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

reviewer#37842 date: Apr-24-2017
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.5
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-85, 35-105 original, 35-105N, Canon 24-85 USM
price paid:I got a decent deal
positive:Very good sharpness even at wide apertures, with the exception of 24mm corners, but even these are not at all bad on my example. Needs less stopping down for first rate results than 28-85 and particularly 35-105N. Higher contrast than 35-105N, but at some settings, lower than 28-85 and original 35-105. Closer focus across the range than the older lenses. Internal focus and quite high gearing makes it AF very fast compared with first series Minolta AF.
Reasonably compact and not too heavy...though I really wish it could have been a bit nearer the size and weight of the 35-105 N, which had my ideal form factor for a mid-range zoom.

Very smooth zoom control. Although the scores are not precisely enough delineated to allow me to reflect this, in fact the correction for distortion seems better than the 28-85 and probably 35-105 original.
negative:Unsharp corners at close/ medium distances at 24mm until stopped down (but ok by 5.6 and good by 8), probably due to field curvature.
Some distortion also at visible at 24mm. (rating 3.5)
Flare performance not massively better than older lenses eg 28-85, but the range of conditions in which you don't have to worry about it is a bit greater with this. At night it still flares miserably at bright light sources.
62mm filter thread.
Mechanical design means that zoom creep and inner barrel wobble are apparent on well-used examples.
comment:An impressive lens which was one of the best of its kind when introduced in the early 90's. Generally slightly better distortion performance than the Canon 24-85, but, as usual for Minolta, more flare. Both lenses are very sharp. The Canon is a little bit lighter.

I need to do more side-by-side testing with other lenses to confirm this, but its colour doesn't look quite the same as the older lenses, and my images with it have a slightly different "feel" from those with my other Minoltas listed as comparators.
I look forward to using it on full frame one day.

The range of asking prices seems fairly wide, so if you are very patient you may be able to get a decent deal, as I did. Watch out for zoom creep/wobble on heavily-used examples, and as usual, check for de-centering. A previous and more worn example I tried once imaged similarly to this one but with obvious de-centering.

My lens sometimes focuses behind the subject at 24mm (A37 camera). I haven't worked out why yet, but hope it won't also do this with other bodies, when I get one.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 60
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.22
  • distortion: 4.32
  • flare control: 4.07
  • overall: 4.38
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