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Tokina AT-X 20-35mm Pro F2.8

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10 52,022 Tue January 1, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $319.67 9.20
Tokina AT-X 20-35mm Pro F2.8

Aperture Range f/2.8~f/22
Optical construction: 15 Elements / 11 Groups
Angle of view: 9338'(at 20mm)-6313'(at 35mm)
Minimum focus distance: 0.25m (0.82ft)
Focusing system: Internal Focusing System
Number of diaphragm blades: 8
Filter size: 77mm
Maximum outer diameter: 84.0mm (3.3"
Overall length: 85.5mm (3.4", Nikon-D mount)
Weight: 585g (20.6oz)
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

Add Review of Tokina AT-X 20-35mm Pro F2.8
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Senior Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 176

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast F2.8, excellent build, sharp, good manual focus, great on FF
Cons: Not very useful on APS-C, heavy, expensive
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Z1p, K1, K10D   

I've owned this lens for nearly 20 years and back in the film days it was one of the most used lenses on my Z1p - possibly my most used in fact. When I went digital I found the lens a bit pointless on APS-C as it wasn't then a very useful focal length range. Instead I just put it away hoping Pentax would go FF as some point.

Now I've gone FF with the K1 this is once again one of my favourite lenses although after years of using a 10-20mm Sigma on APS-C I no longer fine 20mm superwide!

Ok it's weighty but it's possibly the lightest of my F2.8 zooms (the ATX-Pro 80-200 F2.8 is a monster by comparison) and it's a very useful lens. It's sharper than some of my primes that cover the same range (including the Pentax 35mm F2.4 although that has the advantage of being cheap, small and light). It's lovely on the K1 - highly recommended if you can find one.

New Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Vigo
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $413.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharpness, fast AF, creamy bokeh, barely lens distortion
Cons: too heavy, purple fringing wide open, minimum focus distance, flare resistance, glare and aperture ghosting
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 8   

I bought this lens two months ago at ebay. The zoom rubber ring was loose -seems to be a common issue- but it could be easily fixed with a few glue spots. The lens was very soft wide open, but finally I realize it had significant backfocus. +8 focus correction in my K5 and problem solved. Quite sharp wide open now. Good point is that the K5 recognizes 100% the lens, so the focus correction has to be set only at the first time.

I used the lens mostly on the K-5 and a few times on a Chinon CM-5 film camera. Yes, it has A-mode and manual f-stop ring.So full compatibility for any K-mount camera.

My review:


as other users highlighted, the lens weights a ton. It turns your compact and lightweigth pentax camera in a bulky and awkward equipment. MF/AF ring clutch is also strange and I needed some time to understand how it works. There is only one focus ring position to turn from AF to MF. This position is at a "randomly undefined" place close to the left end of the ring.

However, both focus and zoom ring are smooth, accurate and have pleasant feeling. Aperture ring is too small and it is hard to find and manipulate the ring in full manual mode.

Silent and very fast AF


great. For reference, stopped down I cannot distinguish between the DA 35mm f2.4 and the Tokina. Wide open the DA is sharper, but the Tokina is still sharp at f2.8. Prime lens sharpness quality.

Some Canon and Nikon full frame users reported blurry edges. I did not take enough pictures with the film camera to check this. I can only say that the sharpness from corner to corner is great in APS-C.


Smooth, creamy, delicious. I confirm it has 9 blades (not 8 as show in official Tokina spec). The drawback is that the minimum focus distance is arond 0.45-0.5 m (it is not 0.25 m ! ) So portrait bokeh and creativity is significanly limited.

Lens distortion:

I would expect significant distortion for a lens in this zoom range, but most times distortion is not appreciated. When the image needs to be fixed, it needs only minimal corrections in Camera Raw or Lightroom that barely crop the frame.

Again, I did not check for full frame.


Also well controlled. Does not need correction stopped down. Wide open just need minimal correction in ACR or Lightroom. For full frame, I suppose vignetting will be more evident wide open, but I did not check it yet.

Cromatic Aberration:

I did not notice significant cromatic aberration.


Large and thick purple fringes wide open at high contrast edges. Green edges are not so noticeable. They can be easily corrected in ACR or Lightroom, but there will remain a grey shadow instead.


just forget abut pictures with a shiny sun at the background. Smaller spot lights are well controlled and produce nice light burst.

EDIT: After extensive use in the night, I noticed an issue with aperture ghosting. It appears frequently even whith tiny light spots. It is difficult to control and prevent and I strongly do not recommend this lens for night photography with artificial light in the frame. Also the lens is very prone to veiling glare. The front glass is round, large and it is very exposed. Hence, a very large hood is mandatory.

