Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 AT-X 165 AF PRO DX SD

Lens Reviews / Tokina Lenses i Not yet tested
16-50mm $567
average price
image of Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 AT-X 165 AF PRO DX SD

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(From Tokina lens literature) The new Tokina AT-X 165 PRO DX makes an excellent standard lens giving the digital photographer the equivalent of a 24-75mm lens in terms of film. From the nature enthusiast to the portrait artist to photojournalist, everyone will be able to appreciate the AT-X 165's bright f/2.8 constant aperture. This wide aperture allows for faster shutter speeds in low-light conditions or a more shallow depth of field for more pleasing portraits. The out of focus background from a wide aperture setting concentrates attention on the subject giving the photo more strength and intimacy.

Tokina's exclusive One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism allows the photographer to switch between AF and MF simply by snapping the focus ring forward for AF and back toward the camera to focus manually. There is no need to change the AF-MF switch on Nikon cameras*** and there is no second AF/MF switch on the lens for Canon, everything is accomplished by the focus ring.

The front element of the AT-X 165 PRO DX has a newly formulated WP or "Water Proof" optical coating on the glass. This new coating makes marks such as spots left by water or finger-prints much easier to clean than standard multi-coating.**

The rear optical group of the lens contains 1 SD (Super-Low Dispersion) glass element to reduce the number of elements (pieces of glass) in the optical design in order to make the lens more compact, light-weight and faster focusing.

* The lens is designed for Digital cameras with APS-C sized CMOS and CCD sensors, not designed for cameras with Full Frame sensors.
** Please note, the Tokina AT-X 165 PRO DX lens itself is not waterproof or water resistant.
*** Will not AF when used on Nikon D40 or D40x SLR camera body.

Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 AT-X 165 AF PRO DX SD

Your purchases support this site

Buy the Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 AT-X 165 AF PRO DX SD

Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 AT-X 165 AF PRO DX SD User Reviews

7.6/10 average of 7 review(s) Build Quality 9.1/10 Image Quality 7.0/10
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by redvsion (4 reviews)
    Construction, versatility
    Clutch-type MF is finicky, color rendition, CA, depth

    This lens should have been great. It may be heavier than I prefer for a standard zoom, but it feels very solid. The huge manual focus ring is a brilliant idea and the focal length range is extremely usable, though I found myself on the wide end more often than not. It's pretty sharp, though not exceptional. Despite lacking USM, focus is very fast, and the high-pitched noise it makes while focusing isn't loud or obtrusive.

    My biggest problem with this lens was that the images lacked depth, and I'm not sure whether to chalk that up to a lack of contrast or some other factor I can't adequately explain. The photos I took with this lens simply looked flat, and no amount of post-processing would make them pop the same way a better lens would. Color rendition seemed too warm as well, and there's the typical Tokina issue with Chromatic Aberrations, which showed up in any bright areas of the frame. The MF system would have been nice, but pulling the ring back was never a smooth or effortless operation.

    reviewed January 26th, 2011 (purchased for $450)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by smaldc99 (1 reviews)
    well constructed, sharp, large aperature, accurate focus
    purple fringing on brightly lit edges, may need to adjust micro focusing

    I am a big fan of Tokina lenses in general. This is a company that offers construction quality that consistently exceeds the price point of their products.

    There are MANY lenses to choose from in this range. Therefore, choosing the best one can be tricky. For those of you asking yourselves why you might buy this lens, I will outline my personal reasons for owning this over other similar products.

    1) Top quality, METAL construction.
    2) Price for 2.8 aperature lens is exellent
    3) Better in almost all respects than any "kit" lens in this range.
    4) SHARP (at least my copy is very sharp)
    5) Something not talked about with this lens is that it actually has decent macro capability and close focusing distance....a nice bonus I feel.

    A few notable cons are...
    1) Purple fringing. This is pronounced in certain lighting situations, although it is easily correctable with some quick post-processing
    2) No USM. Tokina should work to develop this, as other lens makers have. That said, focus certainly is not slow, albeit a bit noisy.
    3) Image stabilization would be useful at longer focal lengths.

