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Tokina SZ-X 270 SD MF 28-70mm F3.5-4.5 Review RSS Feed

Tokina SZ-X 270 SD MF 28-70mm F3.5-4.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
13 67,584 Sun March 21, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
92% of reviewers $24.70 7.85
Tokina SZ-X 270 SD MF 28-70mm F3.5-4.5

Mount availability: Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax,Yashica
Focal length: 28 to 70mm
Aperture Range: f/3.5-4.5
Minimum aperture: f/22
Optical construction: 8 elements in 8 groups
Angle of view: 75°20'-34°20'
Closest Focus Distance from Film Plane: 0.4m (1.3ft)
Magnification Ratio in Macro Mode: 1:5
Focusing system: rotary focus
Filter size: 52mm
Maximum outer diameter: 66mm (2.6"
Overall length: 76.0mm (2.9"
Weight: 370g (12.95 oz.)
Lens Hood: MH551
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Tokina SZ-X 270 SD MF 28-70mm F3.5-4.5
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New Member

Registered: October, 2020
Location: Leiden
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: image quality
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5    Focusing: 7   

This is really a great lens on my K-5. The quality is great. On top of that this lens has the possibility to focus close distance (if you go beyond the 70 mm position, you get the macro position for this lens). The focus path is quite short, so it is advisable to zoom in for focusing.
Because of the crop-factor the zoom is like a 42-105 on a fullframe body.

Forum Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Versatile, A-setting, build quality, macro, real sharp stopped down
Cons: Abberations wide open, low contrast
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: ME Super, K1ii   

I do not mention the price I payed, because I bought this new in the early 80's for on my ME-super I used that days. Nowadays these lenses go for almost nothing. For fun I compared this today on my K1ii with the kit lens (DFA 28-105), not a fair trial...

Nevertheless this Tokina even on a 36 MP shows real sharpness stopped down a little, at F5.6-F8.0 it shows equal sharpness with the DFA, even in the far corners. The pictures only are less contrasty and suffer green/magenta CA's at the borders and purple fringing in harsh area's. The DFA has far less CA's (green/yellow) and shows no fringing.

There is no reason to put this on a modern camera if you already own a kit lens, but in its days it was a nice offer from Tokina, good image quality and well coated optics. In its film days this was an attractive performer, for me it can retire now… .

Today (low contrast winter day) on 36 Mp at F8 :

Scanned old color negative with K1ii :

For scanning this way :
New Member

Registered: October, 2018
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: November 16, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp one stop down, flat field, low CA
Cons: flare (sometimes)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fuji X-H1 with Lens Turbo II   

Not to confuse with the older RMC model, this one has a RD (early ED) element. Can often be had for nothing in garbage boxes, sold in huge quantities in its times, ignored nowadays.

Which is a pity since it combines remarkably good with my Lens Turbo II. Not every lens does, even some famous ones (e.g. Pentax K 28 3.5) have severe problems in the corners in this combination. But this lens fits. Mine is in OM mount, which generally seems to help with the Turbo - all OM lenses tried so far had few, if any problems with fuzzy corners. My OM Turbo is a home-converted M42 since Zhongyi offers no native OM mount version.

I compared this little Tokina to the Fuji 18-55 and could barely detect a difference in sharpness over the whole field as soon as the Tokina is stopped down one step. Wide open its still very good in the center. Contrast is good, looses some towards the longer focal length, but that's easily corrected in PP. Same with CA and occasional fringing. I'm not interested in bokeee with this type of lens so no idea.

Handling is good, but beware of sticking zoom ring and loose focus ring due to dried out grease. I had to regrease both for smooth operation. But disassembly and - if necessary - infinity adjustment is easy once you've removed the rubber grip ribbons. It's parfocal, by the way.

Verdict: Definitely underrated lens, nice for everyday use, a ridiculous bargain anyway. Look for a hood (or two old filter rings with the glass removed).
New Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: The Worlds Only Portable City - Complete with Carrying Handle
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: January 13, 2019 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: It is well made, sturdy, and simple
Cons: it used inexpensive glass
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 5    Value: 9    Camera Used: GX8, 5D MKIII, Sony 77   

A lens I'm convinced is average at best where far too many people rate it too highly. It is what it is, cheap zoom just above average well made with no special glass properties, in a word "plain"

I'd highly recommend this lens to new and beginning users because it is inexpensive to try out and once a user is comfortable using it they will see just how far this IQ lags behind in relationship to what is all available. It's well made and very sturdy, they may tend to get sloppy in the midsection so in purchasing one, make sure it is solid and tight all over? Great snapshot lens for Snapshot artist

I'm a firm believer you can't make something better then it is by using words to convince people it is somehow better .... you can't make a silk purse from a Sow's ear should be the lesson here. Finding out is up to a user who obtains one, it just won't measure up against half the lenses out there today and sits firmly in the middle ground, slightly ahead of that curve because it was made well.

