Here is my review on Tokina AT-X Pro 100 f/2.8 D Macro lens.
Tokina AT-X Pro 100mm Macro f/2.8
After using this lens for quite a while, I realised that there is a need for a review on this lens. Aside from the amazing Nikkor 105mm Macro f/2.8 VR, this lens can be considered as one of the best macro lens in the photography world. I will review this lens based on various aspects such as the body, image quality and others.
The body of this lens is sturdier than Tamron 90mm Macro SP. It doesn't feel cheap at all. The focusing ring feels smooth and you can just flick it with a finger. Some would prefer the focusing ring to be tighter as it would avoid you from losing your focus. However, with smoother focusing ring, it would enable you to find your focus faster. Its lighter compared to the Nikkor and it is definitely a great plus for the user as it won't pose much of a burden for them. Besides, shooting macro might require you to focus with your own body rather than using the focusing ring.
Focusing up to 1:1 will extend the lens to about its whole body size. Unlike Nikon or Canon which doesn't extend, it might as well pose a problem for you as the extension will disturb your subject. In my case, it does occur in 2 out of 10 shots. Also, going to 1:1 will drop the aperture to f/5.6. However, if you're using it as a short-tele, it will stay 2.8. Auto focus is fast on my D7000. However, its not that fast compared to Nikon 35 f/1.8 but it is still fast for a short-tele.
I will not say much about sharpness. This is a macro lens. Of course its super-sharp. It is sharp across the frame. Especially the centre where sharpness maxed out. At 2.8, its sharp but a little soft at corners. Stop it at f/5.6 and it is hell sharp. Some reviews mentioned that it maxed out at f/16 where diffraction started to occur. However, mine is still sharp up until f/18 and sometimes at f/20. My results are based on real world results rather than lab results.
There is a little distortion which you may not realise at all. I put it to test and found that just a bit of distortion occurs at corners. Other than that, none at all.
I never come across ghosting while shooting macro but if you use it as a short-tele, you will get some. I got it while shooting my students playing football and my colleagues playing badminton. But it is a rare occasion as it depends on the angle of the source of light. There's just a few circles that would fill maybe 1/10 of the frame towards the corners.
I got mine for RM1,499 which is more than a half cheaper than the Nikon 105 Macro VR. It's always out of stock so you might have to order it. Photographers have been after it as it performs nearly the same or better than the Nikon for a tad cheaper price.
In the nutshell or coconut shell or even seashell, this is one of the best option for a macro photographers looking for a dedicated macro lens. Since it can provide a 1:1 magnification, you can even reach 3:1 in certain occasion with an extension tube or macro converter. I managed to reach 4:1 magnification with full stack of extension tube. Get this one if you can't get hold of the expensive brand such as Nikon, Canon or Sony. If budget is not a problem for you, get a Nikon or Canon.