Minolta AF 85mm F1.4 A-mount lens review by RDoe

reviewer#5617 date: Jul-1-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- Sony 50mmF1.4
- Tamron 90mmF2.8 Macro
price paid:550E (used)
positive:- Bokeh (to die for)
- Buid, like a tank
- Precise AF
- Color
- F1.4
- Balanced well
negative:- LOUD AF!
- CA visible (not problematic)
- MFD
- Not as sharp as expected (see under)
- Slow AF (not really, just precise)
comment:Sharpness
The sharpness is good to great but from F2.8 on with maybe max between F4-F8. This was, although I knew, the disappointing bit of the lens (not really). Compare to my Sony 50mmF1.4 is it not as sharp as the 50mm between F1.4-F4, which was some sort of expected, but still a let down. On the other hand makes this a more perfect lens for portrait, that's why I bought it and the Bokeh is to die for, man!

Color
Minolta glass, well color is always great!

Build
Minolta first generation build like a tank!

Distortion
Well fixed lens, so no problem.

Flare
Could do better, but haven't really tested it yet.

All in all there are three things that struck me as a negative, although I did expect it as it was stated in other reviews, like;

- Noisy AF, I thought it was broken, phew.
- MFD, I was used to use my Tamron90mm Macro for portraits and it MFD (well it is a macro), so the 1m MFD is sometimes a problem.
- Sharpness, between F1.4-F4 it is not as sharp as the 50mmF1.4

Well in the end I got a new copy (well new, I think it never left a store because it is so smooth). I like the focal length on APS-C and the F1.4 is cool. About picture quality the drawback is the lack of an APO coating for some CA, but that CA is fixeable in PP. THe weird thing is that it is more noisy than the newer lenses. Probably due to coatings.
After a few days of use I get the urge to compare it to the sigma50-150F2.8 (no real match, I know) but when photographing an event the zoom makes more sense to me. So now I'm faced with a dilemma. So sell the Minolta (-snif-) nd get the 50-150 as the new event/portrait lens together with my 50mm or keep it ...... and buy the 50-150 within a few months (girlfriend will never understand me ... ;-))

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 52
  • sharpness: 4.77
  • color: 4.81
  • build: 4.87
  • distortion: 4.98
  • flare control: 4.46
  • overall: 4.78
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