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

Zooms:
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.

Ratings:
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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