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04-18-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Tokina 828 AT-X Pro or Sigma 70-200mm f2.8?

Hello folks,

An E-bay auction is running down now on the Tokina 828 (80-200 f2.8), which I have been watching for the last 5 days! (No bids, starting at $560) The condition is stated to be excellent, although there is slight zoom creep, and apparently a minor bit of dust in the lens - which is stated to not effect IQ. This Tokina lens is rated at 9.2 on our forums, with the only negative really being it's weight.

My other option is to pass on the Tokina, and go for the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II. This lens (when filtering through the older Sigma 70-200 review along with it's own designated review) is rated at 9.18 on this forum. Benefits for this lens would be more specialized lenses than the Tokina, as well as the warranty which definitely adds a peace of mind. Otherwise filter sizes are the same, and I believe IQ is slightly less than that of the Tokina. The Sigma will set me back about $799 from Abe's of Maine (before Bing Cashback).

CN:
Tokina - used/slight lens creep/slight dust in lens $560 before Bing Cash back.
Sigma - new/warranty/lower IQ than a new Tokina - $799 before Cash back.

Help me figure out which lens is the best option!!! If you think the Tokina will be fine (with a rubber band or o-ring to fix the lens creep) and that dust won't effect it, say so please!

Thank you,
Greg


04-18-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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Other Options

If you're wiling to purchase an older Tokina, you might want to wait for a used Sigma, possibly one without HSM or even a Tamron 70-200 2.8.

I've seen those go for close to $600 as well, very sharp.
04-18-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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Hi RD96,

I have one of these, the second version of the 80-200/2.8 AT-X Pro AF (it has a petal shaped bayonet-type hood). At the time, between this and the only other AF lenses in this class (Sigma EX APO (pre DG) and the FA*80-200/2.8), the Tokina was the lightest by a couple of ounces, and now, the Tamron might be lighter, but I doubt the newest Sigma is, so weight should not be much of a factor -- they're all pretty heavy.

As far as optically, the Tokina was considered to be behind both the Sigma and Pentax -- a bit soft at f2.8, but still in the same class as far as I was concerned. When I got mine (before the previous versions of the Sigma was discontinued -- maybe 4 years ago?).

The Tokina was always rated a bit lower than the others, and sold for considerably less, new or used. It's still a very good lens, just never the best in class. It was, and still is good enough for my use. The old MF Adaptall 2 Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 is a better lens optically, IMO, and I have one of these that I prefer using over the Tokina with the F 1.7x AFA.

As far as used pricing, at the time, the Tokina was normally about $400-475, The Sigma around $600, and the Pentax from $1200-2000. Then both Tokina and Sigma discontinued their models in this FL range and spec for the K mount, while the Pentax had been discontinued for some time. With no new lenses of this type in Pentax mount available for quite a while, the prices went crazy, with the Tokina going for $800-1000, the Sigma for $1000 and up, and the Pentax went to average close to $2000. The both Sigma and Tamron came out with their current models, and the used prices for all but the Pentax immediately dropped significantly to reasonable levels again. Armed with a little history, you can make your own judgment as to whether it's worth the price being asked. Remember that you're comparing a new price to a used one, and the new lens would have a warranty.

If you're considering using the lens with a TC to get more reach, also realize that the Sigma is HSM only, and none of the PZ compatible TCs (that have the required electrical contacts) on either the new or used market were really designed for SDM/HSM focusing lenses, so AF performance with TCs might be iffy. The new Tamron is a screw drive only lens, and all K-mount AF TCs should be completely compatible. If it has a recessed rear element, which I think it has, even the Sigma TCs will work with it.

The AF gearing on the 828 AT-X AF is, like the Tokina 80-400 AT-X AFII I have, a little rough. It focuses pretty fast, but you can definitely feel the torque on the barrel of the lens -- a bit disconcerting for me. It is, however, like all Tokina AT-X Pro lenses, built like a tank. The Tripod collar is not removable on my model, and I don't think it was on the first version either. This can be a PIA when shooting handheld.

I've not upgraded to the new Tamron or Sigma (though I have thought about it briefly) because I just don't have that much use for the range. Personally, I feel this class of lens is a bit of a "tweener", not long enough for birding and wildlife (though it is a great zoo lens, as is), and too heavy and long for candids of people, especially for APS-C when using an external flash. I use 300mm primes for the former and the DA*50-135 for the latter, but that's just me. . .

Scott
04-19-2010, 04:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for all of the great information Scott.

I haven't shot with a TC before (and one won't be in the budget for another 6 months or so), but it's not a bad idea to think about in the future. The immediate primary use for this lens would be for my wedding/videography (where the camera will be set up for the vows, I really could use 150-200 along with f4 for lighting issues). Ideally if I could afford it, I would go for the Sigma 100-300, or better yet the DA* 60-250, but those are really budget busters (with a max of f4)!!

It sounds like the Tokina had a tricky AF to work with (or at least switching between AF and MF), which I didn't really take into consideration since once you get the hang of it I wouldn't expect it to be much of an issue. Weight for any of the said lenses wouldn't be an issue - I'm a pretty big guy used to hauling around quite a bit of weight (and holding it in weird positions to boot). But aside from the wedding I generally don't use a tripod so a removable collar does sound nice.

I like the idea of the Sigma quite a bit, and with all the special lenses it would appear to have superior optics, however the Tokina seemed to have better quality control and I never read any complaints of Tokina's optics. HSM is a wash, haven't used it yet, don't know what I'm missing kind of thing.

I haven't yet researched the Tamron, seems like I might have to now though - you're not the first to have mentioned it! It seems like the following would sum it up:

Tokina
-Built like a tank
-Screw drive AF
-Decent optics
-TC compatible
-PITA lens hood/filter setup
-Good production QC
-Apparently inner barrel has rough/unfinished surfaces which can contribute to flare?

Sigma
-More specialized lenses
-HSM
-Some production QC issues (might take a couple attempts to get a good lens)
-Build quality (but is it up to Tokina standards?)
-Found new for only $250 more (and has a warranty to boot)

Thanks,
Greg

04-19-2010, 04:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RallyDriver96 Quote
Thanks for all of the great information Scott.

I haven't shot with a TC before (and one won't be in the budget for another 6 months or so), but it's not a bad idea to think about in the future. The immediate primary use for this lens would be for my wedding/videography (where the camera will be set up for the vows, I really could use 150-200 along with f4 for lighting issues). Ideally if I could afford it, I would go for the Sigma 100-300, or better yet the DA* 60-250, but those are really budget busters (with a max of f4)!!

It sounds like the Tokina had a tricky AF to work with (or at least switching between AF and MF), which I didn't really take into consideration since once you get the hang of it I wouldn't expect it to be much of an issue. Weight for any of the said lenses wouldn't be an issue - I'm a pretty big guy used to hauling around quite a bit of weight (and holding it in weird positions to boot). But aside from the wedding I generally don't use a tripod so a removable collar does sound nice.

I like the idea of the Sigma quite a bit, and with all the special lenses it would appear to have superior optics, however the Tokina seemed to have better quality control and I never read any complaints of Tokina's optics. HSM is a wash, haven't used it yet, don't know what I'm missing kind of thing.

I haven't yet researched the Tamron, seems like I might have to now though - you're not the first to have mentioned it! It seems like the following would sum it up:

Tokina
-Built like a tank
-Screw drive AF
-Decent optics
-TC compatible
-PITA lens hood/filter setup
-Good production QC
-Apparently inner barrel has rough/unfinished surfaces which can contribute to flare?

Sigma
-More specialized lenses
-HSM
-Some production QC issues (might take a couple attempts to get a good lens)
-Build quality (but is it up to Tokina standards?)
-Found new for only $250 more (and has a warranty to boot)

Thanks,
Greg
When I bought my Sigma, years aho, I choose it over a secondhand Pentax 80-200/2.8, because the Pentax was too big and heavy for me. May be the Pentax has a tiny advantage in IQ terms, but I really don't know. I find my old Sigma (pre-HSM, pre-Macro) quite excellent and fully useable wide open at all focal lengthes. On top AF is quite fast an accurate.

Personally I leave the tripod mounting ring on the lens all the time, as I use it as a hand rest, which helps steadying the lens. The old bigger Tamron lenses even had a small hand pad to screw into the tripod ring, but I find the Sigma ring's mounting plate, just good enough. So, you see, personal preferences differ.

I had in the past (even on my istDS for the first few months) an older Tokina MF 80-200/2.8. The later Sigma is better in all respects, but that might be an unfair comparisson, as the Tokina was so much older. I never got the later Tokina AF modells in my hand, but then, I never really saw a a need, after I got the Sigma. The built is great, by the way and in no way inferior to Tokina.

Ben
04-19-2010, 08:23 AM   #6
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Hi Greg,

Ben mentioned the older Sigma models, so perhaps that needs to be expanded a bit. Realize that I've not owned any of these, but I did follow user reviews over the years, and my impressions are that the original APO (pre-DG, pre DG Macro, and pre HSM) were the best of the bunch optically, with a little loss in IQ in the DG and DG Macro versions. All three of these were screw drive, so the TC issues aren't relevant -- only on the HSM. I'd consider any of the screw drive Sigmas as being slightly superior to the Tokina. These should go on your "to be considered" list.

