Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 Lens (X-Mount) Review

All photos of this review were captured by Christophe Anagnostopoulos.
July 19, 2022 -> Full Review was published.

***Reading Time: 47 minutes***


Back on February 2022 Tokina presented a new series of lenses available for both Fujifilm X and Sony E Mounts, the SZ line, and the first lens of the series was the Tokina SZ 8mm F2.8 Fisheye Lens (you can read my review of SZ 8mm lens here).

Just a couple of months later, Tokina announced one more lens for the SZ series, and in my opinion a way more interesting one.
In this review I will present you the new Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 Lens, an ultra-fast prime lens with a standard focal length (49.5mm equivalent on FX), designed for both the photography and video world.

Let’s take a closer look in the lens and check how it performed in various tests, both in lab and outdoors!

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Image Samples with Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X lens















Why 33mm?

The focal length of 33mm on a Fuji X camera is the equivalent of 50mm on a Full Frame sensor, which is probably one of the most used ones in the photography world (along with that of 35mm), no matter the type of photography genre.
From portraits to documentary, from landscape to
street photography, and even weddings and videos, this focal length is so versatile that it can be used in almost every scenario.
This is the reason that almost all photographers want to must have this lens in their camera bag.

Fuji X Mount

The Fuji X System is one of the most popular currently on the market, despite not being Full Frame, mainly because of the excellent image quality of Fuji cameras and most importantly for the analog, film-like feeling in terms of result in photos as also in overall user experience.

Fuji is one of the very few camera companies originating from the analog/film era that completely understood the needs of the digital/modern industry and fully adapted to that, while maintained at 100% its mentality and philosophy.

A Note About APS-C Cameras

Just only a couple of years ago, most (professional) photographers (myself included) thought that in order to achieve high production values in their work, they had to use Full Frame or even Medium Format cameras.
But as technology continues to advance and amaze us, it is easy to say that on 90% this is not the case anymore*.
APS-C mirrorless cameras have evolved and advanced so much lately, while keeping their size and weight on small levels (compared to FX systems).
These cameras are ideal for video as well, and with their excellent features can easily be the main workhorses for a professional photographer/videographer.
Especially Fujifilm cameras are truly amazing, as they offer strong versatility, excellent image quality, amazing colors and unique character.
(*To avoid being misunderstood, of course there are cases that simply require only the use FX of MF cameras in order to fulfill the needs of the shooting.)

Personally I use both FX and APS-C cameras for my professional work, depending of course on the needs of the shooting.
I always have two camera bags ready to deploy, each one of them containing a full system with its lenses and accessories.
But I realized that most times recently I tend to prefer my way smaller bag, which contains my Fujifilm cameras and Tokina atx-m and SZ lenses.

It is crazy to think that in a very, very small bag camera insert (check image below) I can carry one camera body with extra batteries, and three (3) lenses: 23mm F1.4, 33mm F1.2 and 56mm F1.4!
If I told that to myself just five (5) years ago, I would probably laugh!

Lowepro GearUp Creator Box L II (camera insert) Size: 20 x 12.5 x 26 cm

Depth of Field on APS-C Cameras

Sometimes we get confused when talking about depth of field and light gathering abilities on an APS-C camera (and lens) and I think it would be better to clarify some facts at this point.

The Full Frame (FX) equivalent Depth of Field of an F1.2 crop lens is close to F1.84.
In our case with the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X lens, the Depth of Field is similar to a 50mm (in FX) with an aperture of F1.8.
Please note that this basically only affects the “blurry” part of the image.
However, this will not affect the amount of light coming into the camera sensor, which will perform indeed as an F1.2 lens.

Data from Online DOF Calculator

Build Quality, Lens Handling & Design

The Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X lens has a sleek modern exterior design with some nostalgic touches of old-school lens (of the analog era) that fits perfectly on the Fujifilm camera styling, while at the same time fitting all the Tokina guidelines and standards.

The lens features a metallic housing with a subtle glossy black finish, and it is made in Japan with high quality standards.
It is not weather sealed but due to its robust and solid construction, it feels like it can withstand normal weather conditions like for example a light rain, as also some light accidental hits.



