Minolta AF 85mm F1.4 G D A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 41    1 2 >>
reviewer#11729 date: Mar-17-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:-Canon EF 85mm f1.2 L II USM
-Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R
-Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f1.8 MSC
-Pentax DA* 55mm f1.4 SDM
-Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM
-Sony Carl Zeiss Plannar T* 85mm f1.4 ZA
price paid:1100 AUD (New)
positive:-Colours and rendering, classic Minolta
-Excellent build quality
-Reasonably fast and accurate AF
-Smaller and lighter than other full frame 85mm f1.4/1.2 lens in the class
-Excellent bokeh rendering
-Lens ergonomics
negative:-No weather and dust sealing
-Extends when AF
-No SSM means AF can be noisy and can be slower
-CA wide open until f2.8 in high contrast areas
-AF Can hunt and not as accurate and not as fast in dim indoor
-No AF-D support on A99
comment:The Minolta 85mm f1.4 G D lens is the last of the Minolta 85s until the arrival of the CZ 85 in the A mount, optically it should be the same as the earlier Minolta 85s but with newer coating and ADI flash support and new cosmetic design.

After many month of hunting, I have obtained a rare new copy of this lens with reasonable price and there are few reasons that I have decided to go for this lens rather than the CZ 85:

-Optically speaking, the Zeiss is slightly better in turns of sharpness, the difference is very small, say if the Zeiss scores 100/100 for sharpness the Minolta is 95/100 and this is from wide open to f4, as I rarely shoot 85mm lens at or below f4. Thus unless you pixel peep hard you won’t notice much if any difference

-Rendering wise, the Zeiss gives you much more micro contrast, it is cooler and gives a more cinematic feeling. The Minolta however is warmer, softer, and gentler when it comes to portraits, which is what the 85mm lens is used for. IMHO the Minolta is much better at giving a personal and flattering feeling than the Zeiss, while the Zeiss gives a more ‘documentary’ style. Both lenses have vivid colours, but the Minolta’s rendering is somewhat more classic while Zeiss more modern.

- Build and Ergonomics wise, the Zeiss is better with full metal construction, however the Minolta still have excellent build, both are not sealed for dust and water, and no SSM, thus not really much a difference for me here.

Overall, you are paying more for the Zeiss because if it’s name and better build, as a 85mm lens I find I like the rendering of the Minolta better.

Comparing to other brand’s full frame 85mm lens or 85mm equivalent lens, a plus for many A mount lenses are the focus hold button to lock AF while using AF-C and Hook-pinch style lens cap which other brands don’t offer( especially the focus hold button). Optically The Minolta is pretty much on par with the Canon 85 f1.2 L II lens wide open and until f2.8, the Sigma 85 is defiantly sharper wide open than both, however the Sigma’s colours and character just can’t compare to the both the Canon and Minolta. All 3 full frame 85s have CA wide open until f2.8 especially at wide open. The Minolta and Canon again are on par for bokeh, just at the Canon at f1.2 has slightly narrower DOF. Colours wise I found the Minolta has more interesting character than the Canon. The Canon renders skin tone with more red and Minolta slightly more orange, both renders skin tone with fair and beautiful tonality and gives excellent transition, but I found the Minolta gives better background colours.

Compared to crop 85mm equivalent lens, as much as it is seemingly comparing apples to oranges, however, it is interesting to observe the difference in turns of optical and rendering characters. Pentax’s 55mm f1.4 is the successor their legendary FA* 85mm f1.4 (Regarded as one of the most interesting portrait lens together with the Minolta 85 G D lens in all Japanese 85mm lenses during that time, the other 85 in those days are Nikon 85mm f1.4 D, Canon’s 85 f1.2 mk 1), thus does also have very interesting character, excellent bokeh and skin tone rendition, however, I found the Pentax is a little too soft at f1.4 and sometimes the colours can be too strong and leads to overall tonality of portraits a little funny, which requires more post work. Olympus’s 45mm Micro 4/3 lens is very sharp and gives very high micro contrast, it is more of a general purpose portrait lens, I found it is a technically good nice little near 85mm equivalent lens, just not as interesting in turns rendering and gives funny purple flares in strong backlit conditions.