The MF Tokina 80-200/2.8 was not as good a lens optically as the later AF models, so the comparison is unfair as Ben stated might be the case. I tried one, and rejected it, but bought the AT-X Pro AF2 model, as it performed acceptably for me.

The hood thing -- Mine has no problems with this. I assume that the earlier model had a screw in hood (like one of the differences between the 80-400 v 1&2). The Petal-type hood is a bayonet mount and does not get in the way of mounting a filter. The AF/MF thing -- this is an early application of the focus clutch idea, and on my Tokina, the focus ring is pulled back to engage MF. This can only be done at the minimum focus position, and it can be inconvenient, and sometimes frustrating while shooting.

I tended to shy away from Sigma because of some bad experiences with QC, but I never heard of this issue with these models, and think they applied more to their consumer grade lenses rather than the EX models. I have 3 EX class Sigmas and have no complaints about any of them.

Scott
04-19-2010, 11:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
The MF Tokina 80-200/2.8 was not as good a lens optically as the later AF models, so the comparison is unfair as Ben stated might be the case. I tried one, and rejected it, but bought the AT-X Pro AF2 model, as it performed acceptably for me.

The hood thing -- Mine has no problems with this. I assume that the earlier model had a screw in hood (like one of the differences between the 80-400 v 1&2). The Petal-type hood is a bayonet mount and does not get in the way of mounting a filter. The AF/MF thing -- this is an early application of the focus clutch idea, and on my Tokina, the focus ring is pulled back to engage MF. This can only be done at the minimum focus position, and it can be inconvenient, and sometimes frustrating while shooting.

I tended to shy away from Sigma because of some bad experiences with QC, but I never heard of this issue with these models, and think they applied more to their consumer grade lenses rather than the EX models. I have 3 EX class Sigmas and have no complaints about any of them.

Scott
Hi Scott, even the old MF Tokina had a bayonet for the hood, though the hood was a simple cylinder. So using a filter was no problem (apart from the rotating front element).

I would also emphasize your notion about Sigma's still poor reputation. I have five EX zooms and all work nicely and flawlessly. And indeed I never have seen complaints about the 70-200/2.8.

Ben
04-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #8
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As a Sigma 70-200 EX DG Macro HSM II owner I'm of course biased and I can't make any well-founded statements about the Tokina. But previously I was also looking for the Tokina as a "fast" telephoto lens.
Like you I also liked (or would have liked) its metal body.
Don't know what your preferences are but the Tokina's MFD of 1.8m and its dual clutch focusing system really dampened my enthusiasm for it.
Besides it sold for more than I expected.

Actually I wanted the Tamron 70-200 because of its almost myth-like optical performance but ended up with the Sigma then (don't even have it 2 months yet).
The Sigma has its known weaknesses but one of them refers to something the Tokina couldn't have - softness below 2m. Only 1m of MFD is something I value very much. Also focusing is really fast and accurate and itsbuild is the best I encountered of any AF lens (but the number of AF lenses I used is rather small). Even MF is great - it has different gear ratios for AF and MF - actual rotation is about 70, MF just below 140.
Flare resistance is very good. Very happy till now.

04-19-2010, 03:40 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the votes of confidence in the Sigma lens and insight into the Tokina lens. As to the hood, perhaps it seems I was reading about version 1, which had the screw on hood - apparently if screwed directly into the lens, it would reduce the filter diameter to something like 75 or 72mm (cant remember which). That certainly was a bit of a turn-off any who for that lens.

I think I may end up going for the Sigma afte rall, and hell, if there were any QC problems with the lens I could always sent it back under warranty and get another one!

Thanks again for the help!

Greg
04-22-2010, 07:03 PM   #10
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Today I ended up purchasing the Sigma 70-200mm HSM II, I'll update once it arrives!

(Added 4/23)
And holy crap, just got an E-mail from Abe's announcing the new VR version of the Sigma lens... it's going for $1699 pre-buy!! Looks like I purchased the last (or just about) non-VR lens from Abe's... and with B&H sold out, as well as Adorama, looks like I got darn lucky I placed my order when I did!

Tuesday it should come in... wahoo!

Last edited by RallyDriver96; 04-23-2010 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Add in more info
04-24-2010, 06:57 PM   #11
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I'm envious! I orderd mine a few days ago and the vendor found that the one they had was damaged! Hopeing to get it in two weeks.. sigh..
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