Based on my sheer love of my 50mm f/1.8, I started looking at a few other primes to acquire before the end of the year.  The nifty-fifty gives great mid-range reach, but I need something wider and something longer to make a useful prime kit.  Longer was easy to pick, but wide caused some issues.  Basically I was looking at the 28mm f/2.8, but it bothered me to drop the cash on it when I already had a great wide-angle lens, the 17-40mm L; have two separate wide angles a single stop different seemed just as silly.

But that extra stop of light is critical in many of the places I end up, so I sucked it up, sold the 17-40, and ordered a Tokina 16-50mm f/2.8 – which I figured would cover both regular and prime-type usages.

Oops…  FAIL

Out the window with the Tokina 16-50mm

The other Tokina lenses I’ve owned over the years have been very impressive tools; sharp, fast, and with incredible builds.  Unfortunately, the 16-50mm must be the ugly stepchild of the family, since it’s just blah.  Nothing really wrong with it – still a good build and sharp – just blah.  The AF is slowwww and I simply hate how it extends when zooming.  Nit-picky, perhaps, but it’s already back in the box and awaiting an RMA # so it can head back to B&H.

Now I’m stuck without a wide angle lens again for a while, trying to decide what to do to fix this situation.  f/2.8 is a given, which rules out another 17-40L; and the 16-36L is WAY out of the budget.  I’m thinking the 17-55mm IS, where the B&H refund + the good ol’ tax return will cover it.  But frankly I’m just annoyed right now.  I’m not used to being disappointed once I settle on buying a lens.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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  1. The 16-35 II might be way out of range but the 16-35 I can be had for under $1,000 on the used market. With the crop sensor, it’s become my primary lens and it a wonderful piece of glass.

    • Brent Pennington

      I hadn’t thought about the price difference between the Mk I & II versions – thanks for pointing that out. I’m still a little on the fence about the 17-55, although I do really like the fact that it has IS. I tend to have shaky hands, so it always helps. The Tokina is RMA’d and ready to ship tomorrow, so I’ll have a few days before the refund arrives to figure it all out.

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