The cons of the Minolta 85 is that since it isn’t newest lens, it’s anti-flaring ability isn’t the best and it is not sealed and extends when AF and the strong CA from wide open aperture. Being a super fast lens the strong CA is common and not very hard to remove in post. the AF can struggle in low light conditons as well in turns of speed and accuracy compared to newer lenses.

In general, this is a lens of true interesting characters and beautiful (some thinks it is Magical) rendering for portraits and many regarded this lens as one of the best 85mm around. It defiantly is, artistically speaking but it doesn’t take optical crowns, but that rarely is what photography is really about anyway.

Update: (April 2015):
Had a chance to play with the Fuji 56mm f1.2 R lens with XE2, one of the best 85mm equivalent lens I have used I must say, very sharp wide open, almost no CA, good vivid colours contrast and bokeh. Comparing to the Minolta 85mm f1.4 G D lens, this lens certainly has advantage in CA control, flare and Modern focusing system that doesn't extend the lens. It is a close call, but I still prefer the Minolta's more vintage and personal colours and drawing style, partly the Fuji is an APSC lens, but I have to say that Minolta understood colour and rendering better than almost anyone. The Fuji is actually very good in the colour department, it's natural yet vivid and contrasty, it is no doubt a truly excellent lens. It's bokeh and colours are better than the Olympus 45, and a fine match for the Pentax 55 in drawing style, but it is much sharper with less CA than the Pentax 55 wide open and I think I like it's skin tones better than the Pentax. The Fuji 56 wide open is about the same or maybe even sharper than the Canon 85mm f1.2 L and the Minolta 85 G D without as much CA. However the drawing is still a little shy of the Minolta and the Canon, especially if you after the shallow DOF those Fullframe sensor offers. Also because the Fuji only have 7 aperture blade, the bokeh balls on the Canon and Minolta are better, especially stopping down. I have to keep on emphasising one thing, optical perfection rarely equal to perfection in real world result. This is not a Fuji forum, but I'm very impressed, and I can see why so many people go for Fuji- their equivalent lenses are smaller, lighter, cheaper and also have excellent IQ compare to Fullframe DSLR counterparts, and for the Mirrorless land, Fuji has the consistency of make one of the best Mirrorless lenses. However, as for this head to head, the Minolta still wins, because ultimately the Fuji is not artistically better.
reviewer#11642 date: Jan-29-2014
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:Min 35mm f2.0
Sony 50mm f1.4 Planar CZ
Min 100mm f2.8 macro RS
Sony ZA 135mm f1.8 Sonnar T
Min 200mm f2.8
Min 400mm f4.5
price paid:575.00 New
positive:Bokeh, Color, Sharp, Build and size.
negative:None
comment:This lens is unbelievable its like magic! it captures beauty and turns it into a dream, the bokeh is excellent and its warm colors really adds a soft feel, truly one of the best portrait lenses ever made it has the rare ability to make subject look better, most used aperture is f2 to f4. When someone what's to take my picture this lens goes on the camera real quick set at f1.4 ;)
reviewer#11240 date: Jul-8-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:
missing
price paid:950 USD (used)
positive:Excellent sharpness.
:Minolta colors:
Good build and handling.
negative:Expensive!
comment:I might have paid a little more than this lens deserves but it was in impulse buy!
That said, I have very little fresh matter to add to all the reviews already out here.
It's a gem of a portrait lens, which is what I mostly use it for. Sharpness wide open is outstanding and improves slightly by stopping down.
It has the famed "Minolta colors". The color is rich, very well saturated without being over-saturated and has terrific micro contrast along with wonderful bokeh.
A decently composed outdoors portrait will have the subject beautifully separated from the background and has a "3D pop". I don't know how else to put it. The image has such level of detail and the contours of the subject are so well defined that a careful observation of the picture makes it seem like a 3D picture. The subjects seems to be standing out well and it is a wonder to behold. The background just melts away, thanks to the 85mm FL combined with a wide aperture. I usually don't open beyond F/4.0 for these kind of shots.
100% crops of the image just make me go "wow!". The 100% crop is MUCH better than a full image from a budget lens. The detail captured is just perfect.
reviewer#10702 date: Nov-15-2012
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:Min 80-200 HS APO G
Min 100 F2.8 Soft
Min 100 Macro D
price paid:
missing
positive:Colour, bokeh, sharp from wide open
negative:Purple fringe CA in very strong backlighting
comment:My reaction to the first portraits captured with this lens was- "Wow".