No special glass used at all, RMC is suspect across the board in dealing with contrast properly - it is plain glass in a plain formula that delivers plain results and having one will help users learn what they need to become "unplain"

On a modern dslr or mirrorless, what I use, I have had no issues involving "any" variable aperture lenses. Of course when I shoot manual, that's exactly what I do ...I shoot all manual. only adjusting speed, aperture, and WB and use the RAW files only. The kind of automation I prefer is the kind that allows you shoot manual lenses by asking me, " shoot without lens"? Or multiplies my viewfinder scene by 10 times and highlights hyper focus areas in sparkly blues, whites, yellows, and reds which ever I choose? (I never put this on my 5D mkiii)
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Százhalombatta, Hungary
Posts: 37
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $27.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb color rendering, sharp when stopped down, build quality
Cons: Purple fringing, incorrect metering on a DSLR
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K10D, Pentax MX   

I got this for myself really dirt cheap, for 8000 HUF, which is about $27 currently. I've been owning this for a while and for some time, I didn't find any use for it. The main problem being is that a DSLR doesn't meter properly with this lens. The reason is that this lens is variable aperture whilst having a "KA" mount, which when set to the "A" setting, reports that the maximum aperture is f/3.5 constantly, which is correct on the wide end, but it's incorrect on the long end, where it's f/4.5. This makes anything shot above 28mm greatly overexposed. (strangely, even on the 28mm end, it's slightly overexposed sometimes) The solution is to use the lens in Av mode with an EV compensation of -0,7 or -1.0 setting, which will give slightly underexposed shots, which in turn can be boosted a little-bit in post processing to achieve correct exposure. That, or use stop-down metering in M mode.

Then I sold my WR kit lens and it just happened that I went out with my other half in a small town, where I needed a walk-around lens. I was without a choice, I had to take what I had in my drawer - the Tokina. When stopped down to f/8 to f/11, this lens really shines. Wide open it's soft, really. (nice for some portraits actually) But then again, it was a budget lens of it's time. You would stop down your kit lens too. Stopped down, it's quite sharp, with a nice detail and a color rendering that doesn't need any kind of boost in post processing. It hands down beats the standard 18-55mm kit lens, especially in detail. Probably because this is all glass, versus the plastic element kit lens. By the way, most of the lens is all metal, which makes it quite heavy for it's size. It doesn't wobble and doesn't feel cheap at all - it's massive. The aperture ring turns easily when used manually and the focusing is like cutting butter - smooth and dampened. The lens doesn't creep when held downwards. The macro function is an added bonus, which makes it that much more useful. You turn the zoom ring past 70mm and suddenly close focus becomes possible. Nice for plant shots.

If you plan to use this lens, I highly recommend you to get a split/microprism focusing screen for your DSLR or use it on a film camera, since it's fully manual focus. Using the default screen can be quite tiresome and something of a hit or miss. I also use it with a 52mm filter threaded wide-angle metal lens hood, which accepts 72mm lens caps, which I also keep on it, so that I don't always have to remove the hood.
The front element rotates when focusing, so using a circular polarizing filter is troublesome, though not impossible.

There are markings on the lens barrel, which made me confused first: different markings for 28, 70, etc focal lengths in red. I thought the lens focused to infinity at different points in different focal lengths, but I found out that those red markings are for infrared photography. Don't be confused! Infinity at the end really is infinity!
The lens produces quite some chromatic aberrations (purple fringing), mostly near the edge of the frame, in high contrast situations. Especially wide open! Stopping down helps a bit, but ultimately you have to remove it in post-processing manually. Which is quite easy with any decent raw processing software.

This is a really nice and cheap, quality walk-around lens for your film SLR or DSLR camera. If you learn how to use it properly, learn its' limitations and use EV compensation, it will give you pleasant results. Much better than the kit lens.
On a full-frame DSLR or a film SLR, this a simple 18-55 equivalent kit lens, only this is much better quality. The color rendition beats even that of Pentax lenses! On a DSLR it is somewhat less useful, since you begin with with a 28mm end, which is a 43mm equivalent "normal" field of view. You'll be missing the wide-end a lot, I guess! Not a problem if you have a dedicated wide-angle too. On the other hand, you'll have a short telephoto end, which sometimes makes a difference. The macro is also more useful on a DSLR.
If you find one and you don't have anything like a 17-50mm f/2.8, get it! This is a really good lens and also cheap as chips! You really get a lot for your money here!

Test Images
Shot #01 - Macro leaves
Shot #02 - Szentendre street
Shot #03 - Szentendre street II
Shot #04 - Szentendre alley
Shot #05 - Macro leaves II
Shot #06 - Szentendre creek
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very solid, very sharp, good macro function
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-7   

Bought for £20 on eBay mainly for the macro function. I was amazed how sharp this lens is and how few (if any) CA it produces. I have added a few examples taken with this lens mounted on my K-7.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: extremely sharp new ED version
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-5.k-s1,k-x,k200,ist ds,mz-5,z-20p    Focusing: 8   

the old version may be not so nice, but the newer version with ED-fluorite-lens 10 lenses and 9 elements instead of 8/8 seems to be much more better. one achromatic element more has enormous effect.

pay attention to SD version with red ring

I've bought some items for my pupils. We've got extremely sharp results..Some portrait shootings with analogue K-2, Z 20 P and MZ 5 have been astonishing for prof.photogrphers (1 shooting for a model set card) - ZEISS similar sharpness !

