This post provides an overview and review of the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 wide angle lens.
Over the past few years as HDR photography has evolved its become pretty clear that one of the most beneficial assets to HDR photography is the wide angle lens.
One of the most enjoyable things about HDR for me is the fact that you can capture scenes with a sense of realism that is just unparalleled when solely using traditional camera technology.
That said, it only took about 4 months of shooting until I realized that I was going to need to expand my lens repertoire if I were going to get serious about my photography.
So I set out to find the perfect wide angle lens.
When I first began my search there were a couple things that I learned, 1) there was quite a bit of competition on this space. Every major lens manufacturer seemed to have a high quality wide angle that they wanted to sell me. 2) None of them were cheap.
When doing my initial research I checked out the Nikkor 12-24mm f/4, Sigma 10-20mm f/4, Tamrom 11-18 f/4 and quite a few others.
To be honest I thought this one blew all of them away, including the Nikkor both in terms of performance and price.
So when I began searching for the perfect wide angle what was I looking for?
- Ultra-wide. I wanted something at least 12mm if not 10 or 11. When shooting HDR the more expansive you can make your shots look and feel, the more potential you have to create something truly dramatic within the image. At 11-16mm, we got that one covered.
- Fast. For the majority of my wide angle shots I stick to the 11-12mm range at f/4 to f/5.6 But I also like to experiment with some darker subjects, and the ability to stop all the way down to f/2.8 is a big advantage this lens has over some of its competitors.
- Price. I really didn’t want to spend an arm and a lake to purchase such a specialized lens. Sure there are much more specialized lenses out there like the fantastic Nikon Fisheye, but even still, I didn’t want to spend more if I didn’t have to. Luckily this one came in about $300 cheaper than the Nikon and only cost me $600. This is what really sold me. To have a lens that as far as I could tel performed better than Nikon, for that much less money, it was a bit of a no brainer.
Things to Note
This lens is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras, however the only experience I’ve had with it has been for Nikon Cameras. You should also note that there is no auto-focus motor built in to the camera, so it won’t work with some of Nikon’s base models like the D3100 and D5000. That said, I’ve used it on multiple occasions with the D5000 and it’s performed beautifully. In particular for landscape shots where you can stick it on infinity and call it good.
Overall I’ve been extremely happy with the Tokina 11-16mm lens and would highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a fantastic lens to shoot wide angle HDR shots.