Minolta AF 28mm F2.8 A-mount lens review by KirkB

reviewer#11919 date: Jul-25-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 18-70, Sony DT 18-55 SAM, Sony 55-200 SAM, Minolta 50mm f1.7 RS, Minolta 35-105 (original), Minolta 75-300 II, Minolta 100-200 f4.5, Tokina 70-210mm AF 210 II, Sigma UC II 70-210mm
price paid:$65
positive:Good colors.
Tank-like build.
At 5.6, consistent qualities across the frame.
negative:Soft corners wide open.
Silly non-hooding hood.
comment:I've a long history with this lens, since the optical formula is the same as the MD version on the SR mount with manual focus. I loved that lens, also, but not because I fooled myself into thinking that it's pro glass. It's not. The Minolta 28mm f2 was pro glass. Good luck finding one of those-MD OR AF. Meanwhile, as has been pointed out here, the 2.8 is not the sharpest sword in the armory, corners are soft wide open, and, for me, 5.6 is the sweet spot. The colors are somewhat muted compared to other early Minoltas which, according to Canikon folks, may be taken to mean that they are more accurate. Never mind. For all of its faults, or quirks, or whatever, I cannot bring myself to part with it. I've read others hinting at vague qualities, because there's just something about this lens. It simply has a certain "look" to it that balances all the different qualities you want a lens to have, whether or not you can afford glass that will excel in every area of the dark art of lens design. If you're in the business of shooting architecture, you're going to be spending more money in this range in order to reduce distortion to a minimum. Flare rejection seems problematic in the wide range anyway. But, for my money, great compromises were made in this optical design, weighing color, sharpness, distortion, flare rejection, speed, cost, and build. Again, it's not pro glass, but some of my favorite pictures have come from this lens, because of the balancing act of lens qualities performed by Minolta. I stole mine on ebay for 65 bucks. It was filthy. I cleaned it. It has the same look as my old MD. Once I can afford something of pro quality in the range, I might sell it. Then again, I might not. On APS-C cameras, it makes a great walk-around lens, since it translates to 42mm, which takes me back to rangefinder cameras when they often had 40mm lenses, like my old Hi-Matic E. Also, it's good indoors in a museum, where flash is prohibited, and you can keep ISO down.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 138
  • sharpness: 4.25
  • color: 4.64
  • build: 4.52
  • distortion: 4.28
  • flare control: 3.86
  • overall: 4.31
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