The robust metallic construction of the lens as also the very bright F1.2 aperture design has its toll on the weight of the lens which is 605g (without caps and lens hood attached) and its dimensions are 87.5mm x 71mm for Fuji X and 87.2mm x 71mm for Sony E.
Although the lens sits well on almost all Fuji X cameras, I have to note that it is big and rather heavy, especially if we compare it with the Tokina atx-m 33mm F1.4 lens which weighs 272g and has a size of 72mm x 62mm.

On my Fuji X-T3 camera (which has permanently an L-Bracket attached for better grip) feels slightly a little front-heavy, but it is not so tiring as I thought it would be.
I already used this lens on two recent weddings and after more than six continuous hours of shooting (ceremony and reception) I can say that it felt ok and not so tiring.


The mount is made of metal, and it doesn’t have any dust protective rubber ring.
There are no electronic contacts to provide communication with the camera body, so there is no Autofocus as also some other camera features like for example Electronic Aperture Change, EXIF Data and In-Camera Corrections.
However, In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) will work perfectly in case the selected camera model has this feature.

Please note that on Fujifilm cameras there is an option in the menu to manually set the focal length of the lens and record this data to the EXIF.
In order to set this option you have to go to: Shooting Menu-> Mount Adapter Setting like shown below.

Of course, by doing this you will only have recorded on the EXIF data the focal length of the lens, and not the aperture.
Personally I find this not acceptable, as it is very difficult to remember what aperture was used after a series of shots, like for example in a wedding.

Focus Ring

As mentioned before, there are no electronic contacts on the mount which means that the lens have to be manually focused.
The focus ring has a very good size, covering around 40% of the overall lens barrel, and it is located in the front part of the lens.

It has  a very good solid grip and it feels silky smooth when focusing, offering the proper level of resistance to the user.
The lens focusing ring has mechanical stops in the minimum and maximum focusing distance (0.5m-infinity) which means that it is ideal for certain types of photography like in example low light/astrophotography, and of course it is ideal for video shooting as well.

A very important note at this point is that the focusing ring turns close to 160°, and in addition with the featured depth of field and hyperfocal distance scale of the focusing ring, ensures the best possible focusing accuracy even wide open at F1.2.

Aperture Ring

The lens features a dedicated Aperture Ring as otherwise it would be impossible to select the aperture due to the lack of electronic contacts.
The aperture ring is located near the mount and it is smaller in size compared to the focusing ring, but it also has a good solid grip and it feels smooth when changing apertures.
In general I prefer the focusing ring to be stiffer than the focusing ring, in order to avoid selecting the wrong aperture.

The distances between apertures are uneven, and being more specific there is a good separation distance between F1.2 and F1.4, a very big distance between F1.4 and F2 and after F2.8 things become a little difficult to understand what aperture is selected.
Especially the distance between F11 and F16 is so small that on many occasions I’m not sure what I have selected.

Please also note that he aperture ring is click-less, something very important for video shooters who prefer a smooth operation while changing apertures.
However, especially for this lens as there is no way to check the selected aperture for example when seeing through the viewfinder, I would prefer: a) the distances between apertures to be more even, and b) the aperture to have clicks or even better a small mechanism to let the photographer select click or click-less aperture depending on the needs of the shooting.

Lens Hood

The lens includes a screw-on type MH-624 Lens Hood which is made of the same materials as the lens and it has a good size.
In general I like to use lens hoods as except protecting the front element from any possible scratches, they are carefully designed to assist in avoiding capturing unwanted artifacts like for example flaring marks.

As I mentioned before, this particular lens hood is screw-on (I’m not sure I like this attach design) and it is not possible to remove it with the lens cap on.
So first you must remove the lens cap, then remove the lens hood and so on.

Although it can be stored if attached on reverse to the lens, still I wouldn’t suggest to do it as by attaching it like this, it would hide almost 50% of the focusing ring, so you will lose the good grip of that.
My advice is to leave it attached as it does a good job on what I mentioned before about artifacts and protection, except if you want to use a filter like for example a CPL which then makes it difficult to turn it.



