Minolta AF 35-80mm F4-5.6 II A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 26   
reviewer#44134 date: Sep-9-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D
price paid:
missing
positive:Nice Minolta colours, zoom ring has a nice action, works surprisingly well on my SLT-A57 and SLT-A99.
negative:Plastic lens hood cracked, is quite plasticky and fragile. A bit flare prone compared to more modern lenses. Fairly dim aperture range of f/4 to f/5.6.
comment:A cheap n cheerful little zoom lens that I got new as a kit lens with my Minolta 404si SLR in 1999 - has taken many memorable (if not technically good) photos on my SLR, and more recently I've used it a couple of times on my modern SLT bodies. Not the fastest lens around, but in good light it gets the job done. :)
reviewer#23463 date: Jan-1-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 16-105
Sony DT 18-55 SAM I/II
Sony DT 18-70
Minolta AF 24-85
Minolta AF 28-80 D
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Minolta AF 28-105
Minolta AF 28-135
Minolta AF 35-70 F4
Minolta AF 35-105 Original
price paid:11 USD (used)
positive:Very small and light
Mostly parfocal
Sharp wide-open
Minimal CA
Smooth zoom mechanism
Close focusing
Deeper hood than 28-xx/18-xx kit zooms
negative:Slow aperture
Moderate purple fringing wide-open, worst on wide end
Minor focus shift with zoom
Moderate focus breathing
Rotating filter threads
Narrow, hard plastic focus ring
Some barrel distortion at 35 mm
comment:A couple of nice looking silver copies purchased on eBay. On the first the ribbon cable to the focal encoder had come partially unglued maybe from the cold and got stuck in the zoom mechanism which then cut through the cable severing 4 of the wires. Auto focus doesn't work without focal length information. I was impressed enough with it that I purchased a second fully-working copy for the same price. "MALAYSIA"

F4.5 40 mm
F5 40 to 55 mm

This lens works similarly to the more recent kit lenses. Like the later 28-80 and 28-100 D lenses it is shortest at the 50 mm setting. It is smaller than those lenses, but slightly longer than the older 35-70 lens. It seem to be the lightest A-mount zoom--about the same weight as the DT 30 Macro. The zoom mechanism is very smooth and nicely dampened. It is much smoother and quiter than the other kit lenses even slightly better than the 18-55 SAM II. The rubber grip is a bit wider than the one on the 18-55 and much better than the narrow hard one on the 35-70 f/4. The hard plastic focus grip on the end of the barrel is horrible and basically useless with a hood attached.

The first copy is sharper than the more expensive normal zooms. It also doesn't have the warm color cast of the original 35-70 and 35-105 zooms. The second copy of the 35-80 II is much softer on long end. The third copy is in between. All show a good deal of purple fringing wide open at the short end of the zoom range.

The hood bayonet is identical to the 70-210 f/4.5-5.6. The larger hood from that lens should work well for this lens on APS-C bodies. The original hood is slightly larger than the clip-on hood on the 35-70 f/4.

Overall pretty good performance out of such a tiny, light zoom lens. The focal range is good for portraiture on APS-C. The extra 10 mm at the long end is probably not worth the stop loss compared to 35-70 f/4. The much closer focusing is an advantage over the other lenses. The heavy purple fringing in shadows near high contrast wide open at 35 mm is a drawback, but it mostly goes away by f/5.6.

Test chart comparison on an A65 with the 35-70 F4 and others.
reviewer#16318 date: Jul-16-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-55
Minolta 24-105
price paid:15 EUR (like new)
positive:weight
image quality
negative:focal range on APS-C
comment:I had this lens for few months. It has good image quality and is very lightweight. It isn't bad lens, bud don't have good focal length for me on APS-C.
reviewer#13225 date: Apr-10-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.8
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony AF DT 50mm F1.8 SAM
Sony AF DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II
price paid:20euro used(mint)
positive:-very cheap nowadays
-unbelievably light
-sharp when stopped down
-minolta colors of course
-even it has old AF system, it´s fast focusing lens
negative:-focus ring is a bit wobbly
-noisy
comment:I bought this lens only because I have manual macro extension tubes, and I didnt want to control my aperture on new sony lenses by jamming the lever. So I wanted something with OK performance and something old that wont suffer manual aperture "jamming" lever control. So I bought it only bcos I found it cheap as dirt 2nd hand and in mint quality.
But for the lens: This lens is really sharp, however not as sharp as my sony lenses. Colors are nice and vibrant and bokeh is nice as well. Build quality may be worse because of the age now so my front focusing ring wobbles a bit, but aside of it I can say the body is sturdy. Also its a great performance for the money. And my macro shots made by this lens with extension tubes are as good as with proper macro lens. And regarding the range 35-80mm for APS-C I actually like it. I always carry this lens in my bag even if I´m primarily using it with macro tubes. I can only recomend this lens.
reviewer#11552 date: Dec-22-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- Minolta 35-70mm f3.5-4.5
- Sony 35mm f1.8
- Sony 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 (original)
- Everything else I own
price paid:24 USD (used)
positive:- Minolta colors
- Sharp
- Dirt cheap
- Light
- Compact enough for your pocket
negative:- Veil flare
comment:I bought this off of eBay on a whim. As you can see, I already have 3 other lenses in this range. This and the Minolta 35-70mm I bought around the same time because they're so cheap I couldn't resist the opportunity to see what the talk about Minolta colors is all about.

Color-wise, this lens delivers the wonderful classic Minolta colors but not quite as well as the 35-70mm. It's why my preference leans more towards the 35-70mm because I like its IQ a tad better. Pixel peeping isn't something I do a lot of but the little I've done gives the sharpness edge to the 35-80mm but in the real world enlargements I look at there are absolutely no complaints on sharpness either way. The other kit lens in the mix, the Sony 18-55mm, is the sharpest of the bunch pixel peeping but its colors lack the punch of the Minoltas. That said, the Sony colors are probably closer to nature if a tad cool. If sharpness is your thing and you only care about the wide end of the zoom range you can't beat the Sony 35mm prime on a APS-C like my a65 but, again, you get the Sony colors.

When this lens works the IQ is terrific. However, its Achilles heel is veil flare. You really want the sun to your back shooting with it. Sure, that's true of any lens to a degree but more so with the 35-80mm. I'm not seeing circles of lens flair which actually can be used occasionally for a positive effect but noticeably washed-out images. The hood for this lens isn't very deep so don't expect much help.

While this lens probably started its life as a kit walk-around lens, I wouldn't recommend it for that purpose unless you're on an impossibly tight budget. That's not to say it doesn't have its use. It's so small, light, and cheap there's no worries tossing it into a jacket pocket - freedom from dragging along that bag. The warm lens colors in conjunction with evening light can produce amazing IQ.

I posted some images in the samples forums. Bokeh isn't something you'd really think about in this zoom range but there's a decent sample.

While I've done scant little macro photography with this lens and the 35-70mm, my initial impressions of the 35-70mm weren't much. The 35-80mm was fine.

If you like toying with lenses I can't see you passing on a chance owning a 35-80mm. If you're only interested in best-of-breed covering ranges, pass on it.
reviewer#11073 date: Apr-26-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:35 USD (Used)
positive:-Sharp around f6 upwards
-Cheap
-Great Minolta Colours
-Very light and won't weigh you down
negative:-cheap feel and build (all plastic)
-included lens hood is small and not effective
-poor low light performance
comment:I was about to give this lens away but decided to bring it to a recent trip. Suprised how sharp it could be (Sharp at f6, better at f8) and the colours are excellent minolta colours. The cheap design and plastic feel of the lens turned me off when I first got it but after using it, I'd rate it as a keeper. For the price of this lens, no complains about the IQ and all. Only con I see is the poor low light performance.
reviewer#11014 date: Apr-6-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:35 euro
positive:piccolo e leggero, molto economico
negative:materiali in plastica
comment:il migliore della generazione di plastica!piccolo, leggero, ottimo colore, buona nitidezza! a mio avviso non ha nulla da invidiare al 35-70 f4
reviewer#10358 date: Jul-5-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:35-70 f3.5-4.5
35-70 f4
price paid:9 GBP
positive:Sharp
Minolta colour
Inexpensive
Light
49mm filters
negative:Build - plastic mount
Ineffective hood.
comment:Sharp wide open. Razor sharp above f6.3.

In terms of value for money, difficult to beat.
reviewer#10122 date: Apr-16-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL1855
price paid:30EUR (never used)
positive:sharpness
colors
light weight
range outside
negative:range for interiors
comment:Its very sharp. I really like it for a walks. Its very lightweight so it can be carried everywhere.
reviewer#10107 date: Apr-11-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-80 f3.5-5.6
price paid:
missing
positive:- Much more than expected sharpness
- Works very well with flash
- light
negative:- heavy vignette with full frame
comment:Great value for money! Perhaps the best in the Minolta's plastic lines.