The subtle rendering of tone and texture is truly remarkable. Newborn and baby skin is captured with incredible neutrality and naturalness. I prefer this lens over all others when shooting portraits of young children and babies.

This lens is sharp from wide open but due to the miniscule DOF at F1.4 and min focusing distance it is so easy to inadvertently move the focus plane. It doesn't focus as fast as some other lenses but accuracy is top notch. Sweet zone seems to be F1.7 to F8.

This lens seems to 'paint' from an enormous palette of colour and tones and certainly lived up to its reputation for me. Superb lens.
reviewer#9715 date: Dec-25-2011
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 100mm f2.8 Macro, Zeiss 135mm f1.8, Minolta 50mm f1.4, various zoom lenses
price paid:85000 JPY
positive:Very good center sharpness at f1.7 or 2, excellent sharpness across the full frame as of f4, great colors and Bokeh, wide open there is an almost magical appearance and glow to the pictures, excellent build quality
negative:Almost nothing, certainly quite soft wide open and fairly pronounced purple fringing, but see above
comment:I really love this lens, it is a great lens for walk around photography on FF, although the preference of focal length depends of course on your subjects and artistic intentions. I like to play with the change of image expression from wide open to ca. f2.8. The undoubted lack of sharpness and contrast wide open can be great for dreamy and somewhat mystical portraits and other motifs where such an expression is desirable and absolute sharpness is not required or even undesirable. At f2.8 the CAs are pretty much gone, and as of f4 the overall IQ reaches a fantastic level.
The 135mm Zeiss is undoubtedly another great lens. As you probably all know it is already close to perfect at 1.8, which is fantastic but it does not allow for the same expressive "unsharpness". So having both is a real pleasure...:-)
reviewer#9673 date: Dec-6-2011
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:84/1.4 ZA
135/2.8 MinO
50/1.7 MinO
price paid:500 USD (LNIB)
positive:This may be the greatest portrait lens I've ever used (at least on full-frame). The colors are as nice as you can hope to find.
negative:Manual focus doesn't feel quite as nice as I'd like. Especially at the corners, wide open, it seems a tad less sharp than the Zeiss. Once in a great while, flare has been a problem (though the hood is very effective).
comment:This lens epitomizes the fast 85mm portrait lens. Technically the Zeiss is probably a better lens, but it just doesn't have the "magic" of the Minolta. I never found the 85 particularly compelling on APS-C. I'm not at all sure why, since I really like 135mm on full-frame, which gives nearly the same FoV, but for some reason I was never nearly as happy with the results.
reviewer#9503 date: Oct-15-2011
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:Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2 SSM
Minolta 35mm G Original f/1.4
Sony 50 f/1.4
Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Minolta 28-70 G f/2.8
price paid:$800.00
positive:Knock-me-out color
Tonal values, great shadows
Creamy ethereal bokeh
Sharp wide open @ f/1.4, even sharper beyond
Top competitor in class
Stunning 3D images
negative:Rare
Commands high price/ also value
comment:On a par with the quality of my 35mm G Original, but easier to compose. I find its portrait images to be stunningly 3D with lush OOF at my command. The balance of the lens on the A850 is perfect for working around a subject, much less wrist fatigue as compared to sessions with the 28-70mm G. My investment in the 35mm and 85mm Minolta G glass was a huge step. I recommend adding the Minolta AF 85 f/1.4 GD to any A mount photographer who is looking for a serious portrait/art lens. The search may be difficult, but well worth it. The colors are absolutely breathtaking.
reviewer#9227 date: Jul-11-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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:Sony 85/2.8
price paid:700 EUR (used)
positive:Fast!
Colours!
Contrast!
Bokeh!
Sharp
Reliable AF
Weight, build
negative:CA
Slow AF
Flare control
comment:Love at first sight :-)

