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Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 46,046 Fri December 13, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $33.43 9.10
Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6

Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6
Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6

The ATX designated lenses are the "pro" tokina lenses, this is one of the original manual focus "ATX's". These include the 60-120mm f2.8, the 28-135mm f4-4.6, the 28-85mm f3.5-4.5, the 35-200mm f3.5-4.5, this lens the 50-250mm f4-5.6, the SD 70-210mm f2.8, the SD 100-300mm f4, and the SD 150-500mm f5.6.

Maximum aperture : f/4-5.6
Minimum aperture : f/22-32
Optical construction : 14 elements in 11 groups
Coatings : Multi-coat
Angle of view : 47° to 10°
Minimum focus distance : 1.8m (5.9 ft.)
Minimum focus distance macro mode : 0.243 m (0.8 ft)
Reproduction ratio -macro mode-: 1:1.4
Focusing system : Rotary helicoid
Zooming system : Pump type
Number of diaphragm blades : 6 ?
Filter size : 55 mm
Maximum outer diameter : 66 mm (2.6in.)
Overall length : 139.5 mm (5.49 in.)
Weight: 725 g
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6
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New Member

Registered: July, 2018
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: December 13, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, Build, Range
Cons: Manual set up
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1, K-3, K-5   

This lens being a zoom may have distortion. But is very hard to see, even of FF.

Once the manual set up is mastered, there are few better lenses for static subjects, in this focal range.

50mm macro mode is a bit funky, but does focus to very close range. Sharpness, like the 75-300mm is good wide open, and just gets better. Bokeh is pleasant. Sharpness and shallow depth of field is useful on both one crop and FF sensors, from wide open.

Good copies could be useful workhorses for travel, or studio.
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, Usefull range, Easy to use, Solid construction, Macro settings
Cons: Macro only at 50mm, Could be faster?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a6000   

I think this is the best zoom lens I've ever try.

It's sharp event at 250mm wide open, not as a modern lens but completely usable!
For a 50-250mm lens it is very impressive in fact!

The construction feels solid and almost no zoom creep. Focus ring very smooth.

Macro 1:1.4, very useful too!

I have tried many lenses, I think I will keep this one forever!
it could be faster at long end, this is the only "negative" point on film camera. But honnestly, on digital no problem at all !

Règle. [Ruler] by Canad ADRY, sur Flickr

This one is wide open If I remember :
Déchéance. [Decline] by Canad ADRY, sur Flickr
New Member

Registered: July, 2018
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: relatively light, macro, cheap
Cons: macro handling
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: a6000   

Got this AT-X for only 10 Euros at a local pawn shop, having the smaller brother Tokina AT-X 60-120mm f2.8 I wondered how these would compare. This is the version with Canon FD mount, further notice, there are different ones out there, I saw Minolta also ( description above says it only comes with Pentax).
I noticed that the aperture was kinda stuck, I only could use it fully open at f4. I nontheless did a few shots and wow, I really like the macro function..I never had a macro lens and didnt really want to invest in vintage, mid-80s/90s Macro converters or front macro lens adapters, so I was just curious how that would look.
I then repaired the stuck aperture. For anybody who is facing the same problem, don't throw away this lens! ..just screw off the back lens, screw off the mount, then you can reach the inside..mine only had oily aperture blades, I cleaned it with lighter petrol, then it was snappy again.

Compared to the 60-120mm AT-X brother it obviously is not as fast, but nontheless on the faster side (f4), noticeable difference between the single aperture stops.
The Canon FD mount on my copy is the older Breechlock version, not the nFD one, weight feels almost the same as the 60-120mm AT-X interestingly..
Zoom, focus and macro functions, all work on the same push-pull, one ring mechanism, which I like.

It is sharp, colors are good, Bokeh also. CA are there, mostly fully open but who cares.

The macro handling is a bit odd, I still fumble around on that..basically you have to pull back all the way to the 50mm position, then line up the green 'MACRO' marking
with the yellow center marking. Then you are able to pull it back even more, about 1 cm, and zoom to your favorite macro ratio. There are 1: 1,4, 1,8, 2,5, 5, 27.
To go back to the normal, non-macro mode, you have to do the reverse..thats what I dont like..there were moments when I didn't know what mode I was using.
Overall it is the same good AT-X quality to it, nice to have if you want to go into macro.

test shots unaltered, ooc.

