Building on the success of the original, today Tokina/Kenko has announced the release of the AT-X 116 PRO DX II, an 11-16mm f/2.8 lens with improved optics and focusing.
The original Tokina AT-X PRO 11-16mm f/2.8 lens was already one of the best… perhaps the best… lenses in it’s class. Although several competing lenses exist with larger zoom ranges, such as the Canon 10-22, the Nikon 10-24, and the Sigma 10-20, only the Tokina offers a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. Perhaps because it’s zoom range is less ambitious, it’s optical quality is excellent. It has been popular enough that since its introduction in 2008, the lens has frequently been hard to find in stock, and the prices (especially for the Canon model) have fluctuated wildly.
Initial information from Tokina’s Japanese website indicate that Nikon-mount version of the lens will be available in March, with an MSRP of 90,000 Yen (roughly $1150 USD), which is the same as that of the original model. As usual, though, street prices are significantly lower, with the lens typically selling for around $700. The Canon version, unfortunately, is not expected to be released until next July. It is also possible that these dates refer only to availability in Japan, and the lenses may not be released in the USA until later.
Details about the new lens are still a little sketchy, and have not yet been officially released in English. There are a few main differences that seem to be clear, however. The lens has been treated with a newly developed coating to improve shadow detail and tonal gradations. Even more importantly, the lens has been redesigned with a new aspherical glass element and two new low-dispersion (near-fluorite) glass elements which are intended to eliminate chromatic aberration (color fringing in areas of high contrast). Additionally, the lens will feature a newly designed silent-drive motor, and a GMR sensor, both of which will improve focusing speed.
I’m looking forward to getting my hands on one of these. With any luck, everyone will benefit: those willing to spend the money will get a great new lens, and with any luck, beginners and starving artists will be able to get the (still very high quality) original models at lower second-hand prices.
— UPDATE —
[I received the following email this evening from Tokina’s Japanese HQ – JMG]
As of today, AT-X116II has been announced for Japan market only, and the launch for overseas market has not been fixed yet.
Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.
Kenko-Tokina Co.,Ltd.,3-9-19,Nishi-otiai,Shinjyuku-ku,Tokyou 161-8570 Japan
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