++ f8-11 extremely sharp

++ High contrast,

++ very nice colors,

++ nice bokeh

++ CA's scarcely, nearly not visible.

So it is one of my hottest tips for a set lens, may be for analog or digital photography

Pay attention !!! There are two versions: the ED version is the better one
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: London
Posts: 212
Lens Review Date: November 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, reasonable weight, smooth operation
Cons: Rotating front lens, exposure accuracy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I bought an old model and replaced it when a 'brand new' one came my way. This lens was very common during the late 80's/ early 90's, being supplied as an alternative 'kit lens'. Both of mine have the Ricoh pin which can be easily set to be permanently retracted, even though it is in a position where it does not cause a problem. The construction is metal and the operation is smooth and precise. The 28mm shows a small amount of bend towards the corners. The vignetting and CA are not noticeable, also acceptably sharp. The range 28 - 70mm is good for walkabout and given a camera with a good iso value could be used quite a lot. The macro is handy as well.

I think this lens would be good for a beginner on a 'hand me down'/oldish secondhand Pentax camera. Hours of fun to be had for a low price. I stated exposure accuracy, this lens has the 'A' pin, but i find that I have to set the exposure compensation to -1.3. This on my camera K20 keeps the exposure correct throughout the aperture range.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,556
Lens Review Date: November 4, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: macro, nice colours, handles well
Cons: bit soft
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8   

Recently acquired off flea-bay, prompted by preceding reviews, and can corroborate their findings. My example was boxed like new. I now know that "SZ-X" = amateur level lens, AT-X = pro, EMZ/EMF/ELF = consumer. So really shouldn't expect too much. I was using the lens on a Panasonic G1 with an adapter, giving a x2 crop factor.
My first impressions were not too favourable, the lens seemed rather soft, but I persevered and got some decent results. I particularly compared with the Lumix 14-42 kit lens. With the right subject the tendency to softness is OK.
I also like the macro, colours are good.
Overall verdict: worthwhile.

ADDENDUM now that I have had a greater range of lenses to try out and compare I am less enthused with this. Start comparing its results and it comes off badly. In a nutshell this in one of the worst lenses I picked up. I won't not recommend it, merely state that there's no point acquiring it when you can easily do better without going out of the bagain basement.
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Toronto
Posts: 53
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, construction
Cons: None

Decent little lens, good complement to my collection, between my 18-55 and 50-200 zooms.
The 1:1.5 macro capability is a nice addition.
Was pleasantly surprised with picture quality, considering what I paid.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Minahasa, North Celebes (Sulawesi)
Posts: 585
Lens Review Date: January 24, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good color. Good macro. Good built.
Cons: Slow. not good for lowlight

When I ordered this lens from a local on-line lens market I was only thinking about getting something with macro capability. I needed a cheap manual lens that capable of zooming in close and have an 'A' setting. When it finally arrived, I was really pleased with it's macro function and even more at it's capability to produce good color. Sharpness is not to be compared to Pentax's, it's soft until really stepped down, but the colors are great! Maybe I should have my eyes check, but this lens seems to give more vibrant colors than my kit lens.

My copy is a bit worn, but with it's mostly metal construction (including mount) I suppose it surely can stand the test of (more and a lot more) time. Focusing is easy, it'll be great for doing flower/plants shots. Bokeh also seems to be fine, even at the 'A' setting. However, I find this lens a more 'daytime' lens than indoor/lowlight one.

For the price, this lens is a steal.

Here's the shots:

Junior Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Utah
Posts: 29
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $24.99 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Inexpensive, faster than kit lens, nice contrast, decent macro function
Cons: Slightly heavy

I have just begun to use this lens, but I really like it! The macro function is pretty decent, though 1:1 would be better of course. Feels very solid, well built, and my copy at least could pass for brand new, thanks fleabay! Definitely worth the purchase, and as the previous poster stated, great for those on a budget or anyone with LBA!
Junior Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: South Wales UK
Posts: 48

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, fairly sharp with the plus of the 'A' feature. Macro. Good quality for the price.
Cons: Nothing really, considering the price.

I bought this lens as a fill-in between the 18-55mm kit lens and my 70-300mm zoom. The focus ring is smooth and the photos quite crisp at all settings. The macro facility is easy to use and with a 1.5 magnification ratio is more than capable for all but the hairs on the legs of Spiders. The 'A' setting means you can use the lens in Av on your Pentax DSLR.
For the price? No complaints whatsoever. Great little lens for the amateur on a budget or any of those poor souls with LBA
Add Review of Tokina SZ-X 270 SD MF 28-70mm F3.5-4.5

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