New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $14.95 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Bokeh, Inexpensive
Cons: Front barrel rotates, zoom creep
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: EM10   

I got this lens from KEH for $8.00 + $6.95 shipping. They rated it as a "bargain" lens as it had a couple of small dings in the barrel and a very tiny nick in the front element. I haven't had it long enough to really use it , but here are a few photos from my first outing with it. It's very easy to focus as it's sharp at all apertures and focal lengths. It does zoom a little too easy so there is zoom creep, but that doesn't start until you get to 45 degrees up or down from horizontal. Sharpness does get better after 1 stop down from wide open, but it's quite useable, in fact excellent, wide open. Contrast is consistent at all apertures and focal lengths. I use it on m4/3, so it should be outstanding on APS-C and FF. It does great macro, although it switches into macro mode at the 50mm end, then you control the magnification by zooming out toward the 250mm end. The zoom control gets much firmer once in the macro mode and there is no zoom creep whatsoever, so you can shoot straight up or down without worrying that your magnification is going to change, at least on my copy. Macro ratios go from 1:5 to 1:1.4, but using 1:1.4 will put the front of your lens about 2" from your subject, making it difficult to use. Still, I highly recommend this lens.

Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 892
Lens Review Date: May 23, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, range and versatility
Cons: A little slow maybe, push pull macro and zoom creep
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I am a sucker for a manual zoom. This arrived this afternoon after winning it at auction and before my wife found some more chores for me I took it outside to play.

The previous reviews sum this lens up pretty well.

I only really have the Tamron SP 19AH and 23A (70-210 and 60-300) to compare it to regarding IQ as they are my favourite manual zooms that purport to be quite good in respect of lenses of that era.
Stopped down a bit, first impressions indicate that it is probably the equal of the 23A and I would say at least the equal of my copy of the 19AH (which I suspect may not be as good a copy as others have).
This Tokina show fewer CAs than either, the 19AH being far worse in this respect.

Macro is easier to engage than the 23A but just as awkward to try and hand hold if you are unable to stop the sort of rocking motion I seem to be afflicted by.

I didn't get much time before the chores loomed but I have attached the one macro (at 1:1.4) I took, hand held, under some leaves at F8. Not a good shot but seems to indicate that the macro may be as good as the 23A, albeit at 50mm.

New Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 16
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $17.50 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Macro capability, quality (build and optical), value
Cons: Heavy, no tripod collar, macro zoom (push/pull)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I got this lens as a package deal and wasn't expecting much. After checking it out, especially the macro mode, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens. The main downside is the macro focusing mode. Macro only engages at 50mm and then focusing is accomplished by push/pull on the zoom ring. It's definitely not a smooth or controlled way to focus a macro. For the price, this lens scores very high on the value scale.

The lens is rather heavy on the camera and doesn't have a tripod collar. However, the optical qualities of this lens are quite impressive. I have been recently using my F* 300 4.5, D FA 100 macro, and DA 60-250 and this lens held its own. Here is a handheld macro shot with shake reduction turned off (I don't use it when using a manual zoom since I would constantly have to reset the lens focal length).

Junior Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: central kansas
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $12.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Cost, Build Quality
Cons: handling is different than my Pentax zooms

I saw this lens on eBay and got it for $12 plus shipping. I was initially disappointed when it came and the focusing grip was loose. Once I taped it to the front focusing ring, I found out that I had purchased a gem of a lens. This is my 2nd AT-X and it is very sharp. I am especially pleased with it at the 250mm end. It balances well on my K-01. The build quality is great. Focuses easily on my K-01. I would highly recommend this lens.