Contrast and Colour Rendering:

this is a very subjective matter, but I am quite happy with this.

General overview:

This is a great lens for:

APS-C: still life, landscape shooting, fashion, nude

Film / FF: urban, casual, street photography (perfect zoom range for film and hopefully full frame in the near future). I have a lot of fun with this lens on my old film camera.

It does not work for close-up portraits (long minimum focus distance) and I strongly do not recommend it as walk-around lens (the zoom range is fine, but it weights too much).

Good performance/price ratio and probably a good investment once the Pentax Full Frame is finally released.

Registered: October, 2010
Posts: 4,390

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $289.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, sharpness whaen stopped down a bit, firmly build. good Zoom range.
Cons: Big, little soft at F2.8.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I bought this just a month ago. I have used it in Single in January game for one month and now I feel that I can give a small review.

First things first, it is quite big. Some times I had to really stuff it in my bag and that is not good. Otherwise I don't mind that size, it is easy to hold, If manual focus is needed I have to change camera and lens to took some time for me to understand that you can slide lens from AF to MF from one position. It has IF, so focus ring does not move, when it focuses, but gears inside have to find spot from where you can slide focus ring to MF position. After that it was easy to change. So handling could be lower, if you would not know that. AF seems to be quite good in normal light.

Images are just great, if I compare it for example kit lens (WR) this is area where it shines. This lens seems to be sharper and it renders things differently in good way, kit lens is not so far behind, but it looses. Colors are just great almost straight out of cam. Most of my shots from Single in are just resized JPEG.s you can check them out If you like.(link)

I do like this Zoom range and as someone mentioned this lens seems to be like a bag of prime lenses. Really nice, but it has some quirks too. Focusing in widest position can be tricky, if you want to focus something at edges of photo, best way would be focusing with middle of focus points and then recompose the shot. With 35 mm it is not so difficult. Mine copy had loose zoom rings plastic grip. nothing serious, but little annoying...that can happen with old lenses. Last bot not least bad thing is flare. This lens gathers flare quite well. You can use it in artistic way too, but when you are chasing starburst's you have to know this. This lens can deliver a nice starbursts because of 9 blades.

Good or really good lens, with some quirks. I have to try this also with film too when I have some time... here is some shots made with this monster.

Registered: November, 2010
Location: Williston, VT
Posts: 268

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 3, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp... great build quality
Cons: Big and heavy, bad MF clutch system

Seems like these Tokina lenses get very little love from the Pentax community. Maybe that's just because there's so few of them out there. This one really impressed me. With all the hoopla over the Pentax FA 20-35mm F4, it's surprising that this lens never got more popular. It's the same focal range, vastly superior build quality, and a full stop faster. I can't say enough good things about it.

The one major drawback is the manual focus clutch. Like other AT-X series lenses of its time, this lens has a manual focus ring that needs to be pulled back to engage the MF clutch. However, it will only slide back when it's lined up with an invisible slot hidden inside the lens. And this slot changes position depending on where the lens is focused, so you have to turn the focus ring back and forth while pulling back on it until it encounters that slot and pops into the MF position. Once there, you still have to set the camera body to MF, otherwise you'll be wrenching the AF motor. It's a kludgy system, the worst I've ever encountered.

On the other hand, the AF is surprisingly fast and accurate, so the kludgy MF system isn't such a big deal. I almost never use MF with this lens since AF works so well. Just remember to move the focus ring back in the AF position before using AF, otherwise the camera's AF motor will struggle to turn the damped focus ring.

Image quality is fantastic. Really sharp all over the frame, no corner darkening, amazing contrast and colour. The wide open sharpness is what really impressed me. I've used a Pentax FA 20-35mm F4 before, and the image quality from this lens easily compares to that one, but with a full stop of more light gathering ability.

Build quality is about as solid as it gets. This thing is an all-metal gem with a great textured and hardened finish. It's big and burly and tough as nails. Perhaps the best build quality I've ever seen in a lens (and I own a bunch of FA and DA Limiteds). You could drop this thing off a roof onto concrete and it would probably survive.

All in all, an excellent product that I'm glad I acquired. These lenses are pretty rare, they don't show up for sale in the marketplace or on eBay very often. If you happen upon one, don't hesitate to get it! It's a fantastic value.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 805

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, Image quality, colour, contrast, heft, constant aperture, bokeh
Cons: Sun glare, lens hood, heft, 77mm filter
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

It's like having multiple LIMITED primes on your camera all at once (20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm).

It just takes great photos, and images don't need much PP.
Very fast AF. Kludgy AFMF switching.

