Tokina has a reputation for producing quality lenses for Canon, Sony, and Nikon cameras. While they may not be as popular as Sigma and Tamron, Tokina is still an excellent third-party lens manufacturer, offering great optics at more affordable prices than the big brands. In this guide, we go over five of the top Tokina ultra wide-angle lenses under $500, so you can shoot pro-level photography without paying pro-level prices.
When choosing a Tokina lens, oftentimes the features are not clear from the lens name alone. Other manufacturers denote special features like autofocus and image stabilization, for example. Generally, Tokina lenses do not have image stabilization and they usually have an internal focusing system.
Also, remember that Tokina lenses are often available for more than one camera manufacturer, and sometimes multiple lens mounts too.
The Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX is a good budget lens and another solid ultra wide-angle solution. This model provides a slightly greater focal distance and allows you to take both ultra and standard wide-angle shots.
It is available for Nikon DSLR cameras including Nikon DX mount, Nikon FX, and Nikon F mount models, so it should work admirably with your Nikon D780 or Nikon D6. The lens construction is made from 14 elements in 12 groups, and features several special elements that minimize distortions and improve light transmission.
There is a useful focus clutch button that lets you change between manual and autofocus. This is helpful when you quickly need to change your camera settings for moving objects, etc. The standard model also comes with a Tokina lens, which is good for providing additional protection and shading.
This cheap but useful lens weighs 557g and has an overall length of 9.2cm. As a result, it is quite portable and not too heavy. The AT-X 11-20mm also has a decent constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 which offers greater control over depth of field.
Next we have the affordable Tokina AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX. This ultra wide lens has a great maximum aperture of f/2. This means you have good control over depth of field and you can create smooth, rounded bokeh effects for backgrounds. It also makes this lens suitable for low-light compositions.
It is available for Canon EF DSLR cameras and weighs 725g. It is okay to carry, but there are lighter options available. It also has a maximum overall length of 10.6cm which, again, makes it a little larger than the other good lenses on this list.
Regardless, this budget lens features an advanced lens construction for optimum image performance. This includes the latest generation of Tokina aspherical elements and ED low dispersion elements too. As a result, you can expect consistent image quality with minimal softening and distortions.
The Tokina AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX accepts 82mm filters and has an optional lens hood, too. It is a solid choice and one of the top Tokina ultra wide-angle lenses under $500.
The Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 PRO FX is a versatile ultra wide-angle lens that is available for Nikon F mount DSLR cameras. It has a superior construction and a good set of features that make it easy to use with consistent performance.
Firstly, it has an okay maximum aperture of f/4. This is not as good as the other models on this list, but it still gives decent control over depth of field and light transmission. This is complemented by a solid internal autofocusing system and a useful focus clutch button.
The lens construction features two SD low dispersion elements and two P-MO aspherical elements. These contribute to the consistent image quality. Also, they help minimize distortions like ghosting, lens flare, and aberrations.
In terms of portability, the AT-X 17-35mm f/4 PRO FX weighs 600g and has an overall length of 15.2cm. It is quite compact and should be easy to use on your Nikon DSLR camera. Unfortunately, it does not have any built-in image stabilization, but it should still be easy to use handheld.
5. Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX II (Budget Winner)
Our budget option is the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX II. This is similar to our overall winner but has some minor differences in features and price. It is available for Nikon, Canon, and Sony DLSR cameras, including both Canon EF and EF-S mount devices.
We like the water-resistant external glass and durable external materials. These mean you can use this lens comfortably outdoors. Also, it means the lens glass is easy to clean and you can quickly remove dust and fingerprints.
The consistent maximum aperture of f/2.8 is also decent and means this lens can be used for low-light compositions too. You can also create artistic bokeh effects for backgrounds. The lens element features a range of advanced elements that maintain image quality and minimize distortions.
Get Immense Detail with Tokina Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses Under $500
There’s more than one good choice of Tokina ultra wide-angle lenses under $500, as you can see from this list. Any of the lenses featured in this guide offer a viable ultra wide-angle option. You don’t have to spend a fortune since this third-party manufacturer offers lens quality that easily rivals other producers.