The new Tokina AT-X 70-200mm f/4 PRO FX VCM-S lens is now available for pre-order

The new Tokina AT-X 70-200mm f/4 PRO FX VCM-S lens for Nikon mount that was initially shown during the CP+ show in February, 2012 and officially announced in May this year is now available for pre order:

Sample images: -1- | -2- | -3- | -4-

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  • singlecoilpickup

    Why would anyone buy this when the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is only $100 and is very good?

    • Nyarlathotep

      For the some of the same reason people move to mirrorless, size and weight. The Siggy f/2.8 is 50.4oz (foot inc in weight?), 7.8″ long; the Tammy f/2.8 is 51.9oz (foot inc in weight?), 7.4″ long; the Tokina f/4 34.5oz (w/o foot), 6.7″ long; the Nikon f/4 30.0oz (w/o foot), 7.0″ long. Is that worth the loss of one stop? It all depends on your particular application and willingness to trade certain features for others.

      • estimate

        Which 3rd party works best with Nikon bodies?


        • Nyarlathotep

          I think that is something that needs to be examined on a case by case basis. Each lens line at the three manufacturers has its own merits, trade-offs and issues. Generally all three manufacturers current offerings tend to be very good and 100% compatible, but as is the case with all lenses, even OEM, it is always prudent to make sure you know the pluses and minus to the lens prior to purchasing.

          Now, I have heard comments to the effect that Sigma does not license the lens-camera communication protocol from Nikon.They reverse engineer it, while Tokina and Tamron pay a license fee. This may be why Sigma lenses sometimes have hiccups when Nikon releases new firmware or a new body. This might explain why Sigma released the lens dock for lens firmware updates and fine-tuning. Previously you had to send the lens back to Sigma for updates. I cannot confirm this to be true, so take it as rumor unless someone here has more definitive info.

          • Global

            Does anyone have any substantiated evidence for this? I don’t think this is the kind of rumor that should be tolerated, unless it has evidence.

            Definitely Sigma has had hiccups, although I’ve found they usually have superior designs. I’ve found that Tamron has its own hiccups, but slightly less appealing lenses. I dont have experience with Tokina as its lenses have been the least appealing to me. But if this is optically as sharp as the Nikon and works well with the software being licensed, then it could be a very good bargain, at $300 savings (25% savings vs. the Nikon).

            If Tokina has licensed software, that’s a plus.

            • Nyarlathotep

              Good question. I certainly would be interested to know.

              I think sigma has had a couple of recent hiccups regarding AF. Nikon made some updates to the firmware on a few bodies that “broke” the sigma AF on some lenses. Those lenses compatible with their new dock system could be fixed quickly. Older lenses had to be sent in for firmware updates. Whether this breaking of Sigma compatibility was intentional or not by Nikon, I have no idea. Certainly Sigma and Nikon have not had the most rosy of relationships with their long drawn out VR/OS lawsuit eventually won by Nikon. And Nikon did break some 3rd batteries on the same update, so who knows. Either way it does bring up the specter of future compatibility.

              I have not had any issues with Tokina in this way, but that does not mean they are or are not immune. Tamron… I don’t know if they have run into compatibility issues or not. I have not had direct experience with their gear.

          • Heartyfisher

            I dont think Nikon licences the mount tech to any 3rd party manufacturers. Sigma has more known incidents of compatibility problems probably bec they have the most number of lenses. Another possible reason why Tokina has less issues is bec Tokina was founded by a bunch of Ex Nikon engineers.

          • bob smith

            if tamron pays the licensing fee then how come they have the well documented issue where all of their lenses show up as one lens in the AF fine tune menu?

            • Nyarlathotep

              Who knows. I honestly don’t know if they license or not, just unsubstantiated claims on the forums.

              With regards to the AF fine tune issue, I think a couple Tamron lenses pass the same portion of the ID Nikon uses for storing AF fine tune settings when communicating with the Nikon body. If you happen to have a couple with the same IDs, well the Nikon body cant tell the difference between the two. Why Tamron did this with their 70-200 VC and 24-70 VC, only they know. Seems like a silly mistake, but they must have had a reason. Or maybe the left hand and right hand didn’t know what the other was doing…

    • dave

      It’s only $100???
      I’ll buy 2 of them.

