Minolta AF 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#15265 date: Jun-5-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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:Canon EF 22-55 USM
Minolta AF 24-50 F4
Sony 24-70 F4 ZA OSS
Canon EF 24-85 USM
Minolta AF 24-85 RS
Minolta AF 24-105 D
Sony FE 28-70 OSS
Sony 28-75 F2.8 SAM
Minolta AF 28-80 D
Minolta AF 28-85
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Sigma AF 28-105 F2.8-4
Canon EF 28-105 F3.5-4.5 USM II
Minolta AF 28-105 RS/Xi
Minolta AF 28-135
Minolta AF 35-70 F4
Minolta AF 35-80 II
Minolta AF 35-105 & New
Sigma AF 28-105 F2.8-4
Sigma AF 35-135 F3.5-4.5
price paid:49 USD (used)
positive:Smooth zoom and focus controls
Internal focus
Little distortion
Minimal CA (purple/green at 24 mm, blue/red at 85 mm)
negative:Focus plane more curved than 28-xx and 35-xx zooms
Focal length decreases with close focus
Short zoom throw
Very short focus throw
Slightly warm color cast
A bit of purple fringing wide-open at the long end
comment:The first copy was purchased without hood on eBay for $55 in 2015. A nicer second copy with hood was purchased on eBay for $46 in 2016. This copy seems to be much sharper at the long end. "JAPAN"

This lens was $500 when released in 1994. It is quite a heavy lens weighing nearly twice as much as the later 28-80D. Like other internal focus normal zoom lenses the focal length decreases with close focus, quite significantly at the long end.

It reports F4 from 26 to 40 mm, so it is a bit slower than the 24-50 F4 and 24-105 F3.5-4.5 both of which are F4 at 50 mm.

The original 24-85 performs identically to the later RS version. The apertures aren't even significantly different shapes. Both have curved aperture blades that keep the aperture mostly round when stopped down a little. The RS version might be slightly smoother, but it doesn't really show up in images.

The focus plane of the 24-85 is not as flat as the focus plane of the 28-xx and 35-xx zooms or even the 18-55. It focuses closer than the 28-105, despite both listing the same minimum focus distance of 500 mm. The 24-85 has a bit less distortion than the 28-105 on the wide end. It has very similar amount of distortion to the 18-55 at the same focal lengths. It shows just a little purple fringing in the center wide-open at the long end--less than the 35-70/4 and much less than the 28-80D. Corners continue to get sharper past f/8.

The lens is fairly parfocal, but you do get a noticeable amount focus shift from the initial slop in the zoom mechanism. Even the 18-55 SAM II has less slop.

Image quality is quite good over the zoom range though it is not appreciably better than the 18-55 kit lens. The APS-C corners are better at 24 mm than the 24-50 and 24-105 and only slightly worse than the 24 mm f/2.8 primes. The image quality overall is also better than the 28-85.

Test chart comparison on an A65 with the 24-50 F4, Carl Zeiss 16-80, Tamron 17-50 F2.8, and Sony DT 18-135 SAM.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 61
  • sharpness: 4.49
  • color: 4.79
  • build: 4.20
  • distortion: 4.31
  • flare control: 4.07
  • overall: 4.37
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania