Minolta AF 24-50mm F4 A-mount lens review by cbanks

reviewer#11890 date: Jul-3-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:Sony 18-55 F3.5-5.6 (original)
Minolta 28-85mm F3.5-4.5
Minolta 28-135mm F4-4.5 (Secret Handshake)
Minolta 35-70mm F3.5-4.5
Minolta 35-80mm F4-5.6 II
price paid:110 USD (used)
positive:Nice IQ
Light and compact
Covers popular 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm
negative:Lens hood is a joke
Mediocre speed
~2x zoom factor
Price. Not expensive per se but 2nd most expensive used lens on this list.
comment:I went on a bit of a FleaBay lens buying binge. As you can see, I need another lens around the range of the Minolta 24-50mm like a hole in my head. ;^) I think my logic in buying it was it was a wee bit wider (though I also own the 11-18mm Sony so really...).

Then again, I find each lens has it's own characteristics and appeal. Nothing here particularly expensive so what's the problem?

The colors aren't exactly classic Minolta. Ironically, one of my better examples of those wonderful colors on the above list is my Minolta 35-70mm which I picked up on FleaBay for $16. But the 24-50mm is a more solid performer that's never let me down. Not as solid of a performer as the 'Secret Handshake' which is just 'wow' special. Yet, I rarely use the 'Secret Handshake' because it's big and clunky with poor ergonomics (I have floppy rubber hood on it making it look comical). The 24-50mm is a very useful range, extremely light and compact, and just a joy to use.

All that said, I tend rotate between the 35-70mm (and the very similar 35-80mm that set me back like $26), 24-50mm, and the 28-85mm. Partly based on mood, part random grab, part what I plan to shoot. The cheap lenses have bolder colors as long as I keep the sun behind me morning or evening. The 28-85mm gives me a classic '80s postcard look in strong light. The 24-50mm is more modern without the boring neutral colors of the Sony 18-55mm kit. The 18-55mm is a fine kit lens with modern performance; however, it's images are, IMHO, too dull.

Sharpness-wise, the 24-50mm is fine but not the best of the bunch. The cheaper Minoltas are surprising sharp though distortion can be laughable and you've got to keep the sun strictly to your back. The 28-85mm is on par with the 24-50mm but with an older body style - yeah, that quirky macro switch.

The hood that comes with the 24-50mm is a joke. Seriously. I put it on out of habit but I can't imagine it preventing flare. The good news is I haven't had flaring problems with the lens.

If you plan to have only 1 lens in the range I don't think I'd recommend this lens. But if you like to fiddle around with different lenses this is a lens I *really* like. Like a *lot*.

Here are some full-size samples (un-retouched jpegs):

Bokeh example:
Distortion test (or sorts):

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 51
  • sharpness: 4.36
  • color: 4.84
  • build: 4.55
  • distortion: 4.39
  • flare control: 3.82
  • overall: 4.39
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania