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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 as a Real Estate Photography Wide Angle Lens

Published: 26/01/2011

Steve Fuller of Kelowna, BC recently pointed out to me that after many years of using the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 that he was moving to the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. The Tokina 11-16mm  lens is specifically designed for APS-C sensors (cropped sensor DSLRs). It's been on the market since about 2008.

This lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony and Minolta mounts and it gets very good reviews. Here is Ken Rockwell detailed review and here is another review that Steve passed along.

As Ken says in his review the Tokina 11-16mm is probably the best wide angle lens for Nikon DSLRs but for Canon DSLRs the Canon 10-22mm is probably a better bet.

I have the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 listed in my real estate photography lens table. It is shown with a lower rating than the Sigma 10-20mm simply because the site that I use for lens ratings rates it lower. It could very well be that the Tokina 11-16mm is a better lens than the Sigma 10-20mm. It is a little more expensive.

Is there anyone else out there that have used both the Sigma 10-20mm and the Tokina 11-16mm? Which do you like best?

Larry Lohrman

15 comments on “Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 as a Real Estate Photography Wide Angle Lens”

  1. We absolutely love the Tokina 11-16. The sharpness in the center is about the same, Tokina is sharper on the edges. Tokina is better in low light...excellent for interior real estate. The Sigma also is considerable darker on the edges...light fall off.
    The Sigma seems to be under exposed when compared to the Tokina....with same settings.

  2. I use this lens for everyting interior. I love the size of it and the crisp images it produces with my nikon d90. we would recomend this lens over the sigma. used to shoot the sigma 12-24 and then switched to the tokina in 2010.

  3. +1 for the Tokina....I traded in my sigma 10-20 for the Tokina and love the F2.8 huge difference, especially for indoor shooting with video. Its much better build and feels alot more sturdy, well worth the extra money.

  4. I have used the Tokina 12-24mm for years. I love it. Thought about the Tokina 11-16mm. I tried one out it is great but decided not to upgrade. Used the funds for other things. My Tokina 12-24mm I'd fantastic. I like the ability to zoome to 24mm for tighter shots. I am sold on Tokina and the quality of their lenses. I love them.

  5. Hmm...I use the Sigma 10-20mm...but now I am curious. I have been very happy with the lens and its lack of distortion at 10mm. I am going to have to take the Tokina for a test drive next time I stop in to buy something new. I don't see needing an F-stop that low for focal/depth reasons though. I guess there would be video advantages. Thank you for the heads up and reviews.

  6. Hmm.. don't think I would trade in the 10-20 unless I was going to start using the Nikon 16-35 and a full frame set up. I have been using the 10-20 Sigma for 7 years and have been very happy... the only complaint is that 20 is just barely enough zoom for outside shots... with the 11-16 I would have to carry a second body or be changing lenses all the time, and that could lead to dust and increase the chance of dropping a lens. That being said all of our 10 photographers use the 10-20 and we have seen a difference in quality... some are soft on the edges but I chalk that up to a bad model. We make sure to buy them new so we can return them if there is an issue.

  7. The one thing I would say about my Tokina 12-24mm is that you are better suited bumping the f-stop up to f8 to make the edges a little crisper. I believe the same is true for that Tokina 10-16mm. That being said you may end up not using the biggest aperture if you are a sticker for very clear edges. On the other hand nothing a little lens correction, and vignette correction can't help if you really do need that low f-stop.

  8. I have the Tokina. While I can't compare it to the Sigma, I did have the Tamron 10-24 and compared the lenses at 11mm wide open and at F8. The Tokina was sharper in the center and corners. Considerably. The only real beef I have with my copy of the Tokina is that it is almost a prime lens. 11-16 is just not much of a range. I do plan on considering a move to the NIkon 10-24, but I can't imagine it being much, if any sharper than this Tokina. Stopped down it is SHARP. The range is just not enough for RE photography exteriors. The 2.8 is not that helpful as I am usually on a tripod. As a real estate agent, the 2.8 is great for walking the property for the first time or taking some hand held scouting shots, but for the main photos I prefer to be on a tripod.