      • peterortphoto

        I’ll buy 20 of them, and start my own version of “Will it blend?”.

      • singlecoilpickup

        Oops. I forgot a “more” in there.

    • introvert

      The sigma 70-200mm is the worst out of all 70-200mm lenses (f/2.8 or f/4)

  • MB

    Unfortunately for Tokina i dont think anybody cares … fantastic Nikon 70-200 f/4 is too closely priced, and faster Sigma and Tamron f/2.8 too …

    • The Original Bad Bob

      You’re probably right but let’s wait for real world testing.

      • ShakyLens

        It would be extremely tough for this lens to best the Nikon version… I’d be impressed if it did though.

        • phil

          even if tokina managed to outperform the Nikon version, the difference would be minimal. The risk of AF issues due to unsupported firmware/specs on the other hand would be very real.
          The lens must cost at most half the price of the Nikon, otherwise there’s no market for it.

      • Anton PupkIn

        lets wait for the real world pricing. All third parties drop their prices VERY quick and deep.

    • Chris Pearson

      Looking on the Nikon one is cheaper by over $130, and that after you add the optional ring.

      Unless this is amazing it’s DOA. And the reviews of the nikon say it’s stellar.

      • iamlucky13

        Amazon must have fat-fingered a number when they listed it for $1699.

        Both Adorama and B&H are selling it for $1099, which is what I predicted they would sell it for when they announced it 2 months ago at a Japanese MSRP equivalent of $1478 – yeah, I’m bragging a little bit, but Tokina’s lens pricing history made it pretty easy to guess. I’m also guessing that a year from now it will be under $1000.

        That’s close enough that Nikon shouldn’t sweat too much, but it’s still low enough that Tokina will probably sell a decent number, as long as it comes close to the Nikon’s optical quality, although I’d be surprised if fully matched the Nikon. There is no shortage of people (like myself) to whom $300 is a lot of money.

        If money weren’t an object, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Nikon. As is, I will wait to see the results and/or if Nikon ever updates the 300 F/4 to decide. The bottom line, however, is I’m glad to have a choice, and I hope Tokina is successful enough to justify further broadening their lineup.

      • Nyarlathotep

        Amazon price listings for lenses are not a good benchmark. Some lenses are ludicrously high, others too low to be taken seriously. This is the result of third party resellers at Amazon, some of which sell shady gray market lenses (not clearly marked as such), refurbs, or conversely, vendors gouging when a product is low in stock / not widely available. B&H and Adorama are generally a reliable source for proper street pricing.

        Time will tell if the Tokina will be good enough to command the $1,099 street price tag. Likely it will sell in small volumes and Tokina will shave the price down to $999 or less, making it a more attractive alternative to the Nikon.

        As to comparing the Tokina to some of the comments above about the Tamron and Sigma 2.8s, the comparison really depends on the size and weight & IQ needs. personally I have avoided the 2.8 models. I just don’t want to lug one around for backpacking and walk-around use, my intended uses. For my needs the f/4 is a more of a fit. I like the Nikon and will pick one of the Nikon or Tokina once I have a better feel for the performance relative to each other. Right now I am really just waiting to save up the funds, so I am in no hurry to get answers…

    • Vlad Tepes

      The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 is maybe the worst 70-200mm ever.

      • Matthew Saville Baldon

        Considering that Sigma has offered about a half-dozen different versions of such a lens, you’re gonna hafta elaborate. The newest version, with OS and HSM, is pretty awesome. Sigma’s only plague is AF issues due to Nikon intentionally F-ing with their lens-related electronic communication, which IMO is a low blow and, as the dude says, “this aggression will not stand, man”…


        • Vlad Tepes

          Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Nikon D800, dxomark scores: 25
          Nikkor AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon D800, dxomark scores: 29
          Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Nikon D800, dxomark scores: 31
          You’re right, the newest version version Sigma is “pretty awesome”. Very cool. N1. 😀

          • Nyarlathotep

            Dxomark overall scores are worthless. I seriously think Dxomark’s overall scores are determined by rolling some dice, multiplying it by the coordinates of Mars in the sky, divided by some scrying results using chicken bones used for scrying and and then a little pepper is added for good measure.

