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Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5 Review RSS Feed

Tokina ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
19 90,481 Tue June 2, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $108.53 8.79
Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5

Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5 Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5

The Tokina 17mm f3.5 was sold as an RMC, and then superceded by the SL17 when the line-up was remodelled. However it is likely there was little change optically - certainly the specifications didn't change.
Scan of original Tokina brochure on the Tokina SL28 28mm page.
Can be found in all mounts of the era.
See also the Vivitar 17mm f3.5 - basically the same lens.

Focal length: 17mm
Aperture Range: f/3.5-16
Iris: 6 blades
Optical construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Angle of view: 103°40'
Closest Focus Distance from Film Plane: 0.25m
Focusing system: rotary focus
Filter size: 67mm
Maximum outer diameter: 70mm
Overall length: 49.2mm
Weight: 305g

Technical review by

Video comparison of Tamron 17mm with the Tokina 17mm (Sony apsc).
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 19

Registered: September, 2017
Location: South Wales
Posts: 1,494
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solidly made, smooth controls, compact, full frame
Cons: Focus turns opposite way to Pentax convention
Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1, LX    Focusing: 7   

To be clear, this is a film era, manual focus, full-frame lens. My copy is an RMC, not an SL, but others have said there seems to be no difference.

It looks and feels well made and is surprisingly small. At first glance you could mistake it for a Pentax M series, and on a modern Pentax DSLR it is functionally equivalent to one. Even the knurling on the focussing ring looks identical. iqnite in his review here said his had an extra stop beyond f16; mine does not, perhaps that is a differnce between an RMC and an SL?

I have not done any formal testing, but the sharpness looks good and for the pictures I have taken there is no noticable vignetting. Minor gripes are that the focusing ring turns the opposite way from the Pentax standard (although with such a wide angle lens the focusing hardly needs to be touched for landscapes), and it lacks the Pentax tactile "bump" to enable fitting the lens to a body without looking.

The filter size is 67mm - it has to be large for an UWA lens to avoid vignetting. 67mm was a standard for smaller Pentax 6x7 lenses so I had some already, but it was uncommon among Pentax 35mm film lenses.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Perth Western Australia
Posts: 221
Lens Review Date: August 4, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Full frame 17mm.
Cons: Lazy aperture lever means photos taken at wide open (f3.5)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K1 mark 2   

Erratic overexposure due to slow lever return. It was an easy operation to remove two small screws to remove the lever. This operation is reversible. Used in av or M mode. Much better stopped down to say F11 or F8.

Update. I've done considerable testing (for me) using this lens on K1 mark ii. I like that it has filter screw. Sharp in centre and sharper than my Adaptall SP 17 lenses. Without a hood its prone to flare. Now to find a hood without any vignetting.
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 84
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Center sharpness stopped down, cheap, compact, well build
Cons: Soft wide open, fringing in corners on full frame
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K1-II   

I would score this lens a "8" on APS-C and "7" on Full Frame. Wide open it is rather soft, stopped down a bit it becomes much better. Far corners show purple fringing but become sharper and sharper up to F11. Center sharpness is decent from F5.6. A nice and very well build lens that offers UWA with restrictions on full frame for little money. Used on APS-C it might be better then the common kit lenses at 18 mm. On full frame it struggles a bit with edge and corner performance for sharpness and fringing.

See also my quick & dirty comparrison with other ultra wides at

New Member

Registered: August, 2017
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $190.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: price, center sharpness, build quality
Cons: extreme soft wide open, just four-stop aperature ring
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 2    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 5    Value: 8   

Maybe I own a bad copy. Anyway.. Tried this as a cheap alternative wide angle lens for my FF Pentax. O.K., one has to say, that the lens is quite old and not build for a digital pixelmonster like the K1. But the performance on this camera is realy not a good one. At 3.5 the image looks blurred, without contrast. There is so much purple fringing, ghosting etc. at the edges, that it realy effects the overall i.Q. in a negative way . Stopped down to 5.6 the i.Q. is better overall, but I had still the feeling, to waste the possibilities of this very good camera.

