Minolta AF 17-35mm F2.8-4 D A-mount lens review by Bob Socko

reviewer#9082 date: Jun-4-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:* Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6
* Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6
* Minolta 20mm f/2.8
* Minolta 28mm f/2
* Sony 35mm f/1.8
* Sigma 20mm f/1.8
* Sigma 24mm f/1.8
* Sigma 30mm f/1.4
price paid:325 USD (used)
positive:* Wide angle zoom with full-frame coverage.
* Reasonably fast aperture with good center sharpness wide open.
* Light for its size.
negative:* Corners can be soft at wide apertures.
* Image quality is good, but not great.
* Unless you're a full frame or film shooter, there are better options available.
comment:Are you a full frame shooter? Do you want an ultra-wide zoom, but can't justify spending $1899 on the Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8? Seriously consider this lens. It's one of the few options available on the market and, for the price, it's a pretty good performer. If you're shooting landscapes, you'll be stepping down to f/8-f/11 anyway, so the soft corners at wide apertures are a non-issue. If you're trying to use this as a walkaround lens, your center sharpness is still pretty good wide open.

Are you an APS-C shooter? Are you perfectly happy with your current camera and don't have any serious plans to upgrade to an a850 or a900? Don't give this lens a lot of thought, you have better options available. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a great all-around performer. Compared to this lens, you'll have a faster constant aperture and a slightly longer zoom range. Other decent options include the Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 (great image quality but more expensive) and the Sony 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 (more compact, more versatile focal range). That's not to say that this lens is worthless to an APS-C user. It's not, it's a fine lens. I just wouldn't go out of my way to get one unless you can find it for a great price because you have other, better options available.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 133
  • sharpness: 4.27
  • color: 4.58
  • build: 4.14
  • distortion: 3.74
  • flare control: 3.60
  • overall: 4.07
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