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

reviews found: 52    1 2 >>
reviewer#34760 date: Jan-24-2017
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 80-200mm F2.8 HS APO G
Minolta 100mm F2.8 Macro D
price paid:€ 500 (used)
positive:Great sharpness and colour rendering.
negative:More CA than a modern lens when used in the range F1.4 - F2.8.
comment:Very nice lens. It is well built and gives great photos. Beware that at F1.4, the DOF is really thin, but that which is in focus, is sharp with fine detail. Bokeh is superb. Like all Minolta lenses from that period, it can generate clearly visible purple and green CA when using wide apertures.

At F2.8, it easily keeps up with the Minolta 100m F2.8 Macro and the 80-200mm F2.8 HS APO G in regards to sharpness and overall image quality.

Focus is reasonably fast and accurate on my A77II.

All in all, this lens is a great cheaper alternative to the Sony Zeiss 85mm F1.4
reviewer#11970 date: Sep-2-2014
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:Minolta 50mm f1.7
Minolta 100mm f2.8 macro
Vivitar (Cosina) 100mm f3.5 macro
price paid:£600GBP
positive:Compact.
Good balance on all camera bodies I've tried it on.
Colour rendition.
High image quality.
negative:Outrageous chromatic aberration and colour fringing in high contrast or harsh bright light situations.
Not easy to focus!
comment:This is exactly the kind of lens I have long wanted to have access to and use. All the talk of Bokeh and that 3D effect. I considered the Samyang, Sigma and even the Sony SAM. Forget about the Zeiss, I can't justify the spend.

In the end I went for this classic Minolta, having been aware of it's reputation since it's release in the late '80's. I am a Minolta fan after all. It's only taken me 30 years to catch up. Now the Sony 16-50mm f2.8 is retailing for £470GBP in the UK the 85mm f1.4 is officially the most expensive lens in my collection.

There was a review recently in Amateur Photographer magazine of the new panasonic 52.5 f1.2 Nocticron. Equivalent on that format to 85mm on a full frame (or 35mm) body. "Only a dull photographer would buy this lens to use it at f8" the reviewer says. Clearly the manufacturer does not agree with this assessment, as surely it would save a great deal on manufacturing and design cost to leave out the iris altogether and dispense with the unnecessary and "dull" apertures below the headline figure in order to concentrate on the wide open performance. It appears that a great deal of thought and effort was made on ensuring the Nocticron's performance at f8. It already has a reputation for razor like sharpness. It occurs to me that if you are going to fork out the necessary cash you will be expecting to get value for money and the versatility that a range of apertures allow with any lens. I expect my lenses to justify their cost by working for a living.

Having said that I think the reviewer has a point. Why pay a huge premium for what maybe less than half a stop of speed and not use it (witness the difference in price you'll expect to pay for the Minolta 50mm f1.7 and the f1.4)? I certainly had every intention to use the Minolta 85mm at f1.4. Having said that, I've noticed that in program mode, the camera will generally set the aperture at f2 or f2.8 on the A77, Dynax 7 and 7000i. Did Minolta intend for this lens to be used at f1.4?

I've had this lens for quite a while now but have delayed doing a review here. Quite simply it has taken me a long time to get to grips with the lens, which has shown up limitations in my technique. Also I wanted time to get a few roles of film exposed through it.

On APS-c. A77:

Oh the frustration! Face recognition AF is just not good enough at anything wider than f3.5, despite giving it a + 1 on the micro focus adjustment (which has helped). I could probably benefit from a more thorough testing with a proper test chart to get it spot on. On the positive side, the more moderate apertures cut out most of the problems with CA etc and give lovely, sharp but rather conventional if flattering results and the focal length still isolates the subject from it's background.