Lastly, on the front of the lens, there are no markings like for example mentioning the lens model.
The filter thread takes regular screw-on filters and it has a relatively small diameter size of 62mm for the wide F1.2 aperture.

*Testing Notes*

All indoor tests took place in my photography studio in a controlled lighting environment.
Dedicated lighting scenarios were created depending the needs of each test.
The Lab Chart Test is “ISO 12233”.

The camera used for this review was a Fuji X-T3 with Firmware version 4.12.

Other Tools used:

i) SpyderCheckr24 – for Color Accuracy
ii) Nitecore BlowerBaby – for cleaning the camera sensor before tests
iii) Slik VariCF-704 Tripod – for stable indoor and outdoor shots
iv) Atomos Ninja V – for capturing in-camera feed and menus

*Important Note*All tests and respective performance only applies to the X Mount version of the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 lens.
I haven’t used the lens on a Sony APS-C camera and thus, I cannot express an opinion if the results would be the same.


I’m a Global Ambassador of Tokina since 2017, however this is not a paid post, and I’m only expressing my personal thoughts and experiences using the new Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X lens.

Optical Design

The lens features an optical design of 9 elements in 7 groups.
Tokina’s exclusive Super Low Reflection Multi-Coating is present as well, providing very good contrast levels across the frame, minimizing flaring and ghosting issues, while providing water, oil and dust repellent abilities on the bulbous front element.
Lastly, the lens features a diaphragm of eleven (11) blades and the angle of view is 48° degrees. 

Technical Specifications

  1. Brand: Tokina
  2. Mount Type: Fuji X, Sony E
  3. Compatible Format(s): APS-C
  4. Focal Length: 33mm (equivalent in FX: 49.5mm)
  5. Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
  6. Minimum Aperture: f/16
  7. Angle of View (FX-format): 48°
  8. Elements: 9
  9. Groups: 7
  10. Diaphragm Blades: 11
  11. Coatings: Multi-Coated
  12. Filter Size: 62mm
  13. Image Stabilization : N/A
  14. Autofocus: N/A
  15. Focus Mode: Manual Focusing Only
  16. Macro ratio: 1:10
  17. Minimum Focus Distance: 0.5m
  18. Length: 87.5mm (X) – 87.2mm (E)
  19. Diameter: 71mm
  20. Weight (Approx.): 605 g
  21. Hood: Round Bayonet type MH-624 (included)


Manual Focusing

My tests starts with the most obvious question of all (including myself in the beginning), on how easy is to focus this lens manually, especially wide open.

And to be 100% honest, before getting my hands on the lens I was very skeptical on how easy or how difficult would be to achieve a proper focus, at F1.2 but the lens design (check notes on focusing ring) helps a lot to easily achieve proper focus both in daytime and at low light.

Of course, I have to mention that the Manual Focusing Assist tools of the Fujifilm camera are also great and provide great information even in low light.

I have set my camera to do the following:

– The rear dial when pushed inside is set to MF Zoom Assist, so I can check closer if the image is in focus.
– The Focus Peaking Highlight is set to Red and Low, to ensure the best possible focusing.

I don’t prefer to use the Digital Split Image or Digital Microprism, as it takes more time to ensure 100% focusing, but that is just a personal preference.
I guess anyone will use a different combination of tools to help him, but in the end the most important thing to note is that is easy to achieve the proper focusing even at F1.2.

Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 @ F1.2 – 1/200s – ISO 160

100% Crop

Minimum Focusing Distance

The minimum focusing distance of this lens is 0.5m, which is 10cm more than that of the atx-m 33mm F1.4 X lens.
Personally I would prefer to be 0.4m as that would create even more interesting shots at F1.2, for example a minimalistic shot of the wedding rings.

Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 Lens @ F1.4 – ISO 160 – 1/1250s
Focusing ring was set to 0.5m

Optical Performance

Sharpness (Lab Test)

Regarding sharpness performance, the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 lens is a little soft wide open at the center of the frame, and very soft towards the edges.
The same applies for F1.4 as well, as the improvement rather small.
However, at F2 the sharpness levels in both center and edges of the frame change drastically, becoming very good at the center and good at the edges and after F2.8 everything is very sharp in the whole frame.
Based on my tests, I found the lens sweet spot to be at F4.
After F8-F11 the whole frame softens and the sharpness levels are decreasing due to diffraction.

For the following sharpness test, camera was on a Slik Vari-CF 704 tripod, and shutter was pressed with a 2 second timer to minimize any possible micro-movement.

Please note that all the test files below have not been edited or sharpened, they were just exported in jpeg in the original resolution from Lightroom.
All raw files are available in case you want to check them for yourself.


100% Crop – Bottom Left Corner – F1.2

100% Crop – Center – F1.2

100% Crop – Top Right Corner – F1.2


100% Crop – Bottom Left Corner – F2

100% Crop – Center – F2

100% Crop – Top Right Corner – F2


100% Crop – Center
Image on the left is at F1.2 – Image on the right is at F2


100% Crop – Bottom Left Corner
Image on the left is at F1.2 – Image on the right is at F2


100% Crop – Top Right Corner
Image on the left is at F1.2 – Image on the right is at F2










Sharpness (Outdoors)

We already checked how the lens performed in the controlled environment of the lab, but as I have written many times in the past, no matter how good or bad the lab tests are, a lens only shows its real performance out in the field.
And it really performed well.
The soft sharpness levels at the center wide open, are not something that troubled me as I used that on my benefit, creating beautiful images that seemed like they were shot on film.
What I’m trying to say is that this lens has a unique character in the end result, which personally I find very beautiful.

F1.2 – 1/8000s – ISO 160




Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration, or fringing, are those purple and green color halos around areas of difficult (high) contrast transitions.
They usually appear around narrow dark regions that are over a bright background, like in example some tree branches over a sky background.

In the case of Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X lens, Chromatic Aberrations can be seen when wide open at F1.2, specifically in areas of intense contrast transition.
Still on most occasions it is easy to be removed on Lightroom/Photoshop.

F1.2 – 1/250s – ISO 1250

100% Crop


The eleven (11) blade diaphragm along with the very wide aperture of F1.2 can create some really nice transitions between the in and out of focus areas, and of course, create a delicate and beautiful bokeh.

Although the APS-C sensor in theory cannot create the same depth of field and end result comparing to a Full Frame sensor (check the corresponding section in the beginning of the article for more details), I found the bokeh performance of the SZ 33mm F1.2 lens wide open at F1.2 to be very good in the whole frame in terms of bokeh effect and rendition of the focused areas.





Despite Tokina’s Exclusive Multi Coating technologies, unfortunately the flaring performance of the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 wide open is not good, as depending on light angle and strength, Flaring will be very strong.
Let me show you two different examples to understand better what I mean.


Example 1
In the following example the light was a dancing strobe from a wedding reception party, and as you can guess, it changes its position all the time based on music beat and also it is very, very strong.

Camera was facing directly the light, and my settings were:

F1.2 – 1/100s – ISO 3200

There was no filter in front of the lens.


Example 2
In this second example the light comes from the sun and as you can guess, it is intense although it is close to sunset. Camera was obviously facing directly the sun and the flaring wasn’t so strong this time.
My camera settings were:

F4 – 1/1000s – ISO 160

Again, there was no filter in front of the lens.

Color Rendering

As mentioned before, due to Tokina’s exclusive Super Low Reflection Multi-Coating, the Color Rendering performance of the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 X Lens is in very good levels,  producing natural colors.

Please note that depending on the FujiFilm Simulation style that you may have selected, colors are bound to be produced different in your Jpeg files (Raw files are not affected).


The Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2 lens produces a slight amount of light fall-off towards the edges of the frame, only when shooting wide open at F/1.2, and it can be easily fixed in post.



Based on the results of my tests with the Tokina SZ 33mm F1.2, the barrel distortion of this lens is minimal, which makes a great performance on this aspect.

