Minolta AF 28-100mm F3.5-5.6 D A-mount lens review by Miranda F

reviewer#11784 date: Apr-22-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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 18-55mm DT SAM II
Sony 55-200mm DT SAM
Sony 55-300mm DT SAM
Minolta & Sony 50mm primes
Tamron 28-200mm Aspheric
Tamron & Sigma 28-200mm Aspheric
Minolta 75-300mm
Minolta 28-80
Minolta 35-70 f4.
Minolta 35-70 f3.5-4.5
Tamron 90mm f2.8
Etc.
price paid:49UKP with Dynax 4
positive:Lightweight modern mc 8-contact lens that's full-frame compatible.
Wide enough zoom range for convenience without stressing optics.
Smaller and much lighter than 28-105mm
About 1 stop faster than 18-55mm kit lens
Good walkaround lens, especially on FF
Good colours.
Close focussing than most older Minolta zooms
Sharper than you'd expect. Actually very sharp!
Cheap and easily available on ebay
negative:Flare and veiling not quite as well controlled as later Sony (but not that much worse, either)
Not really wide enough on crop-sensor.
Quite plastic if that bothers you.
Silver is a bit uncool unless you're into retro :-)
Corners poor at full aperture.
comment:Quite a good walk-around lens on a film SLR, though on a crop-sensor SLT 28mm isn't really very wide.
On many lenses of the film era flare control and veiling are not up to modern standards, but this silver one (which is one of the last Minolta designs) seems better than most, and gives quite acceptable results if reasonable care is taken over lighting - certainly a huge amount better than the Tamron 28-200 Aspheric and better than the Sigma. The Minolta IQ is sharp. By which I mean that 100% crops still look okay on a 1024px monitor, and back-to-back tests against the kit 18-55mm lens at 2x clear-image zoom show the Min to be slightly better in resolution with no obvious CA or contrast loss, and corners are only slightly less sharp than centre at f8. It is sharper than the Sigma everywhere and at 200mm the Sigma is no better than the Minolta 28-100mm with 2x digital zoom.
The 28-100D is also a little faster in aperture at all focal lengths; but if you fancy a change it is worth the money s/h, and of course it is usable on FF - if you still like to use film occasionally it is a good choice for that unless you're taking professional slides and have some good prime lenses, in which case you won't be interested!
The standard lens hood offers more physical protection than optical benefit, just as with the 18-55, but interestingly, the lens hood for this lens has the same fit as the ALC SH-108 hood from the Sony 18-55 DT and the Minolta 75-300mm so you can use one of those if you're taking views into a bright sky. On a crop-sensor camera the much larger 75-300mm hood keeps sun and sky light away well and doesn't vignette (though it does, naturally, on FF).

Edit: Upped the sharpness rating, after tests. The more I use this lens the more I get to like it. It is actually quite sharp at 100mm and rather better all-round than some of the older Minolta lenses I've tried. The 28-100 range is also quite useful; I find the focal range ideal for trains, where perspective distortion is unacceptable wider than 28mm, and where I want to get several shots of an approaching train without swapping lenses
It's my lens of choice on the Dynax 4, 5, and 60 for its range, low weight, and good balance; The Sony 55-200mm is a lot sharper over the overlapped range, especially at the long end where so many super-zooms/hyper-zooms seem to suffer; therefore I still prefer to use the Sony 18-55 and 55-200mm lenses when I have time to swap, but when I don't, the 28-100D is my first choice. I bought a second copy - this time in black with the Dynax 60 and it is a lovely lens though on film the slow aperture is an issue on dull days.
However, the corners can be pretty bad at full aperture, soft and distorted, and at the wide end they don't really get right until f11. This may be serious or irrelevant according to the picture you're taking. As a comparison, the Minolta 24-105mm has corners which are heaps better even at full aperture.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 21
  • sharpness: 3.60
  • color: 4.14
  • build: 2.86
  • distortion: 3.81
  • flare control: 3.48
  • overall: 3.58
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