As other reviewers have mentioned, DOF at f1.4 is wafer thin. Auto focus on the A77 tends to focus on the tip of the nose and this means both eyes are out of focus completely. Again the micro adjustment has helped. I'm not surprised to hear the A77mk2 is introducing "eye recognition" AF. I certainly hope that works! For me it has meant dozens of wasted shots. The best solution is to have the AF selector set to auto and MF release option. AF gets you in the ball park and then you can make a quick MF adjustment. Still, at f1.4,1.7 and even f2, I'll often get one eye razor sharp and the other is completely out! Focus peaking on the A77 helps here, but often will not peak around the eye - more frustration!

In very bright light and high contrast situations the chromatic aberration and purple fringing can be diabolical! What I've noticed is, this is often because the shot, on closer inspection is fractionally out of focus. Careful focusing often mitigates the worst of the CA/fringing problems.

An aperture of f1.7 or f2 does make life a whole lot easier and still retains most of the short DOF characteristic I'm looking for. When I do get the focusing right the out of focus areas can be beautiful. One of the first few successful test shots I got had my very untidy dining room table in the background with all sorts of clutter on it. In the shot it looks like an oil painting by Vermeer or something!


On Full Frame Analogue (Thats 35mm film to those of us over 30). Dynax 7:

Nearly all my favourite shots taken with this lens were those I've taken on film. The full frame format gives you that 3D effect that you hear people talk about. This lens really is at home in this format. If only I still had my Kodak Carousel. Get a role of Agfa "Poundland" film ( for £1 of course), take some shots of your loved ones through the 85mm f1.4 & get it processed cheap. The 4x6 prints are little works of art. Just lovely. It still took a bit of practise to get the focussing right, but I tend to take my time and concentrate more when I'm using film.

On Full Frame Digital. A850:

I've had the A850 about a week. The 85 was the first lens I tried out on it.

Alleluia! What can I say? The focus system on the A850 must be better than the A77, either that or APS-c format just amplifies the short DOF problem. The results when viewed full screen on my apple cinema display literally took my breath away.

Summing up.

I won't for a minute suggest that an APS-c user should not bother with one of these (If you can get the damn thing in focus at least most of the time you obviously have better technique than I do!), but clearly the crop format is cutting out much of what gives this type of lens its special character. If you can't get a full frame digital, get a full frame analogue!
reviewer#11322 date: Aug-28-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
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:
missing
price paid:700 EUR (used)
positive:* Best minolta colours and bokeh
* Good detail (from f2+)
* Good metal body
negative:* Few problems with AF (sometimes AF stuck) ... need to fix (~35 EUR to fix)
* Not good detail (at 1.4)
comment:My favorite lens! I am fashion/portrait/nude photographer, and this is my favorite lenses since 2012. You can check some my photo samples (with A77+85/1.4) at: Forum Samples and ljubimtsev.com.
I recommend.
reviewer#10579 date: Oct-11-2012
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:Minolta 100mm F2.8 Macro
Sony 16-50 F2.8 SSM
Minolta Beercan
Sony 18-55 (E Mount)
price paid:750 (2012)
positive:Bokeh, color, build
negative:Slow and noisy focus
comment:This is my absolute favorite lens for my A77 camera. It is a delight for portraiture, but also really fun as a walkaround lens. No matter what I point it at, the 85mm at or near F1.4 makes it interesting.

Bokeh is just creamilicious, the best I've ever experienced.

At F1.4 it is VERY difficult to find focus on anything that is moving or even on some stationary objects without a tripod (depth of field is THAT thin), but if you nail it, its sharp beyond all get-out. In fact, I would say that at normal portrait distances there is as much detail as resolved by the 100mm macro, but the narrower depth of field makes most parts of a subject appear a tad softer. By F2.8 it equals the 100 macro, likely on account of the increased depth of field.

This is ideal for portraits. Everyone I photograph is delighted with the results, which have a sort of 3D glow. I don't know much about optics, but I cannot imagine anything better than this for portraiture, except perhaps for the same lens on full frame.

