Minolta AF 17-35mm F3.5 G A-mount lens review by MichelvA

reviewer#4506 date: Dec-9-2008
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 RS
Minolta 28-70 f/2.8 G
Minolta 70-210 f/3.5-4.5
Minolta 50 f/2.8 macro D
Minolta 100 f/2.8 macro D
Sony 70-200 f/2.8 G SSM
Sony CZ 16-35 f/2.8 SSM
price paid:€ 900 (used)
positive:Very well build
Perfect weight
Usually perfect IQ
No visible distortions
Non rotating front element
Short min focus distance
Petal hood (metal on plastic ring)
Lens case included LH-1074
Surface exactly as on A900
Limited range
Very slight zoom creep
Not as flare resistant as CZ
comment:This was my first G lens. Bought it from the first owner who paid €1800. It seems to have the greenish coating (manufacturing date 2006), which has better flare resistance. I haven't tested the orange version yet.

First used it on my KM5D and planned to go FF if available. Alternative is the Konica Minolta 17-35 f/2.8-4, but i decided to spend more to get this one. After reading the reviews here i expected a lot. If i wouldn't have plans for FF i would advise the CZ 16-80, 16-105 or the Sony/KM 11-18 instead. First photo's (outdoor) were a bit of a disappointment as i expected too much. I refer to the fine review of Michael Hohner which didn't see as much difference compared to the kitlens as one would expect. I had the same experience. Later it seemed true for distant scenes (i'm sure the 6 MP sensor limited here) BUT photo's indoors or more nearby revealed its true nature. Photo's have a 3D appearance, an almost liquid quality like the sound of a high end tube amp. Colors remind me of Rembrandt as you see more in the dark regions. Photo's outdoor with lots of sunlight can sometimes give a little washed out image (not as much contrast as i'd like to see) sometimes, but i PP in these cases.

I usually use this lens for car shows (300mm minumum focus distance helps), old cities, museums and landscapes of course. After reading previous reviews again i am happy i bought it as it will do good on FF. Mine has a very little zoom creep, my 28-70 f/2.8 G feels better here. Distortion is totally absent on APS-C.

Use on A900: Now i use the 900 (bought new when it came out), the focal range makes much more sense. 17mm is quite wide, just as i like. Distortion is almost non visible. Look at Kurt Munger dot com and you'll see it betters the CZ16-35 here. Have tried the 16-35 CZ, just for a few shots. These lenses are quite alike, but the CZ keeps contrast better in difficult situations (straight into the sun), has SSM, but is bigger and more expensive. Now i've used the lens more often on the 900 i can say distortion is low but of course there is more perspective distortion. I have used this lens in very sunny and bright conditions and find flare resistance very good! Even shots straight into the sun work. It betters the 28-70 here quite clear.

Use on A550: The lens works great on the 550 too, but this lens should be used on a FF camera. For the 550 lenses like the Sony 16-50 f/2.8 SSM are a much better choice and cheaper too.

Dust: this lens has openings on the sides next to the front element. This means it gathers some dust which is annoying.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 33
  • sharpness: 4.73
  • color: 4.97
  • build: 4.94
  • distortion: 4.85
  • flare control: 4.18
  • overall: 4.73
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