            That all said, the most recent Sigma does not seem to have very good border/corner resolution above 135mm. Especially wide open. I think the Tammy is better in this respect, but the AF is not so stellar on the Tammy.

    • MonkeySpanner

      I expect this Tokina to eventually settle to around $850 street. At that price, if the optics are good – it is a good deal.

    • Global

      Its a 25% savings on cost — you’d be surprised how much people prefer to save money. Save 25% 4 times and you can get a 5th lens for free. On a budget, that’s very very important, because the glass often works extremely well and very similarly with minor risk.

      Even for 15% savings, large groups of people are motivated. But 25% can seal the deal for lenses that are not work-critical. If you need an FX 14-24/2.8 for work, you won’t skimp on it. But if its not work critical, a lot of people suddenly get interested in the Fullframe Sigma 12-24/variable at a 30-40% savings.

  • Nyarlathotep

    Half might be a bit on the low end, but I do agree, it is not common that a 3rd party vendor can compete when their price is not attractive enough to lure people away from OEM. 3rd party successes really seem to occur for the 3rd party vendors when they offer something not offered by the OEMs (e.g. Sigma 18-35 f/2), something that out performs the OEMs (e.g. Sigma 50 Art f/1.4) or when sold at sizable discount.

    That all said, Tokina is going to have a hard time selling well against the Nikon at that price unless the lens is killer. Same goes with Canon. The new 70-200 F/4L IS is $1,350 (ignoring current rebate) and plenty of old non-IS copies are in circulation at under $700. Tough sale there. Maybe the other mounts offer opportunities?

    • Kim

      I think maybe some people don’t understand exactly the meaning of ‘OEM’!

      From Wikipedia: “An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company’s brand name.[1] OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a replacement part made by the manufacturer of the original part”

      • Nyarlathotep

        You are probably right, OEM is maybe a bit muddled outside of the automotive world. In the auto world OEM was generally used for parts made by the car’s manufacturer and “aftermarket” for third parties. Although some third parties would play marketing games with phrases like “OEM quality” or “meets OEM standards” and other similar weasel word language, but they were not truly OEM.

        So yes, anytime I stated OEM above, I should have stated “Nikon” or whom ever your camera body manufacturer of choice is.

  • Bokeh Monk

    All I can tell ya for sure is that when I dropped my 70-200 2.8 Nikkor onto tarmac from waist level, I picked it up, cursed and then reattached the lens to the camera and continued shooting, somehow it seems even sharper now. You really do get what you pay for these days!

  • Matthew Saville Baldon

    Hopefully Tokina’s first venture (?) into the new USM / SWM / HSM style autofocus isn’t an epic fail. I’m usually NEVER an early adopter of 1st-gen technology, but I will definitely test this lens out and see how it performs.

    Why would you buy this, when the Sigma and Tamron are marginally more expensive and offer f/2.8? Simple: Not everybody in the world is screaming for that one extra stop of aperture. There are other things in this world, like build quality and sharpness, that some people care about. It’s not always about shallow DOF and bokeh.

    In short, landscape photographers everywhere have loved the Canon 70-200 f/4 for like a decade now, and the Nikon version for a couple years now, and it’s high time that the third parties got on board with affordable versions of this fantastic lens option.

    If you don’t understand, that’s fine, get yourself an f/2.8 and be happy.


    • Alderaan

      The 2.8 offerings are in most cases sharper and built better than the f4 alternatives. f2.8 is more versatile and capable than f4. An f2.8 lens can do f4 and f2.8. An f4 can not do f2.8. Weight is the only issue to note here in my opinion. In terms of image quality there is no alternative to 2.8.

      • MonkeySpanner

        I am with Matt on this one. Yeah, there are times when you need f/2.8. But for everything else, I would much rather carry a smaller, lighter f/4 lens.

        • Alderaan

          Stopping down an f2.8 to f4 will produce better results than using an f4 wide open. If they were the same size and weight you know you would take the f2.8… It’s not about needing to use it at f2.8. “It’s not always about shallow DOF and bokeh.” – Agreed, but quite often it is. Why on earth would you want to remove this option?