**Update 1/26/13**
I've had my A850 for about a month now and if I thought I liked this lens on APS-C, I ADORE it on full frame.
reviewer#10401 date: Jul-22-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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 own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:~550 GBP
positive:- IQ: Traditional Minolta colours, bokeh, contrast.
- Good detail, especially from f2.0
- Good build quality
- Good flare control
- AF is VERY accurate
- Very good skin tones
negative:- CA can be a little high in high contrast situations (mostly wide apertures)
- LCA can be distracting as well, and is essentially impossible to remove (mostly wide apertures).
- Although you get detail at 1.4, it does "glow", which makes it more difficult to get definition if you need it.
comment:Purchased February 2009.

A long awaited review! I've had this a little over 3 years now, and consciously held off writing any sort of summary. It's a lens I long desired & a classic focal length, so the words I write here are from use over time, rather than just initial reactions.

GENERAL HANDLING:

It's relatively light, compact, short tele. It's larger than other 85's of slower aperture, but pretty normal for 1.4. If you're going to use a fast 135mm, or a 70-200mm you're taking on a LOT more weight, and size. This 85mm will balance very nicely on either a a higher APS-C camera or FF camera. This is important as it feels very natural, quick & easy to use.

IMAGE QUALITY:

I mostly use this lens from f2 to f4 and I find the quality of files and prints to be very good. You get a LOT of detail, typical Minolta colours, and nice bokeh. This isn't a boring gaussian type bokeh, so you'll get a nice bit of character in the bokeh, which to me is appealing. I mention CA as a negative, but it's rarely been a problem in real life. It can sometimes stick out in metalic objects, but this can easily be removed by desaturating the magenta.

At 1.7 I still get a lot of detail and happily use it there too, often. It's really only at 1.4 where a certain glow appears, which can be negated by local contrast adjustments, but my suggestion would be to stop down a touch unless you want this effect.

I've never found flare to be a problem and I've always used the original hood. When trying to make the lens flare, I've been pleasantly surprised that it controls the flare well, and I've never noticed any ugly glare that you so often get with lenses of this era.

BUILD QUALITY:

It's a solid lens. It's also a first generation auto-focus lens. So although it's made of good materials, it is a little "clunky". The hood is plastic, which although normal, it would be nicer if it were metal - but as a FWIW, I've found the metal hood on the ZA version to be poor in comparison, the fit is not as nice and it seems to fall off all too easily. The front end, when focused to MFD, does have a wobble to it - this is normal - but does contribute to it's slightly clunky nature. The coatings seem good, I've had a lot of stuff fly at the front element and it's cleaned up fine. The outer barrel has some scratch marks and has clearly had a lot of use (previous owners) but has held up well. I've never dropped it or anything, and wouldn't want to, but it seems well put together.

AUTO FOCUS:

As mentioned, it is clunky. But it is also accurate, as many lenses of this type are geared towards (excuse the pun!). My comments are based around central AF sensors on a700/a850/a900. It's became a very reliable lens in that regard, you get to know how it likes to be focused, and it does the job very well. With the a900, I can even catch people moving towards me at wide apertures, which for our system is rather good. It'll take a while to get from MFD to infinity, so prefocus when possible to help it's on it's way. It is not the quickest, but not particularly slow either, not for my use at least, which is generally events, people - I can't comment on sports. This is screw driven, so it can also be loud if driving a long distance; this is worth considering as this can be distracting in the wrong moments, but again rarely a problem to me. Only a few times has it hunted (because of my camera work, rather than anything to do with the lens itself) during a ceremony, which has been a bit unbearable, but not unrecoverable. Worth mentioning manual focus - it can be quite easy with this lens because of the bright viewfinder and defined focusing area, stop down a little and you'll likely get consistent in focus results.

THE 85MM FOCAL LENGTH:

For me half the joy of this lens is the focal length itself, and the aperture value. It's probably my most used lens as it's so versatile. The focal length allows you many varying opportunities - a controlled portrait, a brief moment across a room, a detailed still life, a candid in a crowd - you can do so much and because of the fast aperture, you can go right into the night. Combine this with the handling and IQ qualities and you can begin to see why it's a much loved lens-type.

CONCLUSION:

It took me a few months to get to grips with this lens. Then another year to really appreciate it, how to use it, when to use it. Since then it's rewarded me tremendously, so many of my favourite images have came from this lens. The Minolta version is the most affordable in this area, so there is no excuse for not choosing this excellent lens.

If you have any questions on something I perhaps haven't touched on just drop me a message.
reviewer#10127 date: Apr-19-2012
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 own this lens
compared to:Tamron 90mm f2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Pleasant image
Colour & bokeh
negative:Slow and questionable AF accuracy
Restrictive MFD
comment:First impressions:

In absolute sharpness the tamron 90mm beats this lens with less CA, that doesn't surprise me too much but the tammy (with the AF limiter on) also seems to focus faster than the Minolta and all without the longer MFD. The worst aspect of this is you'd think slow AF will hopefully mean you'd at least get accurate AF as a trade off but this not the case, AF accuracy is in fact a bit of a lottery, not so bad outdoors, but can be frustrating indoors (you will lose shots due to mis/slow focusing).

There is both green and purple CA at wider apertures but it's thankfully well enough controlled so it only shows up on pixel peeping so functionally it's not a real issue.

Despite all it's downsides the minolta produces a very pleasant image it has the better bokeh & colours which adds up to being more than the sum of it's parts. As a people/portrait lens it does it's (narrow) job extremely well.
reviewer#9773 date: Jan-9-2012
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:- 70-400G
- 135 F2.8
- 100 F2.8 macro
price paid:775 USD (used)
positive:- F1.4
- Cheap if compare with 85F1.4 G
negative:- MFD (0.85 meter)
- slow focusing speed
comment:Manage to get a good copy that no involved in AF micro adjust.
Usable F1.4, further step down to F2 will get on track sharpness.
IQ is does not have significant different compare with 85F1.4G.
Deliver creamy bokeh than my Minolta 135F2.8.
Superb portrait lens.
reviewer#9404 date: Sep-11-2011
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 own this lens
compared to:Samyang 85 1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:Colors
Bokeh smoothness and transitions
Overall quality of images shot with this lens
negative:Veil hazing wide open
Longitudinal CA
AF hunting
comment:I replaced the samyang for this lens - and so far I don't regret the move. If you only shoot test charts, the samyang will be the better lens, optically speaking, until f2.8 (it is 20+ years younger in it conception) . The samyang is just more clinically sharp and better corrected at wide apertures.
However, portraits shot with the minolta are just more pleasing, the colors are better, bokeh transitions are smoother, pictures just have more 'pop', it is hard to quantify this...
AF can hunt at times, which is probably due to the dreamy f1.4 rendition of the lens, and it is not the fastest.
Overall, a great minolta classic, which can be had for much less than the RS and the D version, with, I suspect, very little optical difference.
reviewer#9273 date: Jul-27-2011
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 own this lens
compared to:CZ16-80, MAF70-210f:4, MAF50f:1.7
price paid:R$ 1200,00 (US$ 700)
positive:* OMG bokeh. Did I mention the OMG bokeh?
* Real Minolta colors
* Sharp wide open, razor sharp from f:2 onwards
* Full metal build
negative:* Weight
* Some diagonal CA wide open (but this is characteristic of this kind of lens)
* Slow AF
comment:This is probably the finest lens I have today. I searched for it for really long, and finally I've got to find one in Brazil for about the same price for the same price it costs abroad - if I imported one, it would cost twice what I've paid.

What is more to say about this lens? Its legendary combination of smooth bokeh, vibrant colors and astounding sharpness is already well known to everyone who owns it. It is helping me to rediscover the pleasures of photography, as the images it produces have a special feeling, a touch I can't get with no other lens I have. AF speed is not that fast, but that's not really an issue for me.
reviewer#9100 date: Jun-7-2011
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 50mm f1.4
Sony 50mm f1.4
Minolta 50mm f1.7
Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
Sony 17-70mm (kit lens)
price paid:700 USD (used)
positive:- color
- very well built
- weight
- bokeh
- perfect lens for portrait
negative:none
comment:This is one on my favorite lenses. It's perfect for portrait photography. Color is great, soft bokeh.
reviewer#8516 date: Jan-12-2011
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 20/2.8
Sigma 50/1.4
Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:850 USD
positive:Great bokeh
Super sharp
negative:None
comment:I never tried the G version neither the Zeiss 85mm. I really wonder what would be the difference. This lens is just perfect.
reviewer#8172 date: Nov-3-2010
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:
missing
price paid:$700 CAD (Used)
positive:Very fast lens (Wide aperture)
Great for low light
Very sharp
Very smooth bokeh
Very thin DoF at F1.4
AF is quite fast
Very useful focal length for portraits
No distortion
negative:CA can be pretty bad
Circular highlights around bokeh
Veiling haze wide open
Poor minimum focusing distance
comment:By far one of my favourite lenses, the differences between this and the CZ 85mm F1.4 are pretty minimal. The lens provides a very shallow depth of field at F1.4 which can give a unique look to portraits as just the subjects eyes can be in focus and thats it. The bokeh for this lens is very smooth though it does suffer from circular highlights at times. The lens is very sharp even wide open though in well lit conditions you'll notice a high amount of CA and some veiling haze. Both which can almost be completely removed when stopped down to F2-2.8. Though my one real issue with this lens is the poor minimum focusing distance (850mm same as CZ 85mm F1.4) which gives you only 0.13x magnification.

In the end this is one of the best Minolta lenses you can buy for portraits and low light, though you'll have to dig deep into your wallet to afford one, even used, and not to mention they are a little hard to find.
reviewer#8143 date: Oct-25-2010
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:MAF 100/2
SAL 50/1.4
SAL 135/1.8 ZA
price paid:
missing
positive:- sharp from f/1.7
- nice, smooth bokeh
- useful focal length
- great for available light shooting
negative:- soft at f/1.4-f/1.6
- spherical aberration
- slow and noisy AF
- prone to flare
comment:
missing
reviewer#7817 date: Aug-15-2010
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 28-135mm
Minolta 100-300mm APO
Minolta 50mm f/1.4
Minolta 17-35mm d
price paid:700 USD (used)
positive:Sharp even wide open
Great colors
Great micro-contrast
Autofocus very precise
negative:For the price, nothing really. Mabye the sound of the motor could be improved.
comment:This is the ultimate portrait lens. I wanted the G or D version but the price was so low on this one, I could'nt resist and I have no regrets at all. I know that this lens is old and dosn't have the newest coating but it was never a problem for me. The IQ is even better then the minolta 50mm f/1.4. Bokeh is superbe and color is really great. The only thing "bad" with this lens is the sound of the autofocus. It sound like something is broken. At first I was afraid but other people have reported the same problem so I guess it's normal.
reviewer#7590 date: Jun-19-2010
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:- Minolta 50 1.7, Tamron 90/2.8, Jupiter 85/2
- Lots of zooms like beercan, Tamron 17-50, Minolta 35-105...
price paid:650 Euro (used)
positive:- Very sharp
- Very nice bokeh
- Excellent portraits
negative:- Wide open produce aberrations
- Very hard to focus on live people at f1.4
- slow focus
comment:The lens is great portrait lens. It is also marvelously sharp and produces quite nice bokeh though not round but rather hexagonal (or octa...)

Sharpness wise closed at f2 and further it fares well against the 90mm macro.

AF is not very fast and is quite noisy. I thought the lens is broken until I saw another copy making even worse noises.

If AF is accurate f1.4 is very nice. My copy fortunately is spot accurate on A700. Friends told me they were somewhat disappointed due to the high aberrations - these appear in slightly out of focus areas.