For testing and playing with an extreme wide angle, this is a low budget solution. Gonna sell this again and look for an Irix.
New Member

Registered: December, 2016
Location: The Hague
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: October 15, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp at f/16 without diffraction
Cons: 67mm thread instead of 72 or 86
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fujifilm X-T1 with Zhongyi Turbo II   

Just bought it from a local market, in mint condition, for 120 Euros.

I used this Tokina RMC 17mm on an APS-C Fujifilm X-T1 with Zhongyi Turbo II booster adapter, which gives me nearly the same FOV as with a FF sensor without such adapter.

I wanted to see where diffraction would kick in as to find the sweet spot for sharpness. Well, the smallest aperture f/16 did not give me any diffraction and gave me also the sharpest image.

The aperture ring has one click beyond f/16 which seems like an auto setting of some sort. Anyway, as I do everything manually, I make sure I click the aperture at the correct notch. Drawback is that in between the aperture notches cannot be dialed, so only full stops scale.

It is not as sharp as the 16mm Zenitar that I have, but much sharper than the much more expensive Canon 17/4 that I dumped a few months ago. Sharpness is quite uniform from center to edges at all apertures. I praise myself lucky with this copy!

Color rendition is a bit warmer than natural, which I really do not mind. Contrast is tiny slightly cartoon-style, if I could call it that way. For me an interesting characteristic.

As for the flare that many people talk about, well, I simply shoot with small aperture and use with a step-up ring an oversized sunhood while avoiding shooting into the principal light source.

Bokeh at large aperture is not the 8th miracle of the world, however, is decent for such a wide lens.

The focus ring says closest focus is 0.25 meter or 0.8 feet, but on my camera it was rather 0.20 meter, which is great for close-ups with wide backgrounds.

It is a rectalinear lens, i.e. not a fisheye like the Zenitar 16mm, and the straight lines of the subject come out pretty much straight in the image. For landscaping, any distortion is absolutely no issue for me at all.

I would have preferred a larger filter thread, as to avoid vignetting when using threaded filters and sunhoods. But a step-up ring 67-86mm did for me the trick, so I can use my 86mm CPL filter and hood without any vignetting.

I tested this lens on a Fotodiox shift (not tilt) adapter and it performs lovely, certainly within distortion limits.

All in all, for me a wonderful lens that I now use as my principal workhorse for landscaping.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2016
Posts: 570

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, reasonably sharp, cheap UWA, well built.
Cons: Lens flaring, dull colors, not for astro use.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

I wasn't sure when I first purchased this lens but with experience and careful use I have been able to take some nice shots. I use it regularly for interior photography where the 17 mm focal length comes in handy. This lens kicked off my UWA photography including architecture. I also have a K series SMC 24mm lens for comparison. I would have to say the Pentax lens has superior coatings and is sharper but the Tokina shines when a UWA lens is needed and the light contrast is not too high. Overall it is a fun lens to have if you can pick one up for a good price but don't expect it to compare favorably to a modern prime lens. Will probably upgrade to the DFA 15-30 mm soon with the cash earned from this little friend![url=""]
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2017
Location: Vienna
Posts: 27

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, well build, small
Cons: slow
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3   

i v been waiting for a 17 mm lens this lens is very cheap and solid built of metal .I also have the Sigma 17 - 50 2.8 and my first experience was that the tokina is sharper but a little bit slow so bright sunlight will be necessarily to get out the best performance . The handling in M Modus is perfect on the K3.Recommanding this lens - grab this lens if you can find someone in good condition.

Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 491

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 5, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact, sharpness
Cons: Flare, exposure accuracy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1, K-2000   

My version is RMC. This lens has become rather difficult to find. On APS-C, it is a wide-angle slightly wider than 28mm equivalent. Very sharp after closing down a bit. On FF, this lens becomes what it really should be. Still, very good sharpness. I have compared this lens to Sigma 17-35/2.8-4 at 17mm. Image quality from this Tokina is much better.

