Tokina AT-X 116 vs. Nikkor 14-24 on Nikon FX body

In a previous post I wrote about the possibility to use the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16mm lens on a Nikon FX body – in FX mode. I detected some corner softness with the Tokina on my D700 so I thought it would be useful to have a direct comparison between the two lenses in FX mode. The comparison itself is pretty unfair because the Tokina was designed to work only on APS-C (DX) DSLR’s and costs 3 times less than the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm ultra wide zoom.

Weather conditions for a comparison test shot weren’t too good today but still sufficient to show the sharpness differences between the two ultra wide zoom lenses.

Scene (full image)

nikkor_14_24_16mm_56
The scene as seen with the Nikkor AF-S 14-24, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1600s

f/2.8 corner crop samples

crop_nikkor_14_24_16mm_28
Lower left corner crop, Nikkor AF-S 14-24, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/6400s

crop_tokina_11_16_16mm_28
Lower left corner crop, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/6400s

Wide open the Tokina’s corners are pretty ugly in FX mode compared to the Nikkor.

f/5.6 corner crop samples

crop_nikkor_14_24_16mm_56
Lower left corner crop, Nikkor AF-S 14-24, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1600s

crop_tokina_11_16_16mm_56
Lower left corner crop, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1600s

Even at f/5.6 the Tokina shows very soft corners even though not as bad as at f/2.8.

f/5.6 center crop samples

nikkor_14_24_16mm_56_center
Center crop, Nikkor AF-S 14-24, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1600s

tokina_11_16_16mm_56_center
Center crop, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1600s

The Nikkor seems to be a tad sharper in the center and has more overall contrast.

Conclusion

These photos show that the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX ultra wide zoom can operate in FX mode on a Nikon FX body but image quality obviously suffers when (ab)using a DX lens in FX mode. Do not use this lens on an FX body, it has too many limitations.

The Tokina is made for DX bodies and image quality on APS-C DX bodies is very good. I’d go as far as to say that it has the best price-perfomance ratio of all DX ultra wide zooms on the market today when used on a DX body.

2 thoughts on “Tokina AT-X 116 vs. Nikkor 14-24 on Nikon FX body

  1. Did you see any improvement in the corner sharpness of the Tokina at f8 and above? I am interested to try this lens on my D700 underwater. The advantage is that the Tokina will take a diopter which is helpful underwater with an optical dome. Also remember you are testing this lens against the best, I wonder how it will stack up against the other wide FF options like the 17-35?
    Did you see any vignetting at 11mm?

  2. Jeffrey, the vignetting at 11mm is bad, in fact you will have a thick black circle around each photo. However, did you ever think about using the Tokina in DX mode on the D700 underwater? Yes, you will loose a lot of resolution but on the other hand get a sharp image.

    Cheers,
    Jan

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