Minolta AF 28-105mm xi F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by Phil Wood
|Phil Wood#44280 date: May-5-2019|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta 24-85, 24-105, 28-85, 28-100, 28-105, 28-135, 35-70 f4, 35-105 (Mks 1 & 2) & many more FF kit lenses. 28-80xi, 35-80xi, 80-200xi.|
|price paid:||30 GBP|
|positive:||Great IQ. Surprisingly useful range even on APS.|
|negative:||A bit weighty, but the real problem is that it's an xi powerzoom.|
|comment:||This is a very competent performer, sharp, great zoom range on FF, okay on APS - the optics are as good as they get on the lower-mid cost Minolta zooms. The downside is, of course, that it is an xi powerzoom - I have a soft spot for the xi lenses as witnesses to a Minolta innovation that didn't pay off - though we do have powerzooms on E mount nowadays it is still not a market grabbing feature.|
For those unaware the xi zooms do not have a conventional manual twist or push-pull zoom action, instead they have a control ring around the lens that you rotate a few degrees to zoom. The lens ring engages gearing within the lens to connect the camera's focusing motor to the zooming mechanism and tells the motor to turn. Manual focusing is also motor driven (pull the zoom ring back and rotate) and extremely cumbersome, almost impossible to use effectively. xi mechanisms are prone to failure, these are not the most reliable lenses though my copy works well. This is why I give the lens 3 for build rating - in other respects it is a well made, solid lens.
I have already reviewed this lens' conventional brother, which offers all the optical quality with none of the xi issues - given that they sell for much the same price I cannot recommend the xi version even though it is in all other respects an excellent lens (my copy is marginally sharper than my non-xi version) and has a focus hold button (unlike the manual zooms).
However, if you fancy trying a powerzoom then this is the one to go for (but don't buy if it is not clearly stated that it is in full working order - assume 'untested' means 'broken').