Minolta AF 28-105mm xi F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by eccles

reviewer#3078 date: Dec-16-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:28-105mm f3.5-4.5 (non-xi)
price paid:Ł90 with big beercan
positive:Good centre sharpness throughout.
Good colours.
Solid build.
negative:Soft edges at wide end of zoom.
Reports wrong focal length at 105mm.
Manual zoom is poorly damped.
comment:I recently picked up a non-xi version of this lens on ebay, then when this one turned up with a big beercan and a couple of camera bodies I got it as well. So I can do a direct comparison between the two.
The autozoom works really well, although it's not particularly quiet.
Switching to manual zoom is accomplished by flicking a switch on the lens. This works but it's very poorly damped and of use only for older cameras like the 7000.
Autofocus is pretty quick and precise on my A100.
There are 8 contacts but I don't know if that means ADI metering will work. Setting my A100 to ADI and trying different distances and apertures with the onboard flash all exposed the same so I presume ADI works ok.
Compared to the non-xi version it is quite similar in performance but there are optical differences:
At all focal lengths and apertures centre sharpness is excellent. The non-xi version needs to be stopped down a bit for best results.
Wide open, there is substantial tail off in sharpness and CA towards the edges, and the non-xi is better in this respect. Remember, these were tested on my A100 with cropped sensor so on FF this tail off would probably be worse.
Stopped down to f8, it's still quite soft at 28mm at the edges and still shows some CA.
Go up through the zoom range though and edge sharpness improves and is much better towards 105mm.
Oddly, at 105mm the exif data wrongly reports the lens as being at 55mm, although other focal lengths are reported correctly.
If I had only got this lens and not the non-xi version as well, then I would probably have been happy with it. But for me, the loss of edge sharpness especially at the wide angle end is not made up for by the excellent centre definition. I get the feeling also that the build quality of the non-xi version is a little better, although the xi is not bad.
Both are very nice lenses, but the non-xi version is what will stay in my camera bag.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 32
  • sharpness: 4.16
  • color: 4.34
  • build: 4.16
  • distortion: 3.97
  • flare control: 3.75
  • overall: 4.07
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