          • phil

            No, it will not.
            According to DxO, the 70-200mm f4 is actually even wide open a tiny bit sharper than the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II stopped down to f4, mainly from the 135mm+ range up.

          • MonkeySpanner

            Alderaan – “If they were the same size and weight you know you would take the f2.8”

            Why even discuss this “what if”. It is the main reason (maybe the only reason) the f/4 lens exists.

          • Matthew Saville Baldon

            Again, if you believe this, then I don’t really know what to say.

            If you’re a portrait / wedding / general shooter who does like having f/2.8 at your disposal, that’s fine. Stop trying to re-assure yourself that you made the right purchase; you did.

            If you’re a landscape / adventure etc. photographer, and you spend all your time at f/11 or f/16, then yep, you’re an idiot for buying a 2.8 zoom. Sorry!

      • ShakyLens

        I call bull. In many respects the Nikon f4 lens is superior to the 2.8 – focus breathing at close focus for example. In most aspects of IQ they are extremely close so your argument does not hold water.

        • Alderaan

          Which lens has better IQ at f4?

          • NoMeJodas

            Judging by the MTFs, I expect the 70-200/4 to have better IQ wide open than the 70-200/2.8 stopped down to f4, at least on the tele side @200mm.

        • NoMeJodas

          Agreed. If one does not need that extra one stop, then the 70-200/4 is all-in-all the better lens IMO.

          • Alderaan

            Looking at DXOMark the Nikon f4 does have impressive sharpness according to the charts, there’s no denying it (especially at the long end). I personally think the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 is the way to go all things considered.

            • NoMeJodas

              Tamron, Sigma, Nikon it doesn’t matter in regard to image quality IMO. I believe we nowadays have reached the point where the IQ of almost every current lens/body combination (and in many cases even smartphones) is more than sufficient in “standard” situations for the final image size most people would need. And it doesn’t matter if that final image will be a print or digital. Of course unless one is a gear head, pixel peeper or one of the 1% of photographers who need to make large prints that are measured by meters 😉

      • Matthew Saville Baldon

        Alderaan, I don’t know what info you’re going off of, but what you just said is just not true. Canon and Nikon have both historically proven that their f/4 70-200’s are FAR sharper than their older 2.8’s, third-party 2.8’s, and approximately match / beat their new mk2 2.8’s. But, don’t take my word for it, check out any of the compendium sites that have solid lens reviews, like SLR Gear. …Or just keep believing that. I just feel sorry for the friends you advise on this subject lol, if they’re into landscapes and travel, let alone backpacking etc.

        • Alderaan

          Matthew, I just agreed that the Nikon f4 was an excellent lens with remarkable sharpness scores on DXO. All I have been arguing is that size and weight are what one must consider if you’re deciding between f2.8 and f4.

          Obviously I wouldn’t advise someone to get an f2.8 for landscape use…

          Perhaps I got a bit lost on the people who want a 70-200 lens for specific uses only, like landscape/backpacking as you mentioned. For me it can only be a good thing to have a lens with more versatility to tackle all situations effectively.

          I personally haven’t the issue of weight to consider so there’s no reason to remove the option of going to f2.8.

          Again, would anyone choose an f4 over an f2.8 if they were the same size, weight and price? I’m just trying to make it clear that the f2.8 options are better and there is a reason they are more expensive.

          The latest Tamron f2.8 scores better than the latest Nikon f2.8 on DXO and actually costs less than even the Nikon f4 version.

          • KnightPhoto

            I’ll just chime in to say that having and frequently needing and using the f/2.8 lenses makes getting their f/4 brethren more of a nice to have, so the f/4’s don’t pop up on my “must get” list. And f/2.8 zooms are also a good NAS-repellent too, as it’s also hard to justify primes that are only a stop and a third faster (f1.8 primes).

            One way of looking at it is building an f/2.8 and f/1.4 primes lens kit makes a good complement. So does building an f/4 zoom and f/1.8 primes lens kit.

