Monday, August 17, 2009

Back from vaction and a few thoughts on the Tokina 12-24 Pro DX

I have a few things to talk about today, first being that I was out camping at Sunset View Provincial Park last week. The park is located in the southern Cariboo region of British Columbia. The area beautiful to say the least, and there are many opertunities to photograph the various landscapes. I had the chance to take many sunset photos, although the weather wasn't the best and thus I was unable to take any truly powerful shots with rich colour.

Over the next few days I'll be posting a few more shots from the trip, and share my thoughts on the photos and how I went about taking them, although I wont be doing that today.

Thoughts on Tokina 12-24 Pro AT-X DX lens for Nikon (Screw Drive version)
Rather than talking about shots today, I thought I would share a my initial impressions of my new Tokina 12-24 AT-X Pro DX lens, which I picked up from the post office yesterday. Before I go any further I thought I would mention that I got the screw drive version of this lens, not the updated version which will auto focus on the D40(x), D60, D3000 and D5000. My first impression was that this lens is built very well. Not as tough as say my Nikon 35-70mm AF 2.8, but it is better built than say the Nikon 18-70 kit lens that I first used with my D80 last year. I really like the cap for this lens, and I find it much easier to attach, even with the hood on, than the caps that come with most Nikon lenses, which surprised me somewhat. Everything about this lens is done right, build quality, smooth zoom and manual focus controls, and optics too! I'm really impressed with the image quality stopped down, even at F5.6 it is very sharp, and by the time you get to F8 it is one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used. Auto focus is a little more hit and miss than my Nikkors, and being that this is my first third party auto focus lens, I wasn't sure what to expect. That said, when I am in low light with my SB-800 attached the Tokina 12-24 focuses extremely quickly and accurately thanks to the AF-Illuminatior on the flash gun. Once I have had a chance to field test this lens, as my tests so far have just been around the house, I'll give more thoughts on the Tokina 12-24mm.

Thoughts on Nikon 28mm 2.8D - The Light weight Prime, that isn't so prime...
I was very disappointed that I didn't receive my Tokina before I left for my vacation, it shipped the day before I left, but I was able to get my hands on a used Nikon 28mm 2.8D. Now I'd heard I lot of bad things about this lens, and some of them are true, but I also didn't want to be on my trip without a lens wider than 35mm on a DX camera! Now the distance between 28mm and 35mm doesn't sound like a lot, but in practice it is noticeable, not to mention the difference in weight between the 28mm 2.8D and the 35-70mm AF 2.8 is very noticeable especially when you are out for a long walk or hike.

Besides weighing a lot less, one of the other things I like about the 28mm lens is that the field of view is very nice on a DX camera, it gives approximately 42mm crop, vs the 52mm crop at 35mm on the same camera. Also the minimum focusing distance is 25cms, which means you can get very close to your subject, although I would recommend stopping down to F8 -F11 if you do so. At more distance focus distances, sharpness is fine at F5.6-F11. I like this lens for personal use, but I do not think that I would want to use it for professional purposes, as it is much too soft wide open, and doesn't start to get sharp till F5.6 as I already pointed out. I also noticed slight vignetting, which I found hard to believe, since I have it mounted on a DX body!