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35mm f1.4 - Minolta vs Minolta G vs Sony G

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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 35mm f1.4 - Minolta vs Minolta G vs Sony G
    Posted: 04 April 2019 at 21:36
I am looking to pick up one of the 35mm f/1.4 A-mount lenses.
https://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Minolta-AF-35mm-F1.4_lens13.html
https://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Minolta-AF-35mm-F1.4-G-RS_lens14.html
https://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Sony-AF-35mm-F1.4-G_lens304.html


Did the lens coatings change? I understand that all three are the same optical design. I note in the database that the weight increases slightly with each newer version. Have read through most, if not all, of the reviews in the database. But I am curious about any subtle differences that may exist among the different versions of this lens.

I am looking for softness, pleasant colors and nice bokeh, not sharpness. Will be used for portrait type images where beautiful skin tone will be my highest priority.

With that in mind, might the earliest Minolta version, or the next Minolta G version, be a better match for my goals than the current Sony version?

Would all three versions produce identical images? Or would different, or perhaps aged, coatings result in some subtle differences?

.

Edited by roger2 - 09 April 2019 at 18:45
a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 00:02
Just to throw another wrench in the bag, since you're interested in that focal length you should also look into the Minolta 35/2.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 00:20
Thanks. I know that the 35/2 is very highly regarded.

But I would prefer to limit this discussion to the 35/1.4. I have read practically every review in the database (and many on other sites), to include not only the three 35/1.4 versions, but also the 35/2 and others (I own the 35/1.8 DT). I have also considered the Lensbaby Velvet, which, unfortunately, is not available in 35mm.

So I have looked around, studied available info, and am settled on the 35/1.4, and very much looking forward to it. Just that before making my final decision, I am wondering whether there might be subtle differences among the versions that only the most knowledgeable people, i.e. those who post here, might be aware of...

Edited by roger2 - 05 April 2019 at 01:31
a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 02:59
The f1.4 is better than the f2 for portraits. Much less vignetting. And at comparable apertures, the f1.4 version is nearly a half stop brighter. The f2 serves other purposes better though.

The original f1.4 has what I believe to be the best manual focus ring. No slop whatsoever. And it's design such that a single finger rolling under the ring makes for very precise gentle adjustment. That's what the curve in the lens hood is for, to allow finger. I know the original lineup got a bad rap for having such tiny focus rings. That's because folks expected them to act like their old MF lenses. The original Mino AF's benefit from a different technique, and I prefer it.

The second Mino 1.4 would be more to your liking if you prefer traditional focus ring girth. Better served with two fingers in traditional posture. The benefit of focus hold button is even more valuable than before because it can be programmed for any function. Nice place for the magnifier, or eye-AF, or AF/MF toggle.

The biggest benefit of the Sony incarnation is the ability to use all hybrid AF points on a99II. That's very handy for portraits, with head towards top of vertical frame. My gripe with the Sony version is the manual focus ring material, and sloppy feel (compared to the original), because of the D-Clutch mechanism. There's always a 'tick', and sometimes the D-Clutch doesn't catch, and requires turning the ring without any action, until it catches. I hate it. But... the Sony version is thankfully the most accurate in AF acquisition for far off center faces. Pairs very nice with a99II.

Basically, I like the original for precise manual focus with a gentle single finger touch. It's elegant and refined. Cuts down handling noise for video with audio recording.

I like the second version general handling and focus hold button. I think it's the most stylish, if that matters.

I like the Sony version for it's auto focus prowess. Very accurate and consistent with a99II both full frame and APScrop mode. But it has the worst manual focus ring. And yes, I do think the Sony version has more contrast than the original. Whether that's good or bad is up to you to decide.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 04:00
Thanks for all of that Photosopher. Great post.

I will have to look through the sample images (again) to see whether I am able to discern differences based on contrast. This is something I researched a while back, never quite reaching a final decision.

Somewhere I got an impression that the original Minolta's coatings were magenta colored, and the Sony's coatings are green-ish. Is that correct? If so, would image color be affected in any way?

What changes were made that caused the weight of this lens to increase slightly (470g > 490g > 510g) with each new version?


Edited by roger2 - 05 April 2019 at 06:01
a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 14:55
Originally posted by roger2 roger2 wrote:

I will have to look through the sample images (again) to see whether I am able to discern differences based on contrast. This is something I researched a while back, never quite reaching a final decision.


The contrast differences are negligible. My experience the Mino slightly flatter wide open with back lighting. I've never directly compared them. Just an experiential feeling about it.

Originally posted by roger2 roger2 wrote:

Somewhere I got an impression that the original Minolta's coatings were magenta colored, and the Sony's coatings are green-ish. Is that correct? If so, would image color be affected in any way?


That depends on what angle they are inspected, and lighting used to photograph them. The Mino shows different colors with an angle shift in soft lighting.