            Since an f/4 70-200 is on my nice to have list, more as a travel lens than anything else, looking at a Tokina might make some sense as others have stated if the price is right…

      • Kim

        You’re wrong.
        Every test on the net have found that the Nikkor 70-200/4VRIII is sharper wide open than the Nikkor 70-200/2.8VRII is stopped down to f/4!
        I had the 2.8 and now have the f/4 instead, and can most definately confirm that it has more sharpness and contrast than the ‘big brother’, even wide open! Much!
        And don’t get me started on the VR improvement…

        • Rocky

          Also, the Nikon f4 has less distortion.

    • Eno

      You must be joking right. Who the heck prefers an f/4 lens instead of an f/2,8 one for almost the same price? The argument about sharpness is also completely wrong, an f/2,8 lens stopped down at f/4 is always sharper than a native f/4 lens.

      This lens is an overpriced piece of gear, and it will sell accordingly, or better said, it will not sell. LOL

      • phil

        No, it’s not.
        According to DxO, the 70-200mm f4 is actually even
        wide open a tiny bit sharper than the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II stopped down
        to f4, mainly from the 135mm+ range up.

      • Matthew Saville Baldon

        Eno, as previously argued already, if you believe this, then either have fun continuing to believe something that isn’t true, …or check your facts. (Or do some real-world testing of your own?)

        Clearly you’ve never hiked 10+ miles with 40-60 lbs of gear on your back, only to shoot at f/11.

        Like I said in my original post as well, there is a very good chance this lens will drop in price rather quickly, while the Nikon 70-200 f/4 isn’t going to drop in price, well, ever. In fact sometimes Nikon lens prices go up due to Yen vs USD.

  • Matthew Saville Baldon

    There is a good chance that this lens’ price will fall rather quickly, and will be available used / refurbished for extremely cheap. I can pick up a Tokina 17-35 f/4 for just $250 for example from Tokina’s official Ebay store based here in Huntington Beach!


  • Mike

    Only Sigma reverse engineers the mount and AF particulars. That’s why firmware changes by Nikon affect only their lenses. Tokina and Tamron pay to liscence the mount. So Nikon doesn’t “punish” them like they do Sigma.

    • mount or AF logic?

      Ahh… Tamron pays for Mount = hardware only, or the AF logic as well?

    • MB

      Tell that to owners of Tamron lens not recognized by the Nikon camera

    • Heartyfisher

      No, this is not correct. please provide proof. all 3rd party manufacturers reverse engineer the mount tech. The only ones that does not is between Tokina and Pentax where they have joint design collaborations. and maybe Zeiss and Sony

  • lorenzo

    To Admin:
    If you mouse over the Shop Now, RT below the lens picture, the price shown is $1,699, while the other links at B&H etc. show 1,099 🙂
    Cancel, it wasn’t your mistake but Amazon’s inflated price, sorry.

    • This is is because of third party resellers on Amazon.

  • rt-photography

    not liking this tactic of selling the tripod mount as an extra

    $900 with mount is the amount id pay. a lot of good options already.

    $300 more and you get a Tamron 70-200 2.8 and the tripod mount.

  • Spy Black

    This thing better blow the Nikkor out of the water, or Tokina is suffering from Nikonitis…

    • MonkeySpanner

      I don’t think it has to be better than the Nikon. That is a pretty high bar. But if it is even close to as good as the Nikon AND sells for street ~ $850 – I think Tokina will move a lot of units.

      • Spy Black

        …except it’s not going for $850, it’s gong for $1100. If it was going for $850 it would indeed be a bargain.

        • MonkeySpanner

          It is $1100 today – first day of availability. I think when they don’t move units we will see the price drop and rebates also. I am definitely interested in this lens at a sub-$900 range.

  • Philip Warren

    Both Sigma and Tamron (although they’re third party) still hold pride to
    their own product designs. For $1000+, this 70-200mm looks WAY too much like a Nikon knock off. It seems as if Tokina really does not care
    about copyright lawsuits.

    • Nyarlathotep

      The external design of the Tokina 70-200 f/4 is very similar to their much older, discontinued 50-135 f/2.8 DX design, released in 2007. That predates the Nikon 70-200 f/4 by quite a bit. In fact, they have been using this styling for quite some time. Like their no longer produced 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF D, released in 1996. It has a lot of the same types of styling decisions as the new Tokina 70-200 f/4.

