Tokina’s AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 fish-eye zoom lens is the most fun I’ve had with a lens in a long while. It features an incredibly wide 180-degree field of view, and with its zoom, something unique for fish-eye lenses, it also acts effectively as a wide-angle lens (albeit with some barrel distortion).
The best way to visualize the "fish-eye" image you’ll get with the AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 is to imagine the view you get when looking through the peephole of a door or a convex rearview mirror. The subject in the center will appear closer and larger than the rest of the image, while the lines of the background will curve into each other.
For practical photography, this lens has little use. For experimental photography, the possibilities are tremendous. By using a tripod and angling the AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 straight up, you could take a picture of the whole sky, or a landscape that starts at your feet and ends all the way in the clouds above. (I accidentally included my feet in a few of my images, and had to learn to lean forward to get the shot I wanted.)
The corner-to-corner images are great. Though straight lines are curved, as they’re supposed to be with a fish-eye lens, there was no vignetting and no color or tonal loss along the corners of the image. The shots were sharp and clean, and the autofocus worked better than I expected it to, especially with a third-party lens purposely built for image distortion. The only problem I noticed was a slight purple bleed along the edges of backlit subjects.
The AT-X 107 DX AF also has a convenient autofocus-to-manual-focus switch ergonomically built in at the base of the lens, which was easy to find when I did feel the need to change to manual focus quickly. To reduce sun glare, there’s an internal hood, as a thread-on lens hood would block the angle of vision in a fish-eye lens, and the AT-X 107 DX AF feels very light at 12.3 ounces.
Tokina also has added a newly formulated WP coating for easier water spot and fingerprint mark removal. This came in handy for me, as I did some coastal shooting, and had to get pretty close to the spray of the surf in order to get a shot with more ocean and less beach.
Tokina developed the AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 for APS-C sensors, and currently it’s available in mounts for Canon EOS and Nikon digital SLRs. Estimated Street Price: $525.
Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
[ Specs Of Note ]
Lens Construction: 10 elements in 8 groups
Min. Focus Distance: 14cm
Angle Of View: 180 degrees to approximately 100 degrees
Mounts: Canon EOS, Nikon-D APS-C-sized sensors only
Aperture Range: Approx. ƒ/3.5 to ƒ/22
Weight: 12.3 ounces
1 180-degree angle of view with dramatic curvature