So does the Sony. Harder to see here because ambient light is stronger in this shot.



Originally posted by roger2 roger2 wrote:

What changes were made that caused the weight of this lens to increase slightly (470g > 490g > 510g) with each new version?


Perhaps the addition of the rubber to the ring, and lens button, and finally the D-Clutch. The first version is the most slim body. Notice the hoods are different too. The Minolta/Sony hoods are not interchangeable.

 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 20:37
Originally posted by Photosopher Photosopher wrote:

The f1.4 is better than the f2 for portraits. Much less vignetting. And at comparable apertures, the f1.4 version is nearly a half stop brighter. The f2 serves other purposes better though.



Interesting. What uses would you think the 35/2 would serve better?

Asking because I recently got the 35/2.

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nervus_opticus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 20:59
Here is a distinct (but ten years old) evaluation of the 35mm's Sony incarnation:

https://www.opticallimits.com/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/389-sony-35-f14

It's 'only' APSC, but how much better could it get on FF?

Kind regards, Knut
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 22:53
@Photosopher Thank you once again for another very insightful, informative, and helpful post.

You have helped me make my decision, which is to go with the Sony version. As I use AF exclusively, the Sony's superiority in that department is a significant factor for me. I also hope to someday have an a99II, and the Sony version's ability to work well with off-center focus points is appealing. I would not have known those things if not for you.

a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 22:56
Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:



Interesting. What uses would you think the 35/2 would serve better?

Asking because I recently got the 35/2.


The f2 is a great lens, completely different than the 1.4.

The obvious compact advantage makes it the travel companion. The midfield sharpness is stronger all the way down to f8, so scenic photographers may like it better for small size quality.

The f2 has a more normalized field curvature, sharpens predictably from center to edges as the aperture closes. It's a really easy lens to work with.

The f1.4 has bizarre field curvature, leaving the center and far edges sharp throughout the range, but midfield doesn't perfectly match until f9. The f1.4 takes some getting used to, and it's great once you come to know it.

By f9, the sharpness is even on both lenses, with the f1.4 having the sharpest far edge corners, but it's hardly perceptible and shouldn't be scrutinized to that degree. The f1.4 shoots brighter at every aperture than the f2.

The 35/1.4 matches the 85/1.4 very nicely, both of them shooting brighter at every aperture than their nearest counterparts. I think they brighter green tones in their render. I like them a little better for portraits/fashion.

The 35/2 matches the 100/2 very nicely (and the 28/2). They seem to have a bit more neutral green render. I like them a lot better for journalism/travel.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2019 at 23:03
Originally posted by roger2 roger2 wrote:

...to go with the Sony version...


Cool. Let me know if you need a lens hood. I have an extra, purchased for the Mino, only to find it didn't fit. It's only for the Sony version.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2019 at 03:20
I will keep that in mind Photosopher. If I happen to pick up a unit without the hood, I will be in touch.

Edited by roger2 - 06 April 2019 at 03:24
a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 April 2019 at 11:07
Just asking, but why would you want to use the 35mm f1.4 in portraits rather than (say) one of the 50mm f1.8/1.7s which have a similar entrance pupil (slightly bigger, actually) and therefore give similar blur with the same view (ie, stood back further) and also have less facial distortion?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 April 2019 at 22:24
@ Miranda, an astute observation and a good question.

I shoot different types of images. One area of interest is model shoots. I referred to that as "portrait type images" above because I do not know a precise genre name which describes it.

Traditional portrait framing is the major part of those shoots. For those images, my 50/1.7 is well suited. I shoot wide open, or almost wide open. I like soft-focus ...and then some. Sometimes I even add a mild softening filter to the wide open 50/1.7, just to give an idea of the type of look I am experimenting with.

But in addition to portrait framing, I like to also include full body and/or other types of poses. Weather permitting, and if a suitable outdoor location is available, then 50mm is good regardless of framing. But when shooting inside is necessary, most often it will be in a small-ish room about 14' long. In that room and on an APS-C body, the 50 is just too long for full body length.

I have tried the DT 35/1.8 for the wider shots. The focal length works OK. But with that lens I have not been able to create any kind of soft look (even with filters) that is remotely similar to what the 50/1.7 can do. So I shoot portrait with the 50 and wide with the 35 DT, and images from a shoot end up looking totally different depending on which lens was used.

So I will try the 35/1.4 in an effort to have wider angle images that are closer in look/feel to those produced by the 50, to hopefully have somewhat more consistency across a shoot. If I am lucky I will like what comes out of the 35/1.4 even more than the 50 :)

Edited by roger2 - 09 April 2019 at 02:38
a57 | Sony DT 35/1.8 | Minolta 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 28-75/2.8 D, 75-300/4.5-5.6 New
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