The Best Wide Angle Lens For Nikon D3500 Cameras!

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The Tokina 12-24mm offers wide-angle zooming capabilities for photography enthusiasts looking for a highly advanced lens. It is the first lens designed by Tokina that is compatible with APS-C sensors of digital SLR cameras, like Canon and Nikon. With its consistent performance and maximum aperture, this lens is considered the best wide-angle lens for Nikon D3500. 

The Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX II Lens comes with upgraded features. It is compatible with the Nikon DX bayonet mount. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art ultrasonic micromotor that improves the efficiency of the autofocus mode. Tokina has incorporated an all-new single-touch focus clutch mechanism in this lens, unlike other lenses that come with a hard-moveable switch. 

With the proprietary advanced technology extra AT-X, Tokina has established its mark as a reliable optical brand. There is a surge in demand for the inter-operability of optical accessories, which include cameras, lenses, flashlights, and tripod stands. Tokina has incorporated new in-demand features such as internal focusing, super-low dispersion glass, and aspherical elements in this compact and super-sleek lens. 

Tokina is an optical brand established recently in 1981. Tokina’s mission is to refine optical gadgets by continuous addition of high-quality optical features. The Tokina 12-24mm is the most advanced DX lens of the AT-X PRO series, designed for digital SLRs with APS-C sensors as well as 35mm SLR film cameras. 

The following guide is a complete review of the functionality, performance, and user interface of the Tokina 12-24mm. This Tokina lens already has an exceptional reputation among many professionals in the field of photography. 

Performance And Functionality

  • Maximum format size – APS-C/DX
  • Focal length – 12-24mm
  • Diagonal angle of view – 
  • Maximum aperture – F4
  • Minimum aperture – F22
  • Lens Construction – 13 elements/11 groups, SD glass elements, 2 sharp-cut aspherical elements
  • Number of diaphragm blades – 9 
  • Minimum focus – 0.30m
  • Maximum magnification – 0.13x
  • AF motor type – Micromotor
  • Focus method – Internal
  • Optical Stabilization – None 
  • Filter thread – 77mm
  • Optical Accessory – Fitted case
  • Weight – 570 g 
  • Dimensions – 84 mm diameter x 89.5 mm length

AT-X Technology

Tokina introduced AT-X (advanced technology extra), which ensures premium quality lenses are manufactured with an advanced fabrication system. A good-quality lens can only be produced if the manufacturing equipment is up to date. Tokina ensures end-to-end quality starting from the lens design, fabrication, and the optical system support mechanism. 

The goal of AT-X technology is to manufacture a lightweight and compact lens with a stylish exterior. In addition, advanced optical features available in the lens capture super wide-angle photographs at both day and night times. 

AT-X technology makes the Tokina 12-24mm lens an all-rounder in terms of performance, handling, and ergonomics. 

Constant Aperture 

The Tokina 12-24mm is the best wide-angle zoom for Nikon D3500 as it guarantees the widest constant aperture of F4 throughout the focal range. This means that the lens’ autofocus performs exceptionally well, even in low light conditions. 

Super-Low Dispersion Glass Elements

The lens consists of 13 optical elements divided into 11 groups. The Tokina 12-24mm lens comes with super-low dispersion glass that minimizes chromatic aberration and light falloffs. The aspherical lens is cut to fit the lens barrel and decrease light reflection. 

One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism

This one-touch mechanism is only available in Tokina lenses. It saves you from the hassle of switching between AF and MF mode. 

Sometimes, it becomes confusing to use the focus mode button while framing an image through the viewfinder. Tokina has addressed this problem with a one-touch focus clutch mechanism incorporated with the focus rings. All you need is to snap the focus ring forward to operate the lens in AF mode and backward for MF operation. 

Micro Motor

The Tokina 12-24mm uses a micro motor that allows the focus rings to operate silently and smoothly. The micro motor is coupled with the latest GMR magnetic AF sensor to further increase the AF speed. The lens supports internal focusing, so you can capture time-sensitive images using the ultra-fast mechanism of the micromotor and GMR AF sensor. 

Macro Magnification

Magnification is the ratio of the image captured by the lens on the image sensor to the actual size of the focused object. This lens comes with a magnification of 0.13, implying that a focused object that is 13 cm in size will be captured as a 1cm image on the image sensor. 

There is an F-value on the lens that represents the brightness of the object located at infinity. The brightness of the subject decreases with an increase in magnification. 

Exposure magnification is the exposure correction that corresponds to the reduction in brightness known as an effective F-value. This lens automatically adjusts the exposure when the macro magnification is increased.  

Image Quality

The Tokina 12-24mm is known for its impressive image quality, thanks to its AT-X technology. All the four parameters of image quality (sharpness, color aberration, falloff, and distortion) are exceptional, which ensures better performance of this wide-angle lens. 

The images captured within the F5.6 – F8 range are sharp and consistent. However, sharpness decreases slightly at 24mm with an aperture between F4-F5.6. However, this is not a major or unknown problem with wide-angle lenses. The optimal way to use this lens with APS-C sensors is to use an aperture greater than F16 for sharp wide-angle photos. 

The Tokina 12-24mm shows minimal falloff, even near the maximum aperture. A slight falloff has been observed at 12mm F4 with 1.3 stops. This problem can easily be solved by switching the aperture to F5.6. This lens shows a slightly high image distortion at 12mm, which reduces gradually at longer focal lengths.  

