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Tokina AT-X SD 100-300 f/4

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10 41,011 Mon January 2, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $208.33 9.60
Tokina AT-X SD 100-300 f/4

Tokina AT-X SD 100-300 f/4
Tokina AT-X SD 100-300 f/4

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, the 50-250mm f4-5.6, the SD 80-200mm f2.8, this lens the SD 100-300mm f4, and the SD 150-500mm f5.6. This one touch zoom is a 1980's "cult classic". According to the link below "was released in 1986 with a list price of US$719, or approximately $1,180 in current value".
Can be found in the mounts of the era, for pentax normally in PKA mount.

Manual internal focus
Aperture: f/4-32
Iris: Seven-blade
Minimum Focus Distance: 2 m/6.4 ft
Filter Size: 77mm - rotating
Diameter: 80mm/3.15"
Length: 214mm/8.4"
Weight: 1.25 kg/2.7 lb
Hood: comes with screw on metal hood, invertible for storage (pic 2).
Rotatable tripod mount.

Test pics in this mflenses thread. Online comment suggests that the SD element in this lens can be prone to haze.

Detailed review: The rokkor files.
Mount Type: Pentax KA
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: IOWA Where the Tall Corn Grows
Posts: 2,986

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 26, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp,Excellent Build Quality, Smooth Manual Focus
Cons: A bit heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I purchased this lens from a forum member and could not be happier. This lens is Sharp at any focal range from 5.6 to about 8.0. The manual focus is smooth and allows for fine focusing. This lens is a joy to use and I highly recommend it. Especially for the price. New in today's world this lens would have cost over $1,000 back in the 80's. If you're looking for a lens in this focal range skip the low price Sigma, Tamron or Pentax units and go for this legacy piece of glass. This is the Mercedes of lenses in this price/focal range. This lens will command respect from your friends out in the field

Note: All shots were handheld. In the Outside shots the wind was blowing fiercely. Amazing sharpness even in inclement weather.

Untitled by frankweiser, on Flickr

IMGP8565 by frankweiser, on Flickr

Untitled by frankweiser, on Flickr
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Location: PHX az
Posts: 43

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $260.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, easy manual focus, good color
Cons: Heavy, did I say it was heavy!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

After reading the reviews here on the forum and needing something with a longer reach I decided to pull the trigger on one of these older lens. Lens is in as new conditions, not a spot on it.
Testing: Done with K5. Set up on Tripod, outside with good light, shake off,mirror lockup on, remote shutter release, fixed shutter speed at 750, distance from target about 7ft, almost to the minimum of the focal range, shots were of a business card held by a stuffed white bear with red scarf

f4 -4.5- ,f5.6- ,f6.7-, f8.0-.f9.5 - 100mm, ~200mm and 300mm, focus ring both directions until focus lock lights green. I know, I could have used the LCD and zoomed, but I wanted to see how it did using the focus lock light
a total of 36 shots,
All images shot in RAW, reviewed in lightroom, reviewed at 1:1 and side/side, and adjusted image zoom sync to get ~ the same size when I was reviewing diffrent zoom settings

first comments, I found no focus difference coming from either direction with the focus ring, Nice to know , the zoom is smooth with just a little resistance, very nice, focus is a full 180 degrees, also smooth, very good

Now to the the images:

f4- not sharp at any distance, fringing around letters at 100mm and 200mm
f4.5 same as f4
f5.6, usable, no fringing
f6.7-f9.5 sharp, very nice image

This was a little disappointing to me, since most reviews said that the lens was sharp wide at all distances or that the lens was sharp wide open unit about 250mm or 300mm, I thought about this for a while and decided to try one more set of images, this was from about 10ft
everything the same except shutter speed, it was 1000, I also did not do 2 focus directions since I did not see any difference from the first set of images
f4-good wide open, all focus lengths , no fringing, YES!!
f4.5 sharp, wide open,all focus lengths , no fringing,
f5.6 best it gets, all the way to f9.5 very good images

so it seems at least my lens does not like to be close to the limit on the mim focal distance
Would I recommend this lens, Yes, for the money, a absolute YES, I took several shots hand held, shake on set to 200mm, but my shutter speed was up to 2k, they were sharp, So this can be hand held if you think through what you want to do,,,
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 71

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, reach, build, value
Cons: Big and heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

My copy is sharp wide open from end to end. Fringing pretty obvious in high contrasts areas at open apertures but always manageable in post, and goes away by f/8. The only negative is the size. I recently returned from a week of hiking in Colorado during which I carried my gear (which included this lens) up some rough terrain and it was still manageable with the correct bag.

American Marten - 300mm, f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/100, handheld. Resized only, not cropped.

100% crop at 300mm, f/5.6, on tripod, light PP

50% crop at 300mm, f/5.6 on tripod. Underexposed it by a stop or two so more PP on this one.