The lens is very light and takes a small filter size. At first I thought I couldn't hope much after getting disappointed with the plastic Minolta 28-80. I was wrong. The lens is very sharp for its price and gets laser sharp stopped down. Of course I do not use this lens a lot but I find it works great indoor with flash. It might not be as sharp wide open as the metal bear can 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 but it can focus very close and that makes working in limited space indoor much better, not to mention it's so light which greatly reduces hand fatigue.

See my photos taken with this Minolta 35-80mm f4-5.6 on my Flickr collection at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeispixels/collections/72157628204412995/
reviewer#9873 date: Feb-1-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:18-55mm SAM
18-70mm Sony
28-135mm Minolta
35-70 Minolta
50mm f1.7 Minolta
price paid:15 GBP
positive:Small and very light.
Good IQ, especially stopped down.
Cheap.
negative:Range far from ideal for APS-C.
F4 maximum aperture.
comment:I've had two of these lenses and both have been unexpectedly good. It feels so ridiculously light that you think its going to be rubbish, but its actually pretty good, noticeably better than the 35-70mm f3.5-4.5.

Some reviews seem to reckon that because it is so light it must be badly built. All I can say is that the two examples I've owned both worked flawlessly and utterly reliably and for a lens that is approaching 15 years old, that warrants 5 stars for build in my book.

It definitely benefits from being stopped down a bit and its never going to be as sharp as my 50mm f1.7, but then very few 'budget' zooms can achieve the sharpness levels of a good prime. At f8 its really not far short of my Minolta 28-135 f4-4.5, which has a stellar reputation for IQ.

I really like this lens but don't tend to use it as much as I might as its range is rather limited for APS-C.
reviewer#9551 date: Oct-30-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Over 130 lenses; especially Sony 18-70mm kit lens and "baby beercan"
price paid:10 USD
positive:Tiny, light, really good IQ even on FF, cheap!
negative:Plastic build, zoom range not very useful on APS-C, slow aperture, slight rear-focus on my A350
comment:This lens is tiny and well made, it's just that the plastic -- and silver plastic -- makes it look cheap. Actually, it is a very endearing little lens overall. You expect nothing from it, and then it delivers really good IQ even close up. It's less ambitious but markedly better than the 18-70mm.

My copy has a slight rear-focus problem on my A350 (which has no trouble with any other lens I own). Because the problem only shows at close focus, manual focus is a perfectly viable work-around. While I'm complaining, the bokeh are... well... what bokeh? It's f/5.6 wide open in much of its focal range.

Don't go out of your way to get this lens for an APS-C body (mine came with other stuff I wanted), but you will use it if you have it. Very good for when IQ matters and you don't want to risk a more expensive lens.

A little update: This works very well on my A7 with LA-EA4. The fake-silver trim looks especially stupid mounted on the A7, but IQ is quite good -- actually better than the baby beercan. Who knew?
reviewer#9308 date: Aug-6-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 35-70 F3.5-4.5
price paid:15 GBP
positive:Very sharp, even at max aperture
Colours
Weight
Nice bokeh
Cost
negative:Build
No hood
comment:In terms of value for money you would find it difficult to better this lens.

Even wide open it is sharp.

Range not very useful on APS-C but a good take anywhere lens.