This lens cannot do macro even close up on small objects is a bit hard at about 80cm.

Built is typical minolta old school - built like a tank to last forever.

I do not think there is any distortion.

I cannot assess flare - have not seen issues but I do not do much photography with sunny backgrounds. The hood is great though and I would believe it will serve in such eventualities

Can't wait for NEX-5 to arrive and try this jewel with A mount adapter!
reviewer#7589 date: Jun-19-2010
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 own this lens
compared to:sony 50mm f1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:very good optical lens...
good focus/accurates..
nice colour/minolta feel...
very sharp in f1.7 above...
negative:no much
comment:tis is a really good portraits lens...
optically and colour is superior for portraits shoot...
focus is accurate when in low light..better than 50mm f1.4 all the way...in term of sharpness,colour and picture quality...

conclusion,tis is a good fixed lens for aps-c and of cos full-frame...that mostly use for portraits,low light shoot and candid shoot
reviewer#7536 date: Jun-6-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100mm F2
price paid:
missing
positive:Small depth of field.
Good sharpness wide open.
AF is a bit faster than I expected.
Bokeh CA (Yes I like this!)
Perfect portrait lens for APS-C.
Bokeh is better than Minolta 100mm f2.
negative:Bokeh wide open is a little nervous with specular highlight, but compensated by small DOF.
Cannot be used for tracking.
Veiling haze wide open.
Lower contrast wide open.
comment:My first real portrait lens is Minolta 100mm F2. It was a GREAT lens, and I can vouch for its sharpness wide open, raved by several people in reviews. However, after using it a while, I realized that MFD and long focal length (I'm using APS-C) are becoming deal breaker for me. So I think I need shorter focal length for portrait usage.

There was two lenses I considered at that time: Tamron 60mm f2 and Tamron 90mm f2.8. For cost reason I was thinking to unite macro and portrait lens at the same time. But I ran into a good deal of a Panasonic G1 for $100, and decided to keep that as my main macro platform. And what lucky I am, I also got a good deal on a Minolta 85mm f1.4. As macro usage no longer into consideration, I can freely choose a faster lens with longer MFD.

Enter Minolta 85mm f1.4. The lens is heavier than Minolta 100mm f2. The contrast is lower at wide open, but you can stop down to f2.8 for maximum contrast and sharpness. But at f1.4 the lens really shows its character. The details are high, but it masked by thin DOF, giving the subject on portrait pleasant, smooth look. I like this, as I ALWAYS PP my subject skin when I use Minolta 100mm f2. The bokeh is also WAY better than Minolta 100mm f2, it is smoother and has more bokeh CA which I like because it gives the image "character". I clearly like this lens more than Minolta 100mm f2. With this lens, I learn that in portrait photography sharpness is not everything. Hereby, I highly recommend this.
reviewer#7320 date: Apr-21-2010
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 own this lens
compared to:tamron 90/2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:bokeh
focussing accuracy
sharpness stopped down
sharpness wide open across centre
negative:purple fringing wide open
slightly 'nervous' bokeh wide open, but nitpicking
comment:i've been nitpicking in my negative comments. it is a very very good lens. the purple fringing wide open is easily treated in post processing by dropping the saturation in the purples. the centre sharpness is already great at 1.4, but is sharp across the frame one or two stops down. the vignetting wide open shows in the shape of the out-of-focus highlights at the edge of the frame, and they can be slightly hard edged wide open, but still performing well for a lens wide-open, and very useable.

stop down to f/2, and it becomes difficult to fault the lens in any way.

a great length on aps-c.

i won't give the lens a 5 on sharpness, because it's no apo-prime when shot wide open. i can see why people would crave the zeiss, but this is a very fine performer too.
reviewer#6620 date: Dec-22-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 4
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:Minolta 50mm 1.4
Minolta 50mm 3.5 Macro
Minolta 135mm/2.8
price paid:900
positive:Amazing Sharpness
unique Dreamy bokeh
best minolta portraits
Buid, like a tank
fast and accurate AF
negative:none!
comment:There is something special in this lens. It is not a every lens because of its focal lens but it is the best lens for portrait. It is as good as those Zeiss lens with a lower price tag.