I have not checked for CA or PF, except for a quick shot or 10 of the moon, which seemed not to show any. Have not tried it on a sunset through tree branches. Again, it only cost me $12.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent lens
Cons: some few CA's wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x,k200,ist ds,mz-5,z-20p   

An excellent lens usuable for macro shootings with macro ring, too

large zoom range and one touch ring makes it very comfortable in using it.

one of my favorites

it must be stopped down a few for best results
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 3, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid build. Sharp and relatively fast. Good color and Contrast.
Cons: Not an A lens. Heavy and long. Push-Pull zoom. Weird Macro function.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K500   

OK. So why did I get this lens? I already had this focal zoom range covered in spades, so that wasn't it. Honestly, after being awestruck by the quality and output of the Tokina SZ-X 80-200mm I purchased recently, I decided I just had to have a Tokina AT-X. Why this particular AT-X? Well frankly, it is about the only one I could afford and it got one good review here. And I liked the photos attributed to this lens on Flickr. So...

It is a big lens. It has quite a bit of heft and it is a long lens -- even when fully retracted. It's certainly not as compact as the SZ-X 80-200mm. It has a very quality feel to the unit. The focus and zoom have a good feel and despite it's length, mine exhibits no zoom creep. While it is not a super-fast lens spec, the f/4-5.6 speed is not something too awful either. To me it seems "faster" as it really does fairly well in shady and overcast environments. It does have macro capability, but it is not what I would call a close focus unit and it takes a little to master macro operation. Flare control and contrast is very good, although a hood is recommended. It uses 55mm filters so you won't be breaking the bank for UV, CPL and ND filters.

Nothing about the specs or appearance screams ELITE Lens, but it does however, take very very good photos. It is very sharp across virtually the entire zoom range especially if not wide open. It has very good contrast and color, likely do to its multi-coating; as good and maybe even better than my Series 1 -- and that is saying a lot!! Even at the full 250mm it captures great images.

As stated previously, appearance, specs, etc., don't jump out at you and scream ELITE LENS PRESENT. It's not sexy or cool looking, although it is a clean look. It has no fancy bells and whistles or pin stripes around the front of the lens. No fancy name or a optics jargon -- just AT-X. It's just a workhorse lens that does everything it is built to do exceptionally well and consistently. This lens just delivers!

So , why such tempered response. Why am I not jumping up and down singing its praises like I did the Tokina SZ-X 80-200mm? Well, I didn't expect the SZ-X to deliver to the level it did. The level of performance I got from the AT-X was as expected. It's reputation preceded it. The bar was set high before I bought it and it did not disappoint.

IMGP1054 by Ripper2860, on Flickr

IMGP1053 by Ripper2860, on Flickr

Car by Ripper2860, on Flickr

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 1,707
Lens Review Date: November 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Macro, Build Quality
Cons: Macro Focus is odd, but works great once you have the hang of it.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5ii   

I don't remember what I paid for mine, well under $100, maybe $45 or so... It's used and likely 20 years old, but looks new. Build quality is really good. Very sharp and nice rendering. Compares VERY favorably vs my 18-135 WR and gives me 2x the range. Every bit as sharp from 50-70mm or so and reliably more sharp over that. I've gotten some very crisp shots all the way out near or at 250mm. EDIT: I tested my 18-135 WR, an SMC-M 100/4 Macro and this lens today at around 100mm and the Tokina is critically sharp vs the other two. It holds this sharpness through most all of it's range and aperatures. It helps to stop down a bit, maybe a lot at 250mm, but it's really, really good.

The Macro is good too. Great, maybe. Macro range ranges from 1:1.4-1:2.7 and is all at 50mm, which means that it's not ideal for things that crawl, run or bite, but it's actually really, really good for things that don't. You can only focus the macro by either push pull or rocking back and forth. On a tripod, it would take a bit of work vs a macro lens that could be focused the normal way. That said, I've pretty much gotten the hang of it and it's working out fine for me.

It is a manual focus, non-A zoom lens. It does creep if you wear it around your neck. It is not super fast, but it's usably sharp from wide open in most places and very sharp one click in. Bokeh can be a little crazy at long focal lengths, though it's okay at shorter ones. EDIT: I've been getting some nice bokah with it lately, go figure. Depends on the background, I suppose.

For an extra $1,000, of course, you could improve upon most everything, but man what a value. I've actually gotten kind of obsessed with looking for more AT-X glass.
Add Review of Tokina AT-X 525 50-250mm F4-5.6

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