This lens is VERY SHARP. At 80mm f 5.6 I had to check that it wasn;t my macro lens (50 f2.8) on the camera. Only let down by the build quality. Slight PF has gone by the time lens stopped down to F7.1. Not as bad as the 35-70 f3.5-4.5 in this respect.
reviewer#8981 date: May-1-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Kit lenses (18-55 and 75-300)
Beercan 70-210
Minolta 50 f1.7
price paid:$20 US - Used
positive:light weight
good color
cheap
negative:flare control not great
bokeh can be distracting
comment:I quite like this lens for the money it is hard to knock. Image quality is as good as the 18-55 if not a little better. I must admit that I use the kit lens or Beercan more often. Range is not that useful on APS-C if you have a kit.
reviewer#8389 date: Dec-10-2010
sharpness: 2.5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-100
18-70
35-105
35-70
price paid:
missing
positive:Light
negative:Soft
Poor built
comment:
missing
reviewer#7908 date: Aug-30-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:a lot of glass I've owned and tried in 30 years with Minolta and other brands, please note that my rating is connected to price and comparability
price paid:22 Euro (new)
positive:image quality
negative:range on APS-C
it's a 4-5.6
comment:The range is not quite useful on APS-C and even on film I use&prefer faster and/or more versatile lenses. It was curiosity that drove me to bid on this one. There it was and I really liked what it told me. A balanced combination of good sharpness, color and contrast delivered photos I could enjoy without worrying too much about the technical gear to take them. It's not a sleeping killer and there are better out there. But it's not a toy too, even if the look and the specs could tell you. Maybe I got one of the better copies and I'm afraid it will never be honoured by me again. It deserves more than that, because it's true Minolta glass. If you are on a really tight budget, especially with a new or old love for film, try it. Try it with the comparable small Dynax/Maxxum 5, e.g.
But it was nice on a D7D too, I don't know if it can match an A900s resolution.
So what did it tell me: Go on and enjoy photography.
reviewer#6757 date: Jan-15-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 35-70 f3.5-4.5
price paid:L10 GBP
positive:Sharpness
Colour
Price
negative:Build - but look at the weight
comment:Probably the best value for money lens you can buy.

reviewer#6745 date: Jan-15-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 1
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:I think I've owned ALL (then perhaps sold some) of the Minolta Consumer lenses by now!
price paid:$18 Incl Shipping!
positive:Sharp
negative:Feels cheap - hey it *IS*
comment:This lens was the last lens I bought out of perhaps 40 Minolta lenses that I went through as I built my collection last spring and summer (2009)

And what a fun build is WAS! As many of you now know; Minolta consumer lenses are WAY undervalued and if you’re like me – you never really lose any money buying them. I sold 90% of the ones I bought for more money….

To save time; I agree with Ome_Joop below and:

I got this one for $9 plus $8 shipping…so you can see that I had nowhere to go but up when I tested. I got GREAT results shooting on a tripod at f5.6 and 250 shutter on a new Alpha 350, IS off. In fact they were on par with a 50mm 1.7 PRIME that I happened to be testing at the same time….

I wouldn’t get rid of a lens for this one but if I ever go bumping around (rafting, skiing) and need a good camera and lens I’ll throw this on one of my Maxxum film cameras and not regret for any loss of IQ!

-Shootist
reviewer#6002 date: Sep-7-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 1
flare control: 1
overall: 3.4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:None-this is my first SLR lens
price paid:$1 (came with camera
positive:Ability to zoom manually
negative:Wished it was power operated
comment:Minolta AF 35-80 F4-5.6 II is a nice basic zoom lens-the build quality is fine (quite light) and i like the fact that zoom control is manually operated.

With a 35-80mm zoom range, it's not the longest out there but for new users it is a good lens to start off with.

Overall this lens, although a bit basic is a nice one to have in your Minolta lens collection-it's well worth tracking one down from eBay perhaps.
reviewer#4655 date: Jan-8-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-135 F4-4.5
Minolta 35-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta 35-70 F4
Sony 18-70mm kitlens
price paid:100 Euro
positive:Cheap
Lightweight
Sharp
negative:
missing
comment:It weighs absolutly nothing and you begin to wonder if there is even glass in it until you see your first shots!
My first camera came with a sigma 35-80 so when i got this one cheap (bought a 404si, this 35-80 and a sigma 75-300 for 100 Euro or so and sold the 75-300 for 75!) i was very amazed about the lightness but even more so about the pictures it made!
Plastic-fantastic!
reviewer#4306 date: Nov-1-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:18-70mm DT
35-70mm f3.5
sigma 28-70 f2.8 UC
28-80mm f3.5
price paid:Ł9 GBP (used)
positive:Sharp, light and cheap
negative:None
comment:At the end of the day, for the great majority of readers, photography is about enjoying a hobby, whether you serve burgers or run a major conglomerate.
If your camera feeds the family, you'll need to read elsewhere. But, if all you can afford is one cheap lens and your hobby gives pleasure, ignore the ‘knockers’ of cheap lenses and, IMHO, try to find this Minolta 35-80mm F4.

I have just taken delivery of a Sony 10Mp digital and decided to do a very simple lens comparison test with my collection of cheap lenses, all of which I am happy with. Any way, here is my test method and the results for what they are worth.

