series 1 (28-90) : seems nice but simply too bulky (large and heavy).

If you pick the ATX, you should know it is nice from F5.6 to F16 but best at F8 and F11 (resolution and contrast).

Jeff Adler , May 25, 2006; 11:21 a.m.

I have two of these. One is in Canon FD mount and the other in Konica AR mount. It is a very decent lens. I also have two X-700 bodies. One has a grid type focusing screen and the othera plain matte screen. The finder of the X-700 is very bright and I would like to get one of these lenses in MD mount for that reason. I find the focusing aids in the center of the viewfinder to be very distracting. If you can get a grid screen for your X-700 you will enjoy using the 28-85 Tokina AT-X and other zoom lenses a lot more.

When I use a zoom on a X-700 it is usually a 35-70mm f/3.5 2-touch MD. This is a really excellent lens but has less range than the AT-X 28-85. Another nice lens in the 35-70 range is the Soligor 35-70mm f/2.5-3.5. It is also sometimes seen with the Access brand name. I have a Vivitar Series 1 35-85mm f/2.8 in M42 mount. It is nice but very heavy. The 28-90mm Vivitar Series 1 has a little more range and is a little slower but it is a good performer. The 28-105mm Vivitar Series i is also a good performer but is much larger and heavier than the 28-90 and not as well built.

I also have the 35-80 Tamron SP. It had a Minolta MD adapter on it and if I can find it I might use it again. It's also nice.

Roger Smith , May 28, 2006; 02:09 p.m.

Well I just won the Tokina for about $50 (shipped) on Ebay, so I look forward to trying it out soon. Thanks for your help and advice.

Roger Smith , Jun 23, 2006; 03:26 p.m.

I tested the lens against my primes shooting a map and will post the results. I couldn't find an appreciable benefit in sharpness or resolution between the 50 1.7 prime and the zoom, with the zoom better at wider apertures, and the 28 2.8 has much better corners than the zoom, but not by much. I don't have a prime at the long end to compare the zoom lens to.

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