I purchased the Tokina 12-24mm F4 Nikon mount this morning. Here are my initial impression and review. I'll post more actual pictures taken with the lens pictures in the lens gallery after I had a chance to take some decent pictures this weekend. I paid 550,000 Korean won or equivalent to $449 USD, $50 more expensive then the cheapest listing on Amazon.com but not a huge deal. I'll rather have the lens now and take some fantastic picture while working overseas than wait until I'm back in the States in two month but miss the chanc to use the lens here.
First off the box, nothing special here.
Top down view. The filter size is 77mm, I already have a 77mm B&W filter attached. The filter attaches directly to the barrel so it does not rotate or move with zoom or focus. When zooming from 12 to 24mm the front element of the lens retracts into the barrel by a few millimeter between 15-18mm range and back out around 24mm. It retracts straight in and out and does not rotate. Focusing is also internal and doesn't move the front element at all.
Top down angle view with the supplied hood attached. The lens has 13 elements in 11 groups. The lens features an aspherical element and has the aspherical markings on the back along with the serial numbers which I did not post.
Top down view of the metal mount. Here you can see the auto focus screw. Auto focus is driven by the body in this particular version of the lens. The Mark II version of this lens has a builtt in auto focus motors for the D40/D40x/D60. However, the Mark II is a bit more expensive because of this and also features improved multi-coating to resist flaring. On the D300 focus is bit noisy as to be expected but it is fast!
The lens has a unique clutch system to activate manual focusing. To switch between auto focus and manual focus simply pull the focus ring towards the body. In other words the entire focusing ring is the AF/MF switch. It may not be full manual focus but this system works amazingly well. In this picture the focus ring is in the AF position.
In this picture the focus ring has been moved to the Manual Focus position.
The lens is on the heavy side. According to Ken Rockwell this lens weighs in at 526g. It balances really well with a D200 or D300.
Another picture of the lens attached to my D300.
Cost, Cost, Cost. This lens cost less than 40% of the cost of the Nikon 12-24mm F4 or the Nikon 10-24mm while maintaining a build and image quality that rivals them. The 10-24mm does have a 2mm (3mm when you account for crop factor) advantage which is significant at the ultra wide angle. Compared to Sigma or Tamron ultra wides it maintains superior image and build quality with a constant F4 aperture. This lens just feels better in your hands and when attached to your camera.
Will not auto focus on D40/D40x/D60. For those cameras get the Mark II version which cost slightly more.
This lens does CA significantly but it can be corrected in software when shooting raw. My D300 also has CA correction when shooting JPEG but I almost always shoot raw files.
It was a really tough decision between this lens and Tokina's own 11-16mm F2.8 which cost $250 more currently on Amazon, cheapest 12-24mm is $399 vs $650 for the 11-16mm. You will have to weigh the two lens yourselves. For me I didn't believe the F2.8 would be that particularly useful since on a ultra wide angle I would want a huge death of field which means I'll be shooting at small apertures mostly but this is just my opinion. This may sound ridiculous when you consider the cost of what I paid for my D300 since most people will agree a lens investment is better but in the end I just decided to put the difference towards my next lens which will be telephoto. When comparing the two online and in person I wasn't convinced that the 11-16mm had better image quality, both looked great so it just came down to rather the F2.8 was really useful or not and of course the 1mm difference.
Here is a sample picture. I'll be posting more in the Lens Gallery Section after I had a chance to get out on the weekend.
This is where I'm working, it is a SAT, AP and other types of exam prep academy along with college admissions consulting and assistance. I was amazed just how wide these ultra wide gets. A 10mm ultra wide would be even wider and that is just mind blowing to me! 12mm, ISO 800, 1/25 handheld. I'm standing just a few feet from the closest chair. The top is cropped off a bit to make it fit a 16:9 aspect ratio and to hide the air conditioner vent on the ceiling that was protruding into the picture.