Camera was tripod mounted and centred on a simple chart consisting of the bottom four lines of a regular eye test chart, scanned onto a sheet of A4 paper and pinned to my shed. Distance 25-30 feet. Nothing too scientific!
Sun was bright, camera in shade. All apertures f8 and focal length 50mm, all other camera functions set to Auto, Image Stab ON. JPG images were opened in Photoshop, unprocessed, and the A4 chart part of the images were cropped to 6” x 4” at 240 dpi and compared.

1. Minolta 35-80mm II – came out well ahead of the field in sharpness and colour. This lens was bought on a well know auction site, together with a Dynax 4 for Ł9.42! A roll of film put through the Dynax 4 confirmed that this is a very good lens, irrespective of cost. Camera was great too!
2. Sony 18-70mm DT – came close behind. This is the kit lens that came with the camera.
3. Two Minolta 35-70mm f3.5 lenses… both similar in sharpness, slightly behind 18-70mm DT. However one showed a fair amount of CA between paper edge and dark green summerhouse. Over the years I have had five of this model lens and they have all produced consistently acceptable results.
4. Sigma 28-70 f2.8 UC – Quite sharp still, although the imaged appeared to be about 1 stop over-exposed.
5. Minolta 28-80mm f3.5 – came well behind the rest but OK as a starter if nothing else is available.

I appreciate that sharpness isn't the only criteria but for sharpness, my scores in order would be: 4.6, 4.5, 4.2 & 4.2, 3.9 and 2.8. I hope you find this helpful.

reviewer#3824 date: Jul-9-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 35-105
Sigma 28-70 f2.8-4 UC
price paid:10.50 GBP
positive:Cheap
Lightweight
Sharp
negative:
missing
comment:Good lens for the price but not as good as the other two.

Useful to keep in kit bag as a spare lens.

EDIT - Just picked up a second copy of this lens. Much sharper than the first and better colour. Revised ratings (or should I have posted another review?)
reviewer#3483 date: Apr-19-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 28-100 F3.5-5.6 D
Minolta - AF 28-105 xi F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-105 F3.5-4.5 RS
Sony AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
price paid:15 EUR (like a new)
positive:Light weight
Small
Sharp
negative:Cheap feel
Plastic mount
comment:I do not like to feel the plastic but the important is the quality of the photos. This lens is a surprise.

http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/935/dsc01649ch3.jpg
reviewer#3252 date: Feb-11-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 35-70
Minolta 28-85
price paid:10 Euro
positive:Weight/size
Build (very light, so it won't break easy if it falls)
Price
negative:
missing
comment:This must be the surprise of the year. Got this 'toy' a year ago with a package deal. Never paid any attention to it because it was so light and plastic (even the mount). Gave it to my kids with an old 500si to play with. It's been thrown around banged in to walls and dropped numerous times.
Was doing some product shots and forgot that I'd sold my 50/1.4 and the lens I usually use was being photographed. So I grabbed the 35-80 for a laugh and to my disbelief it was sharp as sharp can be. Together with the light A200 this must be apart from the reach an ideal light weight walk around lens.


reviewer#2702 date: Sep-7-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-70 kit lens
Sigma 105 Macro
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp
Light
Cheap
negative:Feels cheap
comment:I bought this on ebay as part of a job lot with a 404si camera and Sigma 105 macro so it could almost be regarded as free. There were no lenscaps or hood. Pick it up and it's like a toy. It's very light, and manual focussing feels pretty dire with the lens barrel wobbling as you twist the ring. Zooming is a little better.
So I ran off a few shots of the street with the sun behind me, and looking at the results at 100% on the PC screen it was rather a shock. I had to keep checking that I was still at 100%, it was that good, sharp at 35mm and very sharp at 80mm. Good wide open with just a touch of purple fringing and at F8 it blew the kit lens away and was close behind the Sigma macro. On top of that it'll focus close enough for larger insects as well. I was going to sell it but dammit, it's too good for that.
Must be the best toy I've got!
reviewer#910 date: Jun-12-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 2
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp even not stopped down, very good color and contrast. Light, small.
negative:Not solid, plastic construction. Loose.
comment:Look at my comparison with other cheap lens from sigma 24-70 HF

http://foto.violla.pl/rozne/test35mm_Sigma24-70vsMinolta35-80.png

http://foto.violla.pl/rozne/test70mm_Sigma24-70vsMinolta35-80.png
reviews found: 26   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 26
  • sharpness: 4.38
  • color: 4.69
  • build: 3.54
  • distortion: 4.19
  • flare control: 3.62
  • overall: 4.08

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