    Oh, my copy has a little bit of CA that is automatically corrected in some cameras or in Capture NX. Sorry, can't speak to the Canon...

  9. The Tokina 12-24 as well as the 11-16 are sharp, contrasty, and well built, but also very predictable lenses (as some of the other comments have alluded to) compared to the others. By predictable, I mean sharpness over the entire frame as well as the distortion and flare resistance, others I've tried (Sigma/Tamron/Canon/Nikon wides).

    The other great thing no one seems to have mentioned is they have constant apertures across the zoom range (f4 for the 12-24 and the nice f2.8 for the 11-16), which is highly underrated (or barely mentioned) by most reviews. If you're using any remote flashes and have them set up already (say in manual mode), and you decide to shoot a few different crops at different focal lengths, you don't have to worry about having to adjust your aperture as your focal length changes to arrive at the appropriate exposure (even with ttl-flash can change, especially as your view changes potentially fooling the camera's meter e.g. windows in/out of frame, unless you're using flash-ev lock but then you're tied to the aperture shifting if you change focal lengths). Not sure if I've explained that well, but big advantage for post if you're trying to get even looking shots for the whole set.

  10. I used the 12-24/4 Nikkor and then the 11-16/2.8 Tokina with a D300.

    I started PFRE with the 12-24 Nikkor. I switched to the Tokina because PTLens and LR 2 gave better and faster results in post. The Nikkor became my back up lens. The Tokina's corners are much better than the Nikkor's. Most of the Tokina barrel distortion is first order while the Nikkor requires higher order corrections. The same is true for lateral CA, especially at the edges of the frame. The Tokina CA is much easier to correct. The Tokina tolerates overexposure better (less purple fringing). Both lenses are sharp and crisp. The Tokina build quality is excellent. The hood attachment system is better than the Nikkor's. The Live View AF works better with the Nikkor than the Tokina. I noticed no AF differences when using the finder. Contrast and color rendition is quite similar. Flare properties are different in these two lenses, but one is not better than the other.

    When LR 3 came out, there was a great Adobe profile for the Nikkor. I do not know of a Tokina profile for LR 3. The Nikkor's high-order distortions and CA issues are handled well in LR 3. The Tokina's corners are a bit crisper though. Even so, I switched to the Nikkor again because the LR3 lens profile significantly streamlined my work flow.

    Without LR 3, the Tokina is a better lens than the Nikkor.

    Since last fall I do PFRE using a D700 with a Nikkor 17-35/2.8. This lens is better than the Nikkor 12-24 and the Tokina 11-16 in every way. I carry a D300 with the Nikkor 12-24/4 for back up. I really need to e-Bay the Tokina, but I am too busy to list it... maybe this weekend.

  11. I've used the Tokina 12-24mm f4 exclusively since I started RE photography, and I've really enjoyed it. After much consideration, I'm upgrading to the Canon 10-22mm for my main lens, and I'll keep the Tokina 12-24mm as my back-up. I considered the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 vs the Canon 10-22mm, but I don't usually shoot RE below f11, so the extra stop won't be any benefit to me. Another factor was the lack of a manufacturer's profile for LR for the Tokina lenses. I realize that I can make my own, but time is precious and I'll be happy to use the included Canon profile once I've upgraded to that lens. Out of curiosity, do many of you shoot as wide open as 2.8-5.6 for RE? I know DOF is deeper for wide lenses than for tele's, but I would still expect some background blur at those apertures; or is that not the case?

  12. I have the Tokina 11-16 and a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 and for me that is all I need for real estate photography. I also carry a Nikon 35mm 1.8 and a 50mm 1.8. For me this is a perfect set and I love both.

  13. I am looking to upgrade my current camera/lens combo with real estate photography as the primary use. I am not sure what is the best combo. Do I go with full frame body or 1.6X? I have a Canon Xti now and a Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens and have never found the images to be all that great in terms of colors and sharpness. What would be a great setup for the next level up? Curious to see some sample photos of images taken with certain setups.


  14. I've been using it for some time now. It's a great lens, really good build quality and excellent sharpness. You could also use it on a fullframe but only on 16mm because of the vignetting. Fotograaf Nijmegen

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