    In conslusion,
    while this lens is not feature laden with the newest tech, it remains one of the best built lenses out there in this price range that has a larger aperture. I would love to see Tokina develop their products, as I do have a great respect for the quality of the items that I have owned.

    reviewed November 18th, 2010 (purchased for $549)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by gugarci (1 reviews)
    Image Quality, Nice Colors and good Contrast, Accurate AF
    Some CA's at Large Apetures, Some Corner Softness Wide Open at 16 & 50mm

    The lens feels really nice in your hand and is built like a tank. The size of the lens is on the large size for my taste and I don't think I would like using anything bigger than this lens for every day use. The AF feels fast and is not too noisy. The damping in the manual focus feels fantastic!!!!!

    The lens is at Its sharpest from corner to corner between 20 to about 40mm. Wide open at 16 & 50mm you get a little more corner softness. In fact at 50mm wide open the corner softness help with the bokeh. And when you are shooting a lens wide open you are trying to isolate the subject, so a little corner softness IMO is not a bad thing. Central sharpness is good from 16-50mm even with the lens wide open.

    At the default JPG camera standard sharpening of +3 with my D300 if you pixel peep you might find the images are on the soft side. If you want sharper images right out of the box the easy fix is to bump up your sharpening to a +5-+7 if your are using a D300. For best results with JPG’s right out of the box if you use a Nikon download and use the D2X Mode’s and bump up the sharpening to +5-+7.

    Over-all for my taste I would rather have softer images compared to over-sharpened images so when I shoot JPG’s, and I mainly shoot Raw, I set my sharpening to +4 or +5 on my D300. The processed Raw shots look great with good colors and contrast. I use Lightroom and for processing of my D300 Raw files I always use the D2X modes.

    The AF of my Tokina appears to be dead on. I tested the AF for back/front focus issues using a simple test consisting of a battery standing in front of box with a large label. So far all my AF test shots have been dead on and have not encountered one out of focus shot. For my needs focus accuracy is very important. I can fix soft images but I can't fix out of focus images.

    I have en countered some CA's in my Raw wide open shots at 16mm. The D300’s JPG engine gets rid of the CA and I have not encountered any CA’s in my JPG shots. The CA's I encountered in some of my wide open shots were very easily removed by Lightroom.

    In conclusion I really like this lens. It produces top notch images with good color and contrast. The AF is fast and accurate and the lens is a joy to hold and handle.

    Bill G.

    reviewed December 26th, 2009 (purchased for $549)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by wingdo (5 reviews)
    Sharp as all get out, 16mm at wide end
    extending barrel

    Another solid zoom from Tokina.

    Image quality is on par with the Nikon 17-55 and beats the Sigma 18-50 hands down.

    The 16mm wide end is a wonderful addition. at wide ends 2mm is a lot. There are times indoors when you just need that extra 2mm to get everyone into the picture without having to backup a lot.

    Of the three Tokinas in my kit (11-16 and 50-135 are the others) it is the weakest but I still like it a lot.

    reviewed October 20th, 2009 (purchased for $500)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Eager (7 reviews)
    build quality, fast aperture, nice zoom range
    soft corners at 50mm/f2.8

    Great lens for indoor and avalaible light shooting. Good performance stopped down for a landscapes too.

    reviewed October 15th, 2009 (purchased for $700)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Renato (5 reviews)
    Great build, exellent sharpness & handling. Feels great on Nikon D300
    extending barrel when zooming

    I have seen several negative reviews on this great lens and I beg to disagree. I am a professional photojournalist with many many years of shooting, and I thing this lens is a great tool at a very honest price. It's well built, it IS SHARP and has a beautiful boke`. It is also (as of this writing) the only zoom of this kind (16/18-50mm) with 9 blades diaphragm... The one thing I do not like is the fact that the barrel extends when zooming. It would have been much better if it was an internal zooming, would make it more solid and better balanced.

    reviewed January 1st, 2009 (purchased for $550)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by Drphoto (1 reviews)
    Strong Construction
    Poor Optics

    I've tried three of these lenses from two different stores. The first was inhabited by ghost, the second wasn't any better, and I just returned the third one today. I wanted to like this lens, it is constructed much better than my Nikon 18-70 and it balances good on the D200, but all of these lenses had optical problems. The chromatic aberrations were terrible & very noticeable at all focal lengths & all apertures (f2.8 - f8 were the apertures I tested the lenses at). It blurred & distorted the corners so much I just couldn't keep the lens. And 50mm f2.8 wasn't anywhere near sharp in the center. It's a shame to build such a nice lens & put such poor optics in it.

    reviewed September 7th, 2008 (purchased for $670)