Going Wide (Tokina 12-24 AT-X Pro)

It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it! A couple weeks ago, I picked up a new lens to add to my collection. Introducing the Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 wide angle!

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I’ve been lusting after a wide angle for some time now and I’d been considering this lens. At an MSRP of $399 for the initial AT-X Pro version ($499 for the AT-X Pro II) seemed a bargain compared to the $1000+ price tag of the Nikon equivalent. Even better, I got mine used from a local camera shop for less than that! A sucker for a good deal (and even nicer glass), I went ahead and picked it up. This would be my second piece of glass from Tokina, the first being the 100mm AT-X Pro Macro lens.

First things first, I noticed how well the lens feels to hold. It’s fairly weighty and gives nice balance to the D7000 body I’m using. Both the focus ring and zoom ring are a decent size, making them easy to use in hand.

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Both the zoom ring and focus ring goes clockwise for increasing focal length and distance, which is right on par with standard Nikkor lenses. Sorry Canon fans, it’s “backwards” for you. Winking smile

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Another neat thing about some Tokina lenses is the clutch system used to engage manual focus. Pull back on the focus barrel to go into manual mode, push forward for auto. Kinda nice that you don’t have to take your hands off the lens to change, or hunt for a switch on the neck of the lens! The only real issue I have (and it’s really not a fault of the lens), is that it takes 77mm filters. Unfortunately, this doesn’t match any of the filters I already have in my collection so I’d have to get a new set for polarizers (and they’d have to be ultra thin, at that).

So what can you do with an ultra wide angle lens? The obvious answer would be for landscapes, but that’s not all it’s good for!

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Here are some examples of wide angle shots. The first is a landscape and the second is a picture of my new desk. Both were shot at 12mm, so I was actually pretty close to both targets. This is a fairly obvious application, “getting more in the shot,” but there’s a lot more stuff you can do with a wide. It seems counter intuitive, but close up work can really benefit too!

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In each of these shots, the object was very close to the minimum working distance of the lens (mouse in the first, camera in the second). In both photos, I set the aperture to f/4.0 triggered the shutter remotely. One thing I’ve noticed is the nice depth of field that comes in at maximum aperture, but the other cool thing is the interesting perspective effect that’s introduced. Lines that are supposed to be perpendicular are distorted more than with a standard lens.

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Another great use is to squeeze in to those places for shots where you normally can’t. We were out and about one day and found this little bridge, which is pretty much 1/3 scale. It would be perfect for dolls, but how could I shoot from the bridge and look straight on at the girls? Answer? Use a wide angle!

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Here’s Sakura and Miu on the bridge, the scale is just perfect! From behind, I could kneel on the bridge, zoom in slightly, and get both girls framed well.

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More shots of Sakura, in the first picture you can see a bit of the distortion the lens introduces.

In all, the lens is great for a variety of purposes, from landscapes, to close up work, to doll portraits. And at the price range, practically a bargain compared to the competition!

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