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Tokina AF 28-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
4 25,397 Wed January 14, 2015
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
50% of reviewers $100.00 4.33
Tokina AF 28-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro

Length: 2.75"
Extended Length: 3.25"
Diameter: 2.75"
Weight: 11.6 oz
Min focus (reg): 20.5"
Min focus (macro): 10"
Focus ring throw: 85 deg
Front element rotates: Yes
Aperture blades: 6
Filter: 52mm
Optional Hood: Tokina SH522
Zoom/focus rotates in Pentax direction
Mount Type:
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: The edge of nowhere, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 467

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Contrast, color, lack of noticeable distortion, size, construction
Cons: Sharpness at wider than f/5.6, aberrations, bokeh
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I picked up this lens from a guy who shot Pentax back in the film days and kept it hiding in a bag for years after going digital with another brand. However, I bought it before reading the other reviews here and wondered afterward with despair if Iíd bought a lemon. After several test shots and a few real-life ones with this mounted on my K-3, I figure that I must have come across a rather good copy of it. I see no issues with color rendition or contrast, and I havenít seen any noticeable distortion. You can see the results of my tests here.

Sharpness is very good across most of the frame at most focal lengths once you stop down to f/5.6. (At 70 mm, you need to stop down to f/8 for optimal sharpness.) Frankly, going wide open at any focal length is not that impressive. Actually, the center sharpness is good, but the bokeh and aberrations in the out-of-focus areas are not. (Here's an example wide open at f/2.8.) However, I would argue that my FA 50 mm f/1.4 for over twice the price used is not much better wide open. Iím not sure whether having a lens hood (not included with this lens) would help much with some of the softness and flare at wider than f/5.6, but it might help a bit. All things considered, I think the overall results are much better than the other reviews initially led me to believe.

Some might think that a 28-70 mm zoom range on a cropped sensor isnít very useful. However, Iíve shot a lot of good landscapes with my DA 35 mm f/2.8 Macro and so this Tokina is wider yet for that purpose. And at 70 mm you can take a decent portrait.

So I would say that this lens is a great option for somebody on a tight budget, provided they donít need to go wide open with the aperture in low light. Add the fact that you get macro capability at 70 mm and about an 80-degree throw with the manual focus ring, and you have a very capable budget lens indeed.

EDIT: There are not many other reviews of this lens that I can find, but here are some based on the Sony A-mount version. (These reviews base their categories out of 5, not out of 10 like here.)
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: Boston
Posts: 54
Lens Review Date: January 25, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: None
Cons: Hard/slow to catch focus
Sharpness: 3    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 3    Value: 3   

I bought this lens a while ago looking for an inexpensive AF 2.8 zoom lens and I looked everywhere for a review of it before I bought it and sadly I couldnt find one (even here) and took a gamble and paid a $100 bucks for it. Big mistake, this lens is pretty bad overall, like the original reviewer said the lens isnt sharp at all. My biggest complaint is that it wont catch focus on my K-x it seems this loud lil lens just tries and tries to catch an image but just fails even outdoors on a sunny day. It's a crap shoot to see if it actually fires and when it does the image is pretty bland. One more complaint about this lens is when you twist the barrel to zoom in and out its rough and doesnt slide with ease like i suppose it should. I went back to my Vivitar Series 1 28-90 2.8 until i can find a more reliable inexpensive AF 2.8
New Member

Registered: November, 2010
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


it seems to me the previous reviewer is comparing 2 shots with different white balance settings. I f this was corrected it might be easier to detect any differences in sharpness between the 2 lenses he is comparing.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Durham, nc
Posts: 929

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: it's f2.8 at 35mm. Might be good for portraiture if you like fuzzy photos.
Cons: A bag of hammers is sharper than this lens.
Sharpness: 2    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 3    Handling: 7    Value: 3   

A while back I bought the Tokina AF 35-70mm f3.5-4.6 Macro, and absolutely LOVED that lens. I found this lens for a decent price on eBay and jumped on it, hoping it'd be just as razor sharp, but faster and with more range. Unfortunately, it let me down mightily. It's nowhere near the caliber of the 35-70mm f3.5-4.6.

Like the 35-70, this lens is constructed very well, and feels great in your hand. It has a metal bayonet, and it's a full-frame lens. The zoom ring is firm but not stiff, and there is no zoom creep. The 35-70 doesn't have a regular focus ring, but this 28-70 does have a knurled ring that is intuitive and easy to use. 85 degrees from infinity to close. It takes 52mm filters and lens cap. The front element rotates when focusing, and like the 35-70 there is a lip for use with a Tokina SH522 clip-on hood. The zoom ring rotates in the pentax direction, as does the focusing ring.