Color aberration is quite negligible at all apertures and focal lengths. However, you can see a noticeable chromatic aberration at 12mm, only at sharp contrast. 

Bokeh Effect

The Tokina 12-24mm’s bokeh capabilities are impressive; you can easily blur backgrounds with this lens. All you need to do is set the focal length at 12mm and zoom to create a perfect bokeh effect. 

Field Of View

When the Tokina 12-24mm is used with Nikon cameras with a DX sensor, the lens’s 2x zoom range is comparable with an angle of view of 18-36mm. The two ranges add up to diversify the wide-angle range to capture photographs at a comparatively higher range. 

Macro Focus

This is a drawback of the Tokina 12-24mm, as you cannot capture good-quality close-ups with this lens. Its magnification ratio of 0.13x allows you to achieve a maximum focus distance of 30cm only. If you focus at this range, the sharpness significantly reduces, and there will be a noticeable softness at the edges. 

There are many excellent reviews of the Tokina 12-24mm lens online. These detail different experiences that people have had with this lens.

User Interface And Control System

The Tokina 12-24mm comes with a simple user interface, making it a suitable choice for anyone who wants to explore wide-angle photography. 

Here is a breakdown of the lens structure: 

  • Manual Focus ring
  • Focus distance scale
  • Focus distance index
  • Zoom ring
  • Focal length scale
  • Center index
  • Auto-focus (AF) position
  • Manual Focus (MF) position
  • Hood attachment index

Zoom And Focus Rings

The zoom rings are 14mm wide and can rotate up to 60-degrees in the clockwise direction. The zooming mechanism is internal. So, the zoom lens doesn’t move outside the lens body, keeping the lens length intact. 

The center of gravity shifts as the zoom rings move forward and backward, which may lead to unexpected misbalancing of the lens and the camera. The internal zoom feature of this lens is available only in Tokina products. 

The focus rings are 18mm wide and can rotate up to 90-degrees in the anti-clockwise direction ranging from infinity to 0.3m. The focus distance is marked both in feet and meters. The focus rings do not rotate while operating the camera in auto focus mode, so there are zero chances of blurry images caused by any external shake or jitter. 

Filter Thread

The Tokina 12-24mm comes with a filter thread of 77mm. The filter thread doesn’t rotate along with the focus rings. This is a great advantage for photographers who use filters while shooting images. 

Vignetting is also only noticeable if the lens is set to 12mm with an 8mm thick polarizer. Tokina advises its users to use a slim-mount to reduce this type of vignetting. It is also recommended to use one filter at a time to avoid darkening at the corners of the image. 

The front side of the lens is of a larger diameter as compared to the rear side, so it can be managed easily on bigger cameras like the Nikon D3500. You can easily use the in-built flash for a distance of up to 18mm. After that, the flash may cause dark corners and light shadows on the image.

Build Quality And Design

Tokina makes use of micron-unit quality control to assemble its lenses. The quality of the lens is consistent with both the external and internal parts. This means that all the measurements are done in micron units that guarantee precise mechanical fitting. The accurate measurement in microns results in the seamless operation of rotating rings and internal focusing. 

Exterior Body

The Tokina 12-24mm belongs to the PRO model series. The body of the lens barrel is made with high-quality plastic on a metal substructure. The exterior body of the lens barrel comes with an additional hardened Alumite (Armalite) finish. This extra coating not only enhances the outlook of the lens but also increases the durability. 

The metal parts are made with special alloy Duralumin that adds stability to the torque. The more stable the torque, the easier the handling of the lens, in extreme external conditions. 

Lubricant Coating

The external moving parts of the Tokina 12-24mm, including the focus and zoom rings, are coated with a minimal lubricant to improve the operation and durability of the optical components. The lens glass is thinly coated to reduce the light flare and ghosting effects, which results in sharp and clear photographs. 

Lens Hood

The lens comes with a standard petal-shaped BH-777 bayonet lens hood. Although the lens body is made with thick plastic, the interior is coated with black felt. The internal black coating absorbs the stray light to reduces the reflection. 

There is a white mark on the hood that should be aligned with the hood attachment dot on the lens. The lens hood is rotated in the clockwise direction to the click sound. You need to invert the position of the lens hood to protect the lens while traveling. 


The Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX II Lens is an optimal wide-angle lens. The lens has been designed by Tokina with advanced end-to-end technology to ensure sharp photographs with consistent colors. This lens has some fantastic features like slow-dispersion optical elements, internal focusing, and a one-touch focus clutch, which allow it to outperform other similar lenses available in the market. 

You can capture photographs, even in low lighting. This lens can maintain a constant aperture of f4 throughout its focal range. The Tokin 12-24mm lens has a refined look with sturdy build quality. The lens is sleek and equipped with standard optical components like SD glass-type and sharp-cut aspherical lenses. This lens comes at an affordable price, keeping in view the features it provides. 

The lens’s overall design is quite modern and durable with multi-coating of lens glass and enhanced thin lubrication of the moveable components. The lens features 9 aperture diaphragm blades that allow you to capture photographs of the subject placed at the closest distance of 0.30m. If you love to capture wide-angle photos with a diagonal view ranging from 61 to 99 degrees, Tokina 12-24mm is a good choice. 

This Tokina AT-X wide-angle lens has established an excellent reputation for capturing sharp photos. Tokina is known for introducing new features to make the operation of its lenses more seamless. The one-touch focus clutch mechanism, for example, saves a lot of hassle when switching between manual and autofocus modes.