As a person who loves and uses a Tokina AT-X Pro Macro 100 F2.8D Lens, I have been debating on purchasing a 35mm prime lens. I have been using my Canon 50mm 1.8 and I have taken thousands of shots with it and love it, but I was considering getting a 50mm 1.4 but decided to go with the 35mm because I am using a crop sensor Canon T3i.
While there are other 35mm on the market, I chose the Tokina strictly for the quality that I have experienced with my 100mm. I figured that the 100mm was built like a tank and I expected the same quality from it’s 35mm.
It’s important to note that I rarely use autofocus as I am mostly manual focus user but I did test the autofocus on this lens. I used a ES-62 hood (aftermarket) and a UV filter on this lens as well (tested with and without filter).
Similar to my 100mm, autofocus takes a push up on the focus wheel and manual focus by pushing focus wheel down.
I did some street shooting of live subjects and loved the look and clarity, great amount of bokeh! Pictures were very clear and captured a good amount of detail. Unlike the 100mm, for limit and full for Macro shots, the switch is an actual switch rather than a rotating switch that is used on the 100mm. I was quite pleased with the close-up shot I was able to achieve with this lens. Granted, it’s 35mm but still, loved the amount of detail captured with this lens.
Mr. Rorick gave the lens a 2 star for poor quality control. As for Tokina’s push/pull clutch system, I can see where he is coming from but I haven’t heard many people having problems with a Tokina lens because of their system. For me, I keep my Tokina lenses at manual…There is a difference with the focus wheel of the Tokina 35mm versus the 100mm which is bigger but during my tests, I was able to autofocus many times with no problems. But I can understand where he is coming from, the focus wheel is slimmer and seems a bit flimsier. AF is not that slow…my Canon EFS 18-55mm kit lens and Canon 50mm f/1.8 is much slower than this Tokina 35mm f/2.8. But I do agree that it is a little louder during AF.
As for the low-light, because the aperture is 2.8 any indoor, low-light shot, will give poor results even on a 1.4 and iso boosted all the way up…the problem is not the lens, you have to use a flash. Having a flash is essential and I’m not talking about a pop-up flash on a camera, a real flash is essential. My feeling is if you are going to spend the money for a $300 lens and move away from a kit lens, then one who has done the research, should logically get a flash. Yes, for beginners, flashes from Canon and Nikon’s are expensive, but you can find Yongnuo’s, Neewer (via Godox) and other cheaper alternatives on Amazon and you can utilize this lens and take beautiful shots.
I also tested this lens on video and was able to get a great amount of clarity with it as well.
For anyone who uses a crop sensor DSLR, it’s important to note that with a 50mm prime lens, you are essentially using an 80mm lens and with a 35mm, you are getting a 56mm (note: multiply by 1.6 or 1.5 depending on your DSLR). For me, it was important to get a prime lens that was affordable but also was around 50mm.
Having had amazing experience with my Tokina 100mm f/2.8, I am a proud owner of this Tokina 35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Macro Lens. While I do love the 50mm for portraits, at events that I have covered and models I have shot, many times I have wished I could get more of the body and this is where a 35mm became an important addition in lenses that I use.
At $299, this is a fantastic price for this lens and I know by the reviews you are reading on Amazon, for those of you using autofocus, may feel weirded out about the focus wheel. For your peace of mind and if you use autofocus a lot, then I would look towards a Canon lens where everything is controlled not by pulling or pushing, but by a flick of a switch.
But so far, I haven’t had a problem with autofocus, but bare in mind, I primarily use manual focus when I shoot, so I don’t worry about the push/pull wheel all that much.
Tokina lenses are well-built and similar to my 100mm, the construction is great, the pictures are sharp and I haven’t had any problems with this lens whatsoever. Portraits, close-up, it’s been a solid performing lens for me so far.
As for indoor use and low-light shots, once again…for any lens that involves low-light, I’m going to use a flash or go higher on my ISO. But there’s no comparing this lens to an L-lens. If you spend over $1000k for a lens, you are going to expect major performance in low-light and higher quality in construction. But for $299 (which I paid on Amazon), this is a solid lens!