Minolta AF 28-135mm F4-4.5 A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#16277 date: Jun-19-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 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 DT 16-105
Sony DT 18-135 SAM
Sony DT 18-200
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Minolta AF 28-105
Minolta AF 35-105 Original & New
Minolta AF 35-200 Xi
Sigma AF 28-105 F2.8-4
Sigma AF 35-135 F3.5-4.5
Minolta MD 50-135 F3.5
price paid:68 USD (used)
Smooth, long throw focus control
Minimal CA stopped down
Flat focus plane at the long end
Decent wide semi-macro
negative:Weight, Length, Diameter
Axial CA/Soft center
Long minimum focus distance which increases with focal length
Focus shift with zoom
Only F4 up to 40 mm
Zoom action inconsistent
Small/hard rear focus ring
72 mm filter size
No provision for a hood
comment:Far from being a secret this was the most expensive AF zoom lens when Minolta released them in 1985. The suggested retail price was $526. The dealer cost was $300 in quantity--six times the cost of the AF 50 1.7 and exactly twice the price of the 70-210 f/4. And it is still no secret, since it remains the most expensive original Minolta AF zoom on the used market today.

The first copy I purchased had some minor damage including a cracked focus scale window. I returned this lens for a refund. The second copy I purchased had a small piece of metal lodged in the zoom mechanism preventing it from zooming out fully. I was able to disassemble the lens and remove this obstruction. This copy looked excellent. I bought a third copy with a bad zