Optical Limits: Tokina atx-m 23mm, 33mm, and 56mm f/1.4 Reviewed

Optical Limits reviewed the Tokina atx-m 23mm, 33mm, and 56mm f/1.4. I summarized and linked to the reviews below, but all three performed well, but there is a lot of quality competition out there now on E-mount.

Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4: B&H Photo

Full Review Here

The Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 E is a lens with multiple personalities. It is plenty sharp in the image center at large-aperture settings but the outer image field is soft. To be fair – this is probably forgivable in most real-world scenarios when using f/1.4 or f/2. Images are, however, tack sharp when stopped down to a medium aperture. Heavy vignetting can also be evident at f/1.4. Lateral CAs could be a little better at f/1.4 and f/2 but you can, once again, tame them by stopping down a bit. Image distortions are very low and that’s without any digital corrections. The bokeh is better than on most lenses in this class. Out-of-focus highlights are perfectly rendered near the image center although the corners aren’t as good in this respect. The focus transition zones are very smooth though. Axial CAs can be visible in critical scenes.

The mechanical quality of the Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 E is high, as usual. It’s tightly assembled and most of the lens is made of metal including the lens hood. The video folks will also appreciate the step-less aperture ring. Unfortunately, there is no weather-sealing although that’s probably not unexpected in this price class. The AF speed is comparatively moderate but operations are noiseless. Firmware updates are possible via a built-in USB port. Hopefully, Tokina will supply a firmware update with a correction profile soon – because this feature is missing.

Overall, the Tokina lens isn’t perfect but it combines the creative potential of a high-speed aperture and sane pricing.

Tokina atx-m 33mm f/1.4: B&H Photo

Full Review Here

The broader center resolution is already very good at f/1.4 whereas the outer image field is soft. Stopping down to f/2.8 fixes most of the border/corner softness and the results are very sharp indeed from f/4. Lateral CAs are quite low and usually nothing to worry about. You may spot a tad of pincushion distortion … There is also some obvious vignetting when shooting at f/1.4 … The Tokina lens doesn’t feature a built-in correction profile so you have to deal with it manually if needed. Eventually, there should be correction profiles available in most RAW converters though. A positive aspect is the quality of the bokeh. It deteriorates somewhat in the far corners but is generally very pleasing. This is especially true for the out-of-focus highlights. Bokeh fringing (Axial CAs) is on the high side, though.

The build quality of the Tokina lens is pretty high. Like its in-house cousins, the Tokina atx-m 33mm f/1.4 E is tightly assembled and most of the lens is made of metal including the lens hood. An unusual feature for such an affordable lens is the dedicated aperture ring. It is step-less and more aligned to video use, but we had no issues using it for photos. The AF is only moderately fast but noiseless. Firmware upgrades are possible via a USB port so let’s hope that the lens will receive an image correction profile at some stage at least.

Overall, Tokina atx-m 33mm f/1.4 E is a very good value package with a few hiccups.

Tokina atx-m 56mm f/1.4: B&H Photo

Full Review Here

In terms of sharpness, it can deliver where it counts the most for such a lens – in the broader image center. The borders and corners are soft at f/1.4 and f/2. Beyond, they are pretty decent and really sharp at medium aperture settings. Lateral CAs and image distortions are on a moderate level, albeit you can spot them in critical scenes. Vignetting can be obvious at f/1.4. The lens has no correction profile, so it’ll require manual efforts if you want to fix this.

…the bokeh quality is certainly a strength of this lens. Out-of-focus highlights are very clean at f/1.4 and remain circular except in the far corners. The general blur rendition is also smooth. On the downside, axial CAs (bokeh fringing) can be noticeable at large apertures. You may also stumble across purple fringing in difficult scenes with harsh contrast.

Tokina ATX-M 85mm f/1.8 FE:
B&H Photo / Amazon

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