Its build and weight balance my A200/maxxum 7 very well. Razor sharp @ f2 and up
reviewer#6619 date: Dec-22-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-85 RS
Minolta 135/2.8
Minolta 50/1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:-Bokeh
-Sharpness
-Build
-Fast (not AF wise)
negative:Slow and loud!
comment:Despite being slow and very loudly, this lens is one of my absolute favourites if not the favourite. It is sharp from f2, and amazing when you hit it right at f1.4. Bokeh is beautiful.
reviewer#6421 date: Nov-20-2009
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:CZ 135mm f1.8, Min 50mm f1.4, Min 100mm f2.8 & Tamron 70-210mm f2.8
price paid:$659
positive:Color and micro contrast with excellent bokeh and DOF
negative:None as I bought mine before the prices went sky high!
comment:I like this lens wide open and stopped down to f4 - 5.6. It has the most pleaseing micro contrast of any lens I have save the Zeiss 135mm f1.8. The color transitons from this lens make the subject look touchable as though they were really there. Unlike the Zeiss the look isn't as isolating and defined - the POP of the Zeiss lenses. Yes, the Minolta has pop but not Zeiss POP. The 85mm is the lens I go to when shooting the Ladies where I would go to the Minolta 100mm Macro for the guys (and the 135mm for just about anyone - period). This lens matches up quite well with the Zeiss when assembling photos in an album or on a DVD show. They compliment each other quite well.

I have not had the privilege of using the Zeiss 85mm so I can't do a comparison. However, until that time arrives, I am quite happy with the presentation of the Minolta.
reviewer#5954 date: Sep-2-2009
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:Minolta G lens
Contax - Carl zeiss MF 50mm f1.4
price paid:650USD (used)
positive:** Excellent for portraits**
** Superb sharpness **
** Dreamy creamy bokeh **

negative:** none ** to be frank
comment:If you're into portrait photography, this is the lens to go.
Previously , my gut feel is this is just another version of 50mm f1.4 that has a focal length of 85mm. Boy i was wrong ! they're really world apart in terms of quality and "image feel".

To sum it up , Minolta 50mm f1.4 and even my Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 (i modified the contax mount to minolta mount) are out of league comparing to this lens. The depth of field control , contrast , bokeh, saturated colors are out of this world. The lens optical designs seems to render excellent 3D effect, creamy bokeh and classic minolta colours.

At f1.4 & f2 the sharp focal point + shallow depth of field and outstanding bokeh makes this lens an invaluable tool for portraiture photography !!
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 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 ... ;-))
reviewer#5266 date: Apr-21-2009
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:Minolta 50 1.7, Sony 50 1.4, Sigma 105 2.8, CZ 16-80, 70-300G.
price paid:
missing
positive:Tremendous color, sharp, great bokeh, exceptional build and handling.
negative:Poor minimum focusing distance and expensive. Slow to focus.
comment:Picked this up used off of ebay. Its a tremendous old lens. I love the all metal build and the handling of the old beast. The bokeh is quite good too and the color is excellent. It is slow to focus and the MFD is awful but this is my favorite lens i've ever played with and despite the fact that I haven't used it for that long has given me some of my favorite shots. It has been an awesome flash free companion to concerts and parties, etc and does some mean portraits.
reviewer#5261 date: Apr-20-2009
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm 1.7
Minolta 135mm/2.8
Sigma 24mm/1.8
M42 Jupiter-9 85/2
price paid:800 USD (USeD)
positive:Big aperture, best for low light
~135mm /1.4 in APS-C
heavy
Build to last forever
Optic is glass
Best for portrait
negative:slow AF & noisy
circular aperture until f2.8
no focus limiter switch
comment:This is my first G lens. I thought this lens was as small as Jupiter-9 , but it was not. Lens is very big and bulky. In other words, it is heavy. When it plug into my A700. It balance out and work perfectly.

lens is build by metal body , it was build to last forever.