Like the Tokina 35-70mm, this lens sports a macro mode at 70mm. When you rotate the zoom ring to 70mm it hits a stop. You can then rotate it further past 70mm, and the front of the lens extends slightly. In this mode it will focus closer, but will no longer focus to infinity. The minimum focusing distance is 20.5 inches between 28mm and 70mm, and 10 inches in the 70mm Macro mode. This is a little closer than the Tokina 35-70mm, but not as good as the Pentax 35-70.

This Tokina is 2 3/4 inches long, or 3 1/4 inches fully extended at 70mm macro. It's 2 3/4 inches in diameter, and it weighs 11.6oz. (only 1/4" larger in diameter than the Tokina 35-70, all other dimensions are the same)

The 35-70 hunts in low light, but the 28-70 seems to do considerably better.
Autofocus is blazingly fast, and this lens doesn't seem to hit the stops (when attempting to focus on something that's out of range) as hard as the 35-70 does. it's still not a smooth stop, but it doesn't go thunk either.

Now... for the optical performance. In short... this lens kinda sucks. It's not just soft, it's beyond soft. From f2.8 to f5.6 (wide) or f4.5-8 (tele) it behaves for all the world like a dedicated soft-focus lens. Everything glows and is haloed, and this doesn't go away and become *passable* until f8. The lens is never what you'd call sharp though. At f2.8 it's like there's petroleum jelly smeared on the glass! It consistently over-exposes with an aperture larger than f8, and the copy I have back-focuses a bit.

The bokeh is fugly. I've seen mirror lenses with prettier bokeh. In fact, the bokeh is remarkably like a mirror lens, the OOF specular highlights have a sharp bright edge and a light inner circle, much like a mirror lens does. While the 35-70 has a similar bokeh... the 35-70 seemed like the bokeh had character, whereas the 28-70's just looks terrible. Maybe it's just because the 35-70 is so sharp that the noisy bokeh isn't as prominent. The 28-70 unfortunately is soft in an unpleasing way, and the bokeh is sharp and ugly. That's not a good combination at all.

Sample photos follow:

50mm f4 scaled:

50mm f4 100% crop:

50mm f8 scaled:

50mm f8 100% crop:

Here's a comparison shot between this Tokina AF 28-70mm f2.7-4.5 Macro and the Tokina AF 35-70mm f3.5-4.6 Macro

First, a photo of the two lenses side-by-side:

Now this lens (the 28-70mm f2.8-4.5), @ 70mm and f4.5:

And now, the much sharper Tokina 35-70mm f3.5-4.6 macro @ 70mm and f4.6:

Lens physical characteristics:

Tokina 28-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro
Length: 2.75"
Extended Length: 3.25"
Diameter: 2.75"
Weight: 11.6 oz
Min focus (reg): 20.5"
Min focus (macro): 10"
Focus ring throw 85 deg
Front Element Rotates: yes
Aperture blades: 6

Comparison to similar lenses:

Tokina 35-70mm f3.5-4.6 Macro
Length: 2.75"
Extended Length: 3.25"
Diameter: 2.5"
Weight: 11.6 oz
Min focus (reg): 24"
Min focus (macro): 12"
Focus ring throw 90 deg
Front Element Rotates: yes
Aperture blades: 6

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
Length: 3.5"
Extended Length: 5"
Diameter: 2.75"
Weight: 1lb 2oz
Min focus (reg): 6"
Min focus (macro): n/a
Focus ring throw 70 deg
Front Element Rotates: NO
Aperture blades: 7

Pentax SMC-F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5
Length: 2"
Extended Length: 3"
Diameter: 2.5"
Weight: 8.2 oz
Min focus (reg): 24"
Min focus (macro): 8"
Focus ring throw 90 deg
Front Element Rotates: yes
Aperture blades: 6

So, I gave this lens an overall 3. If you want a soft focus lens and you can find this thing for under $40, give it a shot. But... unless that's what you're looking for, pass on this lens.

Note, this lens is better than the Sigma 28-105 UC-II, but only just. Where the Sigma *NEVER* gets sharp, at least this Tokina is usable at f8, and the glowing halo softness is much preferred to the Sigma's bland, contrastless mush.
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