      Certainly the optical formulas are not the same between the two 70-200 f/4s.

      Now, there may be some potential similarities between the Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF D of the mid-90s and say the Nikon 80-200 D ED (2-ring) but… the 80-200 came out a year later (maybe another of the Nikon zooms had this same style but came earlier?). So who knows, maybe back in the mid 90s one may have been taking cues from the other… Either way, Tokina’s styling has not changed much in the past 20 years. The newest one does not stray from the flock. Can’t really blame them for that.

      • Heartyfisher

        tokina was started by a bunch of ex nikon engineers

        • Nyarlathotep

          Tokina infusion of engineers supposedly happened when they stopped producing lenses for Nikon Corp and started making their own lines in the 70s (Tokina was its own entity previously, but intimately tied to Nikon when they started in the 50s). This was well before the current design styling that started in the mid-90s, not that there wasn’t perhaps some cross-pollination or “borrowing” of designs in later years. Who knows how incestuous they were at the time. As with many Japanese large companies, they are not exactly forthcoming when it comes to certain business affairs.

    • MonkeySpanner

      This Tokina was announced and a model was shown before the Nikon was announced. Yes, Nikon delivered their lens first, but Tokina has been working on this lens for a long time.

  • Remedy

    Geez, these people. How can you purposefully say such ridiculously stupid things? Half the price otherwise there is no market? 1920s much? Tell that to Sigma where they 50mm f/1.4 sells for 40% MORE. Only a typical internet tool would pick a product just by the brand. Facepalm

  • Rick M

    Having used them both, The F4 is simply a better lens in every aspect except 2.8.

    • Carleton Foxx

      2.8 lenses are a gigantic pain, especially when you’re trying to shoot quickly and stay under the radar. I love my 24-70 but it’s freakin huge and the 70-200 looks ridiculous with the hood on. I welcome Nikon’s and the third party makers high quality f/4 lenses, especially if they have great image stabilization.

      And anyway, shallow depth of field is for amateurs… real photographers arrange the subject-background relationship in their photos to get the isolation they want, they don’t rely on optical tricks.

      • Alderaan

        So Carleton, what aperture value are we limited to if we want to be professional photographers? f/8 and smaller? You are a knob.

        • Carleton Foxx

          A knob!!???!!! Have you been talking to my wife, because she says the same thing about me….

          But no, f/5.6 is a perfectly fine aperture…Look through some publications that use a lot of photography, or check out the photos on the makeup displays the Walgreens and to me it looks like most commercial photographers shoot with more depth of field than you think when you first glance at the picture. I assume it’s because the photos need to survive a lot of image degradation as they go through the printing process and to make sure they really nail focus especially with bigger formats.

          It seems like people get this idea that wider apertures are better in and of themselves but don’t stop to think that there are other ways to isolate your subject…. As Arnold Newman said “photography is 1 percent genius, 99 percent moving furniture.”

          • Alderaan


            That’s all well and good Carleton but I don’t see a problem with using a shallow depth of field in certain situations. I don’t think it’s something to be avoided or ‘ashamed’ of as you suggested.

  • Yoshi
    • Thanks, I will add those links to my post.


    • MonkeySpanner

      Yoshi, thanks for the links. Since I do not read Japanese, can you tell me what the general impressions for this lens were? Did the reviewers like the lens? Thanks.

  • Andrew Hollywood

    so for $300 more you get 3 more years of warranty, 5 stop VRIII and guaranteed to work on any future bodies. Who would buy this over the nikon?

    • Alderaan

      And furthermore, who would buy either of those over the Tammy f/2.8?

      • Nyarlathotep

        Backpackers, hikers, and landscape photographers. Weight and size are more important than f/2.8.

  • samsunguser

    I am a very prominent and important photographer. I maintain my constantly growing family on my expertise as a photographer and I can tell you that you don’t need this lens. I use a 35mm f1.8 for everything. It’s light and fast and you just need to crop if you really need to get in close to far away action. Save your money and send the rest to me and my needy family.

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