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Old Jun 22, 2008, 5:01 PM   #1
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It seems to me that the Pentax SMC DA 16-50mm f/2.8 lens has a lot in common with the Tokina AT-X 165 Pro DX AF 16-50mm f/2.8 lens. What a mouthful, right? The focal lengths, specs, styling and even prices seem pretty much the same. The same goes for the Pentax SMC DA 50-135mm f/2.8 lens and the Tokina AT-X 535 Pro DX AF 50-135mm f/2.8 lens. Now, it seems pretty obvious that there's a connection, since Pentax and Tokina both fall under the Hoya umbrella these days. But are these lenses identical? Any advantages to one over the other?
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Old Jun 22, 2008, 11:01 PM   #2
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They are the same design, though the Pentax lenses are supposed to have a different (SMC) coating than the Tokinas. From the pictures I have seen some of the exterior details vary as well. The 10-17mm and 12-24mm are also Pentax-Tokina twins.

If you are using a Pentax you don't have any choice. The Tokina lenses are only available in Nikon and Canon mounts and I would be very surprised if they were ever available as Pentax mount lenses.

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Old Jun 30, 2008, 11:37 AM   #3
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I think you will also find that the Pentax 10-17mm fish eye is not surprisingly a rebadged Tokina 10-17mm Fish Eye, the latter which is not available in the Pentax mount. The former is also about $100 less expensive...go figure! I own the Pentax fish eye and have nothing but good things to say about it.

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Old Jul 1, 2008, 4:09 PM   #4
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Hi Biro,

Pentas has collaborated with Tokina with a some of their common lens designs -- with a non-competitive agreement that Tokina would not sell the designs in K mount. The two main areas where they differ is in lens element coatings and the focusing mechanism where the Pentaxes have "Quick Shift" and the Tokinas don't. QS focusing allows immediate manual focus adjustments after AF lock while in Tokina's system, you have to pull the focus ring back a notch to disengage the AF gearing. Not a big deal for a lot of people, but for those who use it, it's a great feature.

Another difference that doesn't show up on the spec sheet is resale value. I could be wrong, but I have a firm belief that Pentax branded lenses, while usually a bit more costly new, hold a greater percentage of original value over the years.

One area where Pentax branded lenses will probably (at least for a while) differ from the 3rd party lens mfgs is in the dual AF drive -- allowing both SDM and screw drive in the same lens (at least on the high end lenses). So far -- Sigma looks to be going SDM (HSM) only in new lens offerings and Tamron and Tokina seem to be sticking with screw drive AF for the time being.

My current lens collection consists of about an even split between Pentax branded lenses and 3rd party lenses, and am pretty satisfied with what I have. . . for now at least.:-)

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