Sharp at F2.8 from corner to corner.
Razor sharp at F8 and beyond.
9 blade bokeh is beautiful. (YES 9 blade, not 8 blade!!!)

All my fave FL's in one lens!
You won't regret this purchase.

Sample shot taken @20mm FL, F5.6

Forum Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 88
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $315.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, fast, great IQ
Cons: Heavy, garbage lens cap

Bought this lens as i wanted an 'ordinary' zoom lens. I was a little worried I might be restricted compared to the other offerings of 18-50 / 16-50mm, but i shouldn't have been Hard to pinpoint (bokeh, sharpness, dreaminess wide open...) but i like the images it produces a lot! the rest of my kit is primes and this darn near matches them (DA 40 & 70). Focuses close and fast and comes with a nice case. Not the best with flare, but not the worst either!

Now the bad point - it weighs approximately a billion tonnes. With the gripped k20d and a flash, you look like a serious photo goon, which ironically is what I wanted to get away from with the pancake DA's Also, the lens cap is near impossible to get off or on when the hood is on

But for event and small group photography, I would wholeheartedly recommend this!
New Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $319.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Evident Military Build Specifications
Cons: Evident Military Build Specfications

Now, I'm a big boy, and I can carry a lens, however, I bought this to use on my K10 & k20 d's. Each has a battery grip, extra battery, and now a two hundred pound lens. Who cares how much it weighs when you go in to your pp environment and see your first efforts with this lens. My first outing with this gear was on my K10d and I shot 71 photos in a three hour period in a church function.

Every shot seems to be in focus, true to color, and wonderful hues, etc. Now, I am far short of being a pro, but, I have been shooting Pentax cameras since the early 90's - and I understand the Pentax "package."

Previous to that I used the Yashica/Contax setup, with a number of Tokina lens. I believe this particular model is superior in build do any I've ever had, although the color rendition is what make this baby go.

Its a hoss! Mount it on a K10d with a grip, extra battery, remote, and extra chip and you have the perfect small barbell workout.

Tokina specified a lot of care in this design. An example might be the flocked lens hood (inside only) to completely kill as much reflection and glare as possible. I have never owned a Pentax lens with any kind of anti-glare properties on the hood. If there is anything to be surprised about its the rather thin and flimsy cap - but then that has nothing to do with the final product.

Working through the excitement of an evidently excellent lens, not only would I recommend it, but if something happened to this one, at this point, I would immediately seek to replace it.

I am rating it high, but to me ratings should be made based on offerings from the same manufacturer. I have not seen nor heard about a lens from Tokina which surpasses this "Pro" designated lens.
New Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Springfield, VA
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 25, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $191.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, f 2.8,
Cons: limited focal range

I found this lens on the shelf of a local camera store in the Spring of 2007. No one was purchasing it and they had lowered the price 3 times. So, I thought with Tokina's reputation, the f2.8, and my need for something in the 24-35mm range, this hit the spot.
20 - 35mm may be a bit limited, but is ideal for my Winner's Portrait Photos at dog shows and similar events. The lens is also great for outdoor landscapes. I have used it on several occasions to shoot the buildings and monuments around Washington, DC. I use it quite often on my K10D.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2006
Location: South Australia
Posts: 3,874
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, F2.8. Solid build quality
Cons: Focal length not for everyone,

Came across this lens by chance and the price made it worth a try.

The build quality is top notch, image quality is very good. Personally I find the focal length great for landscapes.

Dec 2015 update: Still have it, and it has become my go to lens that lives on the camera. It has a couple of magazine shots to its credit and quite a few product shoots. The more I use it, the more I like it.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build, sharpness IQ lack of CA
Cons: not much

I bought this lens before I went to DSLR. I wanted a wide angle lens to use with my MZ-5n camera and I saw this second hand in a local shop. The cost was 250, although the new price was 500 ($1000). With this price it had to be good.

Now to the lens. The body is metal and a bit weighty, but don't let that put you off.

great control of DOF and IQ is excellent. there is a lack of CA with Digital as is barrel distortion.

Only down side is that don't consider this as a walkaround lens as the zoom range is small. But having said that I have done and on the whole it has been up to the task without problems.

I am sure that this lens is quite rare with a Pentax mount, so if you can find one, get hold of it, it is worth having in the kit bag.

Edit (December 2016) I have been using this a lot with my K-1 and as a result it is my go to lens for wide angle. Image quality is still excellent, it does not "pop" like a Pentax lens, looking a little more smoother and more muted colours. But having photoshop, you can easily make them leap out at you. I have dropped it to a 9 in view that the edges on a full frame sensor are a little soft. But overall a great lens.
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