Minolta AF 20mm F2.8 A-mount lens review by Phil Wood

reviewer#44400 date: Oct-25-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Prime:
Minolta - AF 20 F2.8 RS

Minolta - AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6 D
Sony - AF DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony - AF DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM II
Sony - AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Sony - AF DT 18-250 F3.5-6.3
Tamron - 16-300 F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD MACRO
price paid:85 GBP
positive:Solidly built, small, sharp., Minolta
negative:Lacks modern flare control and microcontrast.
comment:I have this design in the original and RS versions - there is little to choose between them. So little that I am copying my review of the RS here.

The RS has a slightly more user friendly focus ring and a smoother aperture which alters the bokeh a little not so good for stars, better for circular blobs (a good excuse for having both versions?). To be honest I tend to use them stopped down for architectural shots or landscapes with lots of DOF - where bokeh tends to be irrelevant.

The body of the lens is essentially that of the 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 50/1.7, 50/1.4 with an additional flared out end for the big front element. This makes it distinctly wider and knocks the filter size up to 72mm.

Sharpness is good, not quite up to full marks but as good as might be expected from a decent prime.
Colour is typical Minolta - love it or hate it.
Build is solid, as proved by the fact that there are still plenty around still going strong after 20+ years.
Some distortion is to be expected from a lens this wide, but Minolta did a pretty good job at squaring things up and Lightroom has a profile to correct it. Nevertheless you can still get those spectacular distortions by angling it appropriately.
Flare - not its strong point, but not unusually poor for a lens this wide and this old.

Overall I like this lens a lot, though it did take some getting used to on FF. It is still a nice lens on APS, but is not so much better than the 18-55 SAM II and no better than the 16-50/2.8 - FF is where it really shines.

If I had to choose between the two versions I would go for the RS because of the slightly more user friendly manual focus.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 58
  • sharpness: 4.39
  • color: 4.83
  • build: 4.69
  • distortion: 4.21
  • flare control: 4.07
  • overall: 4.44
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