Tokina AT-X 28-85mm F3.5 Lens

To say this lens took a while to arrive is an understatement. However, it did come all the way from Japan, so I’ll forgive it’s lack of punctuality. When I opened the box and took out the lens, I noticed something at the bottom of the box.


The guy who had sent me the lens (which as far as I could tell was in mint condition) had sent me a little treat. A packet of Chazuke mix. Chazuke is a Japanese dish that consists of a hot tea being poured over rice. The tea comes in many different flavours but I couldn’t figure out which flavour this was.


Whilst i might never make the Chazuke, it’s small gestures like this that make you appreciate an online seller and go back to them for more.


So, on to the review.

Price and Availability

I paid around £60 for this lens (not including the postage) on eBay. I haven’t seen one like it yet but I’m sure there are lots out there as the build quality is truly phenomenal.

If you can’t find one exactly like this one, there are plenty of newer versions of this lens for similar prices, just shop around.


Ease of Use

The Tokina comprises of a fully metal body, making it quite a heffalump to carry around. With a range of 28mm to 85mm it’s really not light and it does contribute to a little camera shake and unsteadiness when shooting handheld.

This being said, it’s apertures click and slide beautifully and it’s focus ring is like velvet. Very easy to use and each adjuster is placed almost perfectly (the aperture and zoom rings are a little close for my liking, but this does come down to personal preference).

I like the stopper that prevents you from going into the macro lens past 85mm. It’s almost like the lens is asking your permission. I’m also a big fan of the grip pattern on the focus ring. It’s big, brash and does the job perfectly.

Overall I’d say this lens is easy to use. Just make sure you’ve been hitting the gym before you put it on your camera, and get a little quicker with those sausage fingers.


Build Quality

As I’ve already touched on, this thing is heavy. It’s fully metal construction oozes quality. In a time before overheads, ROI and other businessy nonsense, lens manufacturers made the best possible product out of the best possible materials, before it was priced. Granted, this made prices astronomical and lenses slightly over the top, but it’s hard not to love something that has been made with such a disregard for compromise.


It’s one of those lenses that you can tell is going to get battered and bruised and still work absolutely perfectly forever.


Picture Quality

The Element on this thing is pretty. It looks great when you look into it, and it looks even better when you’re looking out of it. The range of images you can achieve with this lens is a real strength of teh Tonika. Whilst 28-85 might not seem like the biggest difference ever, it really is an upgrade from a 50mm prime.

Edit 10 Woodland Wide

The 28mm is very capable of creating an immersive and deep wide shot.


Edit 9 Barbed Trunk

The lens maintains a good level of quality, even when cropped close in poor light conditions.

Overall, I was impressed with this lens. It kept up with the Nikon Series E on test, despite being significantly cheaper, much heavier less well renowned.



When push comes to shove, this lens is brilliant. For street photograpy, or taking handhelds in low light, it’s not going to perform how you want it to. But when you use it to it’s strengths you’ll see it shine. As soon as you put it on a tripod it’s exceptional; smooth to use, easy to navigate and gives great results.

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