When I started in real estate photography, I had already tried several wide angles in APS-C format which was the type of sensor I started with in 2011. I had tried lenses for Canon DSLR mount mainly and I was never satisfied, then I switched to the Nikon camera system, and here I had the opportunity to try the fabulous Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, one of the most expensive lenses I have ever used, and I loved it. Since that point began my search for similar lenses. Then, in 2016, I met the Dominican store SoyNikon.do, at this moment my main supplier for photographic equipment.
That same year, thanks to my new supplier, I found the perfect lens to do my job, the lens that had the best sharpness, less distortion, a very fast and reliable autofocus, and above all the most affordable price. I'm talking about the Tokina AT-X 116 f/2.8 PRO DX lens.
By the way, Tokina AT-X 116 f/2.8 PRO DX was upgraded to Tokina atx-i 11-16mm F2.8 CF on October 2019. For more details please refer here: https://tokinalens.com/product/atx_i_11_16mm_f2_8_cf/#news
I can save a lot of time on the post-process because this lens has almost no distortion, also ideal for shooting video with my Nikon Z6. It is elemental or essential to keep vertical and horizontal lines straight when shooting real estate/architectural photography and video.
SHARPNESS AND IMAGE QUALITY
When I shoot alone, I take my monopod and my DSLR, knowing that every image will come with crispy sharpness and all the colors the way it is supposed to be. I like to preserve colors because somebody spend a lot of money paying other people to do home decor.
Because of it's sharpness and image quality, plus my cameras capabilities, I am always confident on every job assignment I get. Also I have to mention about the focus, I am entirely confident on just pressing my af-on button on my D800 or Z6, and I know the image will come completely in focus, even at f/2.8.
Actually, on the Nikon Z6 is even more accurate. The mirrorless autofocus system is extremely accurate on the Z6, and when you combine the Tokina AT-X 116 f/2.8 PRO DX II with the Nikon Z6, you know you will nail it at the very first try.
But don't get me wrong, my Nikon D800 plus this Tokina lens is my favorite combination because I won't lose Megapixels as I can use it as a FX lens, a feature that is not possible with my Z6.
Finally, I was able to capture a bathroom in a single capture.
As it is a super wide angle, it is pretty easy to shoot even at smaller spaces than a standard 24-70mm on Full Frame or 17-50mm on APS-C. I have to say that most of the time I use Full Frame DSLRs, and this lens can be used zoomed all the way in to 16mm and you will get a fantastic image, and it the image will come with all the details possbile.
One of the things I like the most about the Tokina 11-16mm lens is that it is designed for every field of my job. The depth of field that this lens can achieve allows me to be able to work in any light conditions at the fastest apertures. Also this lens performs outstanding on Full Frame DSLRs, my main camera was for a long time the Nikon D800.
Ok, I want to talk a little bit about video...
I know this lens was not made for video, it doesn't have any vibration reduction on it, and its autofocus hardware was designed only for photography. However, when it comes to video, I needed also a reliable super wide-angle lens to achieve some work projects. As the Nikon Z6 was released, I needed to try its 5-axis stabilization system with this lens, and ta-daaa, I was amazed...
I didn't hesitate and tried this lens for video, however, the first attempt was not pleasant at all, the system was having issues to stay in focus all the time, the focus motors were driving me crazy, and most of this was because I was trying to use the fastest aperture of the lens.
After a while, I decided to increase my aperture up to f/8 and the focus motors finally started working smoothly, but unfortunately I needed another way because sometimes I need to shoot video even on the night time and for that I needed the fastest aperture the lens could let me get. That's when I figured out to use the lens on manual focus, and for my surprise, the deep depth of field that this lens allows me to get even at f/2.8 is incredible.
Other things I like about this lens...
Different from Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Tokina AT-X 116 f/2.8 PRO DX II has a flat frontal element that allows me to use ND and Circular Polarizer 77mm filters. This is necessary for shooting video on daytime when I need to use the 180º rule. This is helpful to get smoother objects and subjects movement on the video.
For example, if I am shooting 4k at 30fps, my shutter speed has to be 1/60s, if I am shooting at 60fps then my shutter speed has to be 1/125s (there's not 1/120s on mirrorless and DSLR cameras). This means that on daytime the sensor will capture more of the light needed even at ISO 100, for this reason, you need to get ND filters.
Also, not using ND filters will be a problem if I am shooting N-Log with my Z6, because n-log's base ISO is 800. And probably you're thinking "why don't you just slowdown the aperture to f16 or f22 to keep using the 180º rule", and to this I say that sometimes I don't want to because the sensor is a little bit dirty and a slow aperture will show that in the footage, or the lens diffraction will compromise the quality, or sometimes is not even enough to use such a slow aperture like f11 or slower.
So, having the ability to use ND and Circular Polarizer Filters in front of the lens is awesome, and it can also work for other lenses that you may have in your bag like a 70-200mm f2/.8 or a 24-70 f/2.8.
With this, I also have to say, that currently there are some clip-in filters that goes right in the front of the sensor of the camera instead of in front of the lens. In my opinion, these clip-in filters takes more time to setup than a traditional filter... I don't want to use a ND Filter all the time, so for me, in this particular job of Real Estate Video and Photography, it is better to use traditional circular filters.
My honest opinion...
This lens has a gorgeous design, it is not a heavy lens but it is not light either. In my opinion is the perfect balance in every matter, and I also mean design and costs, and its main attraction for me is its sharpness. I recommend this lens 100% for landscape, concerts and architectural photography.
Oh, yes, one last thing...
For this wedding in 2016, I didn't have any Full Frame camera, the only thing I had were two Nikon D7000 bodies, and a short selection of lenses, including the first version of my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8.
Space on this venue was compromised because of the quantity of guests so we had to make it work somehow. I told my second camera photographer to use the Tokina lens, so we can get some shots of the entire set, so this is what he got. I have to say that these are low resolution images and viewer won't be able to appreciate the quality because of it, but trust me, this was pleasant. Most of the time I don't go that wide in weddings, and probably I don't need this now with my Z6 and D800 using a 24-70mm, but if needed I wouldn't say no to use my super wide-angle zoom lens Tokina AT-X 116 f/2.8 PRO DX II.