It's a wonderful lens... Pictures taken with this beauty are beautiful, great colours, bokeh, 3D-feel. Sharpness is reasonable even wide open, as is contrast and when you stop it down a little it gets better and better. I used to think Sony's 85/2.8 is a very good lens - well, it's not bad, but nothing compared to Minolta 85/1.4.
Of course, AF is a bit slow, which may be annoying while taking a picture of a fast moving child. Of course, CA is a problem especially wide open. Of course it's not advised to take pictures with strong source of light ahead or aside. But... AF is very reliable, CA may be quite easily removed and you can use your hand to avoid the sunlight (the hood doesn't help much).
So if you can afford it - buy it, you won't regret it!
reviewer#8983 date: May-1-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Tamron 70-200 f2,8
Sony Planar 85/1,4 ZA
price paid:
missing
positive:Everything
negative:Nothing
comment:I borrow this lens from a good friend of mine for special assignments
I have nothing to say but: s-u-p-e-r-b
For me it is better than Planar for which concerns colors
reviewer#7683 date: Jul-12-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:Minolta 24-70 2.8 G
Minolta 100 macro
Minolta 50 2.8 macro
price paid:599 USD (used)
positive:Wonderful for portriats. Have used with seals and flowers.
negative:Nothing
comment:Also good for low light but has a short DOF. This is a keeper.
reviewer#7537 date: Jun-6-2010
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Leica Summilux 25mm
Zuiko 50mm F2
price paid:1200 CHF
positive:- Sharpness
- Build
- Speed
- ADI Compatibility
negative:Nothing found so far
comment:I own this lens now since a couple of days. Great portrait lens. Amazing how sharp it is in comparision with the non-AMount lenses i owned earlier.

Certainly great for concerts too. I would not have considered the non ADI versions, although cheaper.

In terms of weight, some call this heavy. Well, my Leica 25mm f1.4 was 550gr of weight too. So very common to me, for primes.
reviewer#7188 date: Mar-29-2010
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
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:Zeiss 85/1.4
price paid:$1000
positive:Great bokeh and colors, quite good build quality
negative:no SSM, quite soft at f/1.4, CA
comment:This is currently the best 85/1.4 lens for sony/minolta (except expensive LE version). The resolution is worst than Zeiss, CA control too, but bokeh is much better than all others. This is minolta like style.
SSM is missing.
reviewer#6921 date: Feb-18-2010
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:KM 28 - 75 2.8
Minolta 100 Macro 2.8
price paid:US $795.
positive:The bokeh is absolutely creamy, love it! Great colors!
negative:Occasionally it hunts to AF, but it doesn't bother me as I usually use MF.
comment:This is hands down the best lens I own. For portraits I don't want to use anything else. The bokeh and colors are amazing.
reviewer#6508 date: Dec-2-2009
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:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:+ bokeh
+ sharpness
+ color
+ excellent mixture of this
negative:
missing
comment:Hands down lens.
Sharpness is not the most important thing for lens this type, so I prefer it over Zeiss 85mm.
reviewer#6191 date: Oct-7-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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 Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*
- Minolta 85mm f/1.4 (O & G)
- Minolta 28-70mm f/2.8 G
- Sony Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 Vario-Sonnar T*
price paid:
missing
positive:- very sharp
- very solid build
- nice minolta color
- ultra large aperture
- better, wider focus ring
- ADI incorporated
negative:
missing
comment:It is pretty much the ultra 85/1.4 you can get from Minolta, except for the 85.G.D.LE which is next to impossible to lay a hand on..

Its resolution seems to peak at around f/2.8-4, but I will never hesitate to use f/1.4-2 when extra stops of light are needed as long as I can handle the ultra thin DoF, since this lens is quite sharp right from wide open. The wider focus ring and ADI function are welcome updates.

The Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 is sharper at large aperture setting (1.4-2.8) and better built with an all-metal construction (even the hood and focus ring are metal). But this is a lens I will always miss.
reviewer#6065 date: Sep-16-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 70-200 2.8 G
K M 28-75 2.8
Tamron 90 2.8 macro DI (old version)
Minolta 50 3.5 macro
Tamron 180 3.5 macro
Minolta 16 2.8 fish-eye
Minolta 200 2.8 HS
Sigma 20-40 2.8
Big beercan 75-300
price paid:
missing
positive:Color !
Bokeh !
Sharp see comment !
build quality !
negative:none that i can think of.
Not so fast AF perhaps.
I think its normal for this type of lens.
comment: Edit 27-03 2011 :Got the minolta 200mm 2.8 HS and it's sharper than the 85mm. at 2.8
I had three (one RS and two G D )copies and all were the same quality.
That,s why i set the sharpness on 4.

