Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tokina RMC 17mm f3.5 - Second Look

Streetcar -- NEX-5N & Tokina RMC 17mm f3.5.

I heard/read that Tokina was founded by ex-Nikon employees.  Not sure if this was true.  The early Tokina lenses were pretty good.  I have had the 17mm f3.5 for some time, but haven't really used it much.  It's got a Canon FD mount, hence I can only use it on my NEX-5N or the Panasonic G1.  Naturally, I use it on the NEX-5N.  It's a wide angle lens after all, because the focal length would be equivalent to 34mm on the G1, but on the NEX-5N, the focal length is 25.5mm; still pretty wide.

Table for two -- NEX-5N & Tokina RMC 17mm f3.5.

Ultra wide angles and very long telephoto lenses have same problem: they are very hard to focus.  The Peaking Level feature on the NEX-5N helps tremendously in both cases, making it much easier to focus.  I used this feature extensively today and it was great. When properly focused, the 17mm lens is actually VERY sharp when stopped down a couple of clicks.  The edge is very good, though I am sure on full frame it's still a bit soft, but on the NEX-5N, it much better than the kit lens.  I have grown to like it, although I am not really a very wide angle guy.

Found a Vivitar wide angle hood for it (come to think of it, I believe Vivitar has its own version of this lens, made by Tokina, essentially the same lens).  The metal hood fits perfectly; makes the lens look very nice and more "professional".

In all, I think it's a very decent lens.  Well built, focus very smoothly, and reasonably sharp for an ultra wide angle lens.

John and King Sts -- NEX-5N & Tokina RMC 17mm f3.5


  1. I have this lens in a later version - an AF AT-X model. I like it a lot, and it works well on both full frame and APS-C cameras. Interestingly it has had more use on the later where it becomes and excellent 25mm lens. I think they are a hidden gem.

  2. Wonder if Tokina made an EF version of this lens. Not sure how good the edges is on full frame, but I like it on the NEX-5n.

  3. I have the lens in an M42 mount. A very well built lens and I have only used it a few times (on a Canon XSI).

    This is the best I was able to compose (more of a limit on my skills vs. the lens I suspect).!i=935127632&k=DoSf6&lb=1&s=A

    I have a NEX 5N on order and am looking forward to using it and many older Nikkors on the 5N.


  4. @Steve: Like your pictures taken with the Tokina 17mm. I think it's a good lens for the money.

  5. Hi Yu-Lin
    I am thinking of getting one of these lenses from ebay so don't know whether it will accomplish what I want from it. I take out of focus photos as I love the abstraction that happens with it. Could you let me know, when the lense is focused at its shortest distance what kind of blur happens in the background. Check out my site to see what I end up painting with the photo's I take to give you a better idea -
    Thank you if you can help me

    1. Hi Philip. Please see this post

      It has a sample of out of focus background blur at minimum focus distance.

  6. Have you compared the Sony 16 f2.8 to the Tokina 17 f3.5?