All the reviews about this lens being soft at the long end make me wonder if they are in reference to the later AF version, which has a different optical formula.
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Grimsby UK
Posts: 224

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 18, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty good colour rendition
Cons: Heavy, zoom wrong way round for me
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

After trying without success to get a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 I settled on the Tokina as stop gap until one arrives.

Really impressed with this lens, have had numerous pro Tokina glass in the past but found them to be a little clunky.

This lens whilst heavy is very sharp & contrasty.

Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,519

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 3, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp wide open up to 250mm / very low CA & PF / solid
Cons: Very large & heavy

Typical AT-X build with smooth feel. Consistent image quality throughout the range on a K20D, except for some loss of sharpness and contrast wide open at 300mm. High quality hood can be reverse mounted. Flare is minimal, especially compared to some of the Tokina zooms from this era. Image quality degrades with use of a 1.4x tc. Weight is well balanced and effectively minimized when lens is barrel collar mounted to a monopod. However, the collar mount is permanent, which is fine because this lens is a bit too much for reliable hand held operation.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, fast, good color, smooth manual focus
Cons: Big and heavy, manual Focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

My lens is sharp wide open at both ends, much sharper then my Tamron 70-300 Li DI. Tokina is as sharp at f4 like Tamron at f8.
For me the biggest problem is manual focus, especially while taking photos of fast moving subject like planes. Except that lens doesn't really have other big issues, except for big size and weight

Up Tamron 75-300 Li Di
Bottom Tokina Photos taken at 300mm f7.1
(non functioning image links removed)

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 932
Lens Review Date: January 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp wide open at 300mm, good contrast, color, very well conrolled CA
Cons: big and heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

This is the sharpest 300mm zoom lens I own, and I own some very good ones. I don't know, I think that maybe I got a better than average copy because mine shows great sharpness and contrast even at 300mm and f/4. It rivals excellent quality primes at 300mm, I find. Its SD glass also does a very good job of controlling chromatic aberrations. In fact, this lens is one of the best corrected telephotos I own, whether zoom or prime.

Sony NEX 7, Tokina 100-300mm f/4 @ 300mm and f/8, ISO 100

The Tokina AT-X 100-300mm f/4 is a large lens, but it is well balanced and not particularly unwieldy. I find it easy enough to hand hold -- its wide, rubberized focusing collar makes for a secure grip. Nowadays, lots of people think push-pull zooms are strange and awkward. But back when this lens was made, push-pull zooms were de rigueur and two-rings were considered Old School. I find it ironic that the reason for the re-emergence in popularity of two-ring zooms is because of AF technology, which requires separate zoom and focus controls.

Unlike many 300mm zooms, because of its large size, which is a result of its constant f/4 aperture, the AT-X 100-300 comes with a tripod mount. Even though I find the lens easily hand-holdable, in many if not most instances the use of a tripod, or at the very least, a monopod, will result in a greater proportion of keeper photos.

NEX 7 (on a sturdy tripod), Tokina 100-300mm f/4 @ 300mm and f/8, 1/125, ISO 100.

I found my copy on eBay about four years ago for about $120. I thought that was a very good price at the time, and I still do. It came with the original front and rear caps only. Condition-wise, the lens arrived in solid Exc condition with perfect glass and properly working mechanicals.
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: December 10, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open 100-200mm
Cons: At 250-300 have same limit at wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung NX30   

Very good at wide open 100-200mm at 300mm not very good but usable. hard to use without a tripod not for the weight but very long. Hard to find but under 200 dollars must buy
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp 100-200 mm
Cons: very few CA's at 300mm
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x,k100,k200,k-5   

same price as occasion as a new macro lens of 100mm.

I use it between 100 and 200mm with a big macro ring for butterflies
100 mm are extreme sharp without any CA's at f8-11

300 mm still sharp enough, but not so sharp as 100 and 200mm
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 791
Lens Review Date: January 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb build, Fast, Sharp, Minimal CA above F4, Easy to focus (with peaking), Tripod mount
Cons: Size, weight.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

This is an outstanding lens. Constant F4 throughout the range. Adjusts very smoothly from 100mm-300mm. Put aside the fact it is a beast. It's fast and long, not to mention the crop factor makes it really long. Extremely sharp up to 250mm, and very very usable above that. Excellent metal hood. Slight CA when using F4 at 300mm, but disappears stopped down from there.

With modern focus-peaking, you can handhold this with the display stabilized and still get decent shots without a tripod. Shots below taken with no tripod on heavy, overcast day with terrible lighting.

Handheld, but through a window so there is some slight refractive glare. First shot is about 250mm ISO1600, and the second is full zoom 300mm, sooc. These, of course, appear softer than the source because of the forum's resizing constraints:
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