reviewer#5661 date: Jul-7-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:CZ 24-70 f2.8 SSM
Minolta 80-200 f2.8 G HS
KM 28-75 f2.8 D
Tamron SPAF 70-200 f2.8 Di LD (IF) macro
Minolta 75-300
Minolta 35-70 f3.5-4.5
Sony 18-70 DT kit
price paid:$1400 AUD used (mint)
positive:Bokeh
Light capture
Colour
Contrast
Image quality is truly amazing
negative:slower focus
extra care needed when focussing
comment:This is simply put an absolutely wonderful lens and really is a "must have" for anyone wanting to be serious about portrait work (outdoors/indoors/studio). In some respects it would probably be pipped by the Carl Zeiss version in terms of sharpness but it would be marginal at best. This lens (typical of the 1990-2002 era Minolta lenses) produces an extremely ethereal "high key" effect which is coming back as a style. Colour reproduction is amazing and it works brilliantly on both the a900 and a700 bodies (really shines on the full format body). Flare and purple CA fringing can be a problem in some instances but any lens of this type will produce those effects at times and is to be expected. One of the absolute best Minolta lenses and a true classic in the alpha mount. To be 100% fair I would score this as follows (due to the numbers provided I rounded to the nearest)
sharpness - 4.85; colour - 5; build - 4.9; distortion - 4.85; flare - 3.9. These are pretty much the "average" values for this lens anyway. Purchase with confidence - you will not be disappointed!
reviewer#5133 date: Apr-1-2009
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:Only the other CZ & Minolta 85's compare.
price paid:930 USD (new)
positive:Bright
Solid Build
Bokeh
negative:Sometimes slow to focus
comment:Wide open, this lens gives a silky property to portraits. At these apertures the DOF is very narrow enabling the photographer to concentrate on the subject and virtually ignore the setting. It becomes extremely sharp at higher apertures the DOF increases substantially and it's close focusing ability actually exceeds the ability of some of the non 1:1 macros. The light conductivity of this lens is incredible. It makes a darkly lit room appear sunny. The bokeh is dead accurate. This lens can be slow to focus but since it's designed to be a portrait lens, this is not an issue.
reviewer#4797 date: Feb-3-2009
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:
missing
price paid:800 eur (used)
positive:Fast Aperture
Sharp
Nice bokeh
negative:nothing
comment:Amazing lens.... gives beautiful portraits and can be used for very shallow DOF photo's
reviewer#3582 date: May-12-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:Min 50 1.4 O
price paid:
missing
positive:Colors
Bokeh
Sharpness
Build
negative:Cost
Slow and loud AF
comment:This is a magical lens. The colors and bokeh make amazing portraits. The AF isn't the fastest, but is very acceptable. If you have a chance to pickup this lens, then do it, you won't regret it. It is also extremely sharp after f/2 and very acceptable for portraits wide open.
reviewer#3530 date: Apr-28-2008
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:Sony 35 F1.4
Sigma 30 F1.4
Minolta 50 F1.7
price paid:€620,- pristine
positive:Bokeh!!!
Razor sharp
Build quality
Fast AF (a700)
negative:none yet
comment:Well I can only confirm what has been said before. Bokeh is outstanding at 1.4! Ofcourse the STF is better, but when you need the speed of an AF lens and the best bokeh you can get, this is the one!
The build is excellent, compact and solid.
reviewer#3419 date: Apr-1-2008
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:28-70 2.8 G
100 F2
price paid:1298 USD Mint
positive:Color
Bokeh
Sharp as a razor!
negative:None at the moment
comment:One great piece of glass! Very sharp center to border at all apertures. At 1.4 the bokeh is unbelievable - better than the 28-70 or 100 F2. IMO it's sharper than the 28-70 but maybe not the 100 F2.

It's a slightly heavy lens and filters will cost, but the heaviness works for me; balances well on A100. It is a G after all. This lens is expensive, even used, but the rewards outweigh the price.
reviewer#2357 date: May-26-2007
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:Sony 135 STF, Sony 70-200 SSM
price paid:$950 US used
positive:Everything -> sharp, spot on AF, creamy bokeh, beautiful colors
negative:Everyone can't have one due to availability...or lack of.
comment:If this is just as good as the Sony Zeiss model, i'll keep the Minolta. Why?, if for nothing else, the more user friendly focus ring on the Minolta Big grooves, not 'ribbed for your fingers' pleasrure' type. Isolates your subject so well at f2 - f2.8. If you drop even lower on the aperture, you can't even tell if your subject is in front of a demolition site or a botanical garden. I use it mainly for my portraits, not fighting against the great results of the STF. But, AF will win out here in lower light areas. It really is my favorite lens.