This lens capture good skin tone. best for portrait. ~135mm in APS-C with F1.4. Wow... better than CZ 135/1.8 in FF.

It worth every penny you pay for it.
reviewer#5138 date: Apr-2-2009
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:- Minolta 85mm f/1.4 G
- Minolta 85mm f/1.4 G D
- Sony Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*
price paid:
missing
positive:- Optic quality
- Well built
negative:- Old (1st gen. Minolta AF lens)
- Slow AF speed
- No ADI (probably not a big deal)
comment:Optically this lens is in the same league with the more modern 85 G and 85 G D lenses. Its build quality is top notch which is characteristic of a first generation Minolta AF lens. AF speed is a bit on the slow side but not a big problem shooting still portrait.

Only issue (potentially) is its age (many used copies must be 15+ or even 20+ years old). So watch out for fungus/scratches when searching in 2nd hand market.

*UPDATE*
The Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 is sharper at large aperture setting (1.4-2) and better built with an all-metal construction (even the hood and focus ring are metal).
reviewer#4843 date: Feb-12-2009
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:135mm 2.8
100mm 2.8 macro
50mm 1.4/1.7
price paid:700 USD (used)
positive:Color
Sharpness
Bokeh
Handling
Bright
Focal length on APS-C
negative:Age
comment:I love this lens! This along with 200mm 2.8 are my favorites. I wish Sony will hurry up and remake a non CZ version in the sub-$1000 level so I can buy it. I find myself using this lens for everything but landscape and architecture.
reviewer#4407 date: Nov-19-2008
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 50mm 1.4 & 1.7, 20mm/2.8, 28mm/2, 28mm/2.8, 135mm 2.8
price paid:au$1220
positive:It is razor sharp at all apertures, has that magical Minolta colour, the best bokeh I have seen, and is beautifully engineered.
negative:There are none that I have experienced.
comment:This lens is what pleasure in photography is all about. It makes you just want to go out and find things or people to photograph. It is probably one of the most perfect portrait lenses in existence, although it shines in other areas as well. It is without doubt the best lens that I have ever either owned or used and I am a lens-aholic, having acquired all of the original Minolta primes, zooms and teles with exception of the 600mm. I truly believe that it is impossible to take a bad photograph with it. It is joy to own and use, so much so that I have two copies - just in case.
reviewer#4404 date: Nov-18-2008
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:K/M 75-300 Big Beercan
K/M 35-70 4
Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
K/M 50 1.7
K/M 70-210 4.5-5.6
K/M 70-210 4 Beercan
K/M 28 2.8
K/M 28-80xi
K/M 28-135 4-4.5
K/M 35-70 3.5-4.5
Tamron 200-400 5.6 LD NEW
Sigma 75-200 2.8-3.5
Deitz 28-200
Tamron 20-35 3.5-4.5
Angenieux 28-70 F2.6
price paid:700 USD
positive:Sharpness
Bokeh
Colors
Build
F1.4
negative:None
comment: It works exceptionally well on the A900, faster focus than on any other camera I've had. Absolutely gorgeous portraits, stepped down once brings unreal sharpness. Incredible colors and IQ. I think I like it.
reviewer#4348 date: Nov-10-2008
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:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Everything
negative:
missing
comment:This lens is exceptional: portraits acquire a new dimension, the rendering of the OOF area is wonderful. The image is something "live" to me, thanks to some magic in this glass I can't exactly define.

AF is a bit noisy, DOF at f1.4 is prohibitive but the sharpness, colors and OOF rendering reward your efforts.

Expensive, but I wouldn't sell it even under torture.
reviews found: 52    1 2 >>

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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