I do not have a hood for this lens and flare sometimes is an issue. Another "con" is the manual operation. My lens tends to over expose by about 1 stop when aperture is set to F8 or F11. I do not know why. I just dial in a -1 exposure conpensation.

Highly recommend!

New Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 23, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: build, lightness, sharp...oh so sharp
Cons: flare without lens hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nion D3   

An absolute joy of a lens to use, great build quality, nice and lightweight
Results are super sharp
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 2

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: really sharp,light,built,handling,price
Cons: rar,flare,
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3,LX,K2DMD, and Canon 1DS II   

What a nice gem ... my copy is like new and really sharp !!!
Such a bargain and so surprised how it behaves -
You can shoot lovely Landscapes and indoor with hardly distorsion !
The colors are not as the SMC Pentax ones, but in Photoshop it is no problem ...
I shoot a lot with my Canon 1Ds II in FF - better than 17-40 L !
Good Kontrast ( RMC -Version ) for S/W Film ...
Only the Flare-Resistance could be better - I have no hood either ;-(

If You can find one in good condition - donīt hesitate !

Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 89

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, good build.
Cons: Not really sharp at any aperture
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Many   

I'm not sure why others have rated this lens so high in sharpness. I have tried two different samples of it and both were exactly the same. It's really just not all that sharp
New Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent build quality; optical performance; compact size; excellent value
Cons: Focuses opposite direction to Pentax lenses; usual amount of barrel distortion for a lens of this type
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I have the RMC version, which as far as I know, is the same as the SL.
Built like a manual focus Pentax lens. Focus and aperture rings are very solid and smooth feeling.
Noticeable barrel distortion of straight lines near the edge, which is acceptable, as any SLR lens of this focal length has some. Color rendition is colder than Pentax. Flare resistance is good. I don't think the coating is as good as Pentax SMC, but not many are. Its compact size for its focal length makes it perfect for my MX, ME Super, and LX.
I managed to find the specified Tokina lens hood, RH-672, which is a rubber petal-type clamp-on. A great lens, and an excellent value.
New Member

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 9

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything
Cons: it says Tokina instead of Pentax
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Can't fault this little beauty. Picked it up off the back end of an animation shoot in London. Head lens dude had bought it for wide shots and was blown away (using adapters for Canon 5Ds) and offered it me for 90 UKP. I have used it on several jobs since and it's ace. Well built, clean, works well on my K5.. Would love to try it out on a full frame sensor.. Pentax????
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Western Isles
Posts: 21

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 12, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic I.Q especially at f 8-11
Cons: None

I bought this lens about a year ago after having had so many disappointments with the DA 18-55 and DA 16-45 lenses on my K-r. Sure a bit more thought has to go into the taking of the image, though i mainly shoot landscapes so there's no hurry.
Sun in the image can be a worry and i don't use filters after trying them once. Barrel distortion is there, but obvious in horizons etc and can be corrected.
A truly fantastic lens.
Veteran Member

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

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid metal build, IQ, contrast and colour, very fun to use
Cons: Flare, corner sharpness below F5.6, some Red-Cyan CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

One of the cheapest ways to get a sub-20mm wide angle prime lens, and for the price the images it delivers are pretty good.

Very fun to use, especially when you get up close and personal for portraits.
Also fun to use to take self portraits, you don't need arms 3 metres long.

Mine tends to overexpose at F8-F16, but this is easily adjusted for when taking shots.

Single EV F stops make blind aperture adjustments really easy.

But you have to be prepared to do some PP with most shots..

Rymill Park, Adelaide, in Autumn

(See my Single In April album for more example shots)
Add Review of Tokina  ( SL17 / RMC ) 17mm f/3.5

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