I don't really care if it's loud focussing, or slow focusing. All I care about is the pictures it takes, which are always fantastic! It's reputation is well deserved.
reviewer#2254 date: May-3-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:135 STF, 90mm Tamron macro.
price paid:670 US new
positive:The 1.4 maximum aperture.
Looks awesome.
Focusing ring and system (D)
negative:No reasonable negative point.
comment:Sorry to spoil the perfect 5.0 sharpness train (19 perfect fives, I think, on the other reviews), but the lens, at least the one I own, is not up to the opticall standards of my other high quality lenses. The 85 is very slightly soft at 1.4 through 2.8. Even my Vivitar 100mm macro is optically better performing (but the Vivitar is an especially good lens optically). I can't rate all my lenses 5 on sharpness and I've used up a lot of fives so far. Anyway, the sharpness is still very good. And on the other optical points, the lens is excellent. As for build quality,
it is exemplary, and I waited too long to buy it. I actually use it often - when I expect to be photographing in
a low light situation. It is the only lens I would absolutely bring to a wedding reception, for example.
reviewer#2235 date: Apr-30-2007
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 used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:EUR 800
positive:Sharp as a razor blade
negative:A bit too large
comment:This is my first G lens, and it's worth every (plastic) coin I've payed for it.
Excellent portrait lens, a bit penalized by crop 1.5 factor, does his better on my Maxxum 7

If you can get one (a bit on the cheap side than me), do it!
reviewer#2033 date: Mar-25-2007
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:
missing
price paid:600 EUR (used)
positive:
missing
negative:Loses a tiny bit of sharpness below f2, but what else to expect ;-)
comment:My most beloved prime. It's just fun to use, even though a bit difficult at times due to its narrow depth of field.
reviewer#1478 date: Nov-25-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 F1.4 and 70-210 F4
price paid:950
positive:Sharp, Bokeh, Color rendition, build quality
negative:Hunts some times in low light, low contrast situations. However, that is a very minor negative
comment:I do not regret getting this lens, quality of photos is outstanding the (feel & colour). With my Maxxum 7 and Slide film you can get some fantastic shots.
reviewer#1284 date: Oct-6-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:28-75/2.8(D)
100/2
price paid:530€
positive:Excellent at all apertures
One of the most beautiful bokeh from all Minolta lens
Fast AF
Construction
Focus-hold button
Focus ring does not turn while focusing
Contrast is exceptionnal
Superb colors, the portrait lens "par excellence"
negative:none
comment:
missing
reviewer#1267 date: Oct-5-2006
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:Beercan
Minolta 28-85/3.5-4.5
price paid:
missing
positive:Fantastic bokeh, great for low light photography, built like a tank.
negative:Maybe a bit too long as a portrait lens with the 1.5x crop factor.
comment:My first G lens, makes my other lenses look like junk (not the new 35/2 which purchased together and maybe the 50/1.4 and the beercan can compare in terms of image quality). Am still pondering whether should keep it. My inclination right now is to sell my other "junk" and hold on to this lens.
reviewer#1209 date: Sep-21-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:28/2,8, 50/1,4, 135/2,8, some zooms
price paid:550 Euros (used)
positive:- full metal barrel
- big, non-rotating focus ring
- awesome bokeh
negative:- prone to flare even with sun-hood in contra-light
- extending barrel is less convenient than internal focus (but a price I gladly pay for astonishing image quality)
comment:My favourite lens for both planned and spontaneous portraits. Whether it's just the combination of short tele focal length and wide aperture or some magical G characteristics, but pictures taken with this lens have a certain charm about them other lenses can't fully match. It's quite usable wide open (if you can handle the shallow depth of field) and easily becomes one the sharpest lenses I've ever handles stopped down to about 2,8 or smaller. It easily matches the resolution of the Alpha 100's 10 megapixel CCD.
reviews found: 41    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 41
  • sharpness: 4.89
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 4.85
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.61
  • overall: 4.87

to add your review
you need to login

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania

Find us on Google+