Comatic Aberration (Coma)

Coma is an optical aberration that afflicts off-axis light and it is caused by the curvature of the principal planes of the optical system.
Coma becomes apparent when the light rays from the source enter the lens at an indirect angle causing the image to be off axis.
The result is a comatic spot in shape, having a bright central core with a triangular flare extending toward the optical axis of the lens.

I had very high hopes for this lens due to its bright F1.2 aperture but:

  • the coma levels are very intense near the edges of the frame as shown below.
  • when wide open, the center of the image is soft
  • at F1.2 there is a strong magenta halo around the stars

On the other hand, due to field of view this lens was not supposed to be used as the main workhorse for astrophotographers to shoot for example nightscapes of the Milky Way.

Full Image @ F1.2

100% Crop



Personal Thoughts

About SZ 33mm F1.2 X Lens

As you have read so far in my review, this lens has its positives as also its negatives.
Yes, it is not flawless, actually it is way off from it, but I still enjoyed shooting with it.

I particularly liked its unique character, its versatility and how easy was in the end to (quickly) acquire focus wide open, even in low light.
Speaking about low light, I also found handy that extra 1/2 stop in terms of light, especially while shooting videos at night.

On the other hand, I once more found annoying that there were no electronic contacts in the lens, I didn’t liked its coma performance and on some occasions the flaring performance.
Still, we have to keep in mind how affordable these days is to buy an F1.2 lens, even with some limitations (MF, etc).

About Tokina

Tokina continues to produce high quality lenses with very good to great optical performance, in affordable prices.
Both the atx-m and SZ lines of lenses offer many options, covering various focal lengths and types to assist in any possible need of a photographer.

SZ line might seem less professional to some, as so far all the lenses of this line are Manual Focusing only, but this is not the case and there is no better example than the SZ 33mm F1.2 lens.
Yes, it is manual focus, but I honestly believe that it is something that shouldn’t trouble or worry you.
With the design of the focus ring and the very helpful MF Assist Tools of Fujifilm cameras, the focusing wide open learning curve is so small that in a couple of days it will become your second nature to achieve proper focus even wide open.

I honestly hope that Tokina will continue to produce, improve (in some aspects) and offer new lenses for both atx-m and SZ series, and why not produce unique focal lengths that are not available in the market.
After all Tokina has produced some exceptional lenses through the years.

What I Expect

Personally I would love to see: a 19mm F1.2 (or F1.4), a 13mm F1.4 and a 90mm F1.4 for X mount.
Oops, I forgot the legendary 11-16mm (and 11-20mm) F2.8 ultra wide-angle zoom lens that I sincerely hope to see them reincarnated to X-Mount (with AF of course).
But also expanding these series to other mounts as well. Fast primes and ultra-wide angle lenses for Z, RF and FE mounts.
Oh, and maybe the return of the epic Tokina 90mm F2.5 Macro (a.k.a Bokina) in the digital age.

F1.2 – 1/8000s – ISO 160


“A versatile lens that can be used in every situation, with very good low light capabilities, great build quality that comes in an affordable price. This lens comes with a unique character, its sharp and soft at the same time wide open, delivering some interesting images. Ideal for wedding videographers.”


Build Quality:9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Handling:8.8 out of 10 stars (8.8 / 10)
Size and Weight:6.4 out of 10 stars (6.4 / 10)
Optical Performance:7.9 out of 10 stars (7.9 / 10)
Sharpness (@F1.2):7 out of 10 stars (7.0 / 10)
Sharpness (in general):8.2 out of 10 stars (8.2 / 10)
Features:6.5 out of 10 stars (6.5 / 10)
Price Tag:7.9 out of 10 stars (7.9 / 10)
Versatility:8.6 out of 10 stars (8.6 / 10)
Character:8.7 out of 10 stars (8.7 / 10)
Average:7.9 out of 10 stars (7.9 / 10)

Did You Know?

Tokina became the first major Japanese third party manufacturer that released lenses for the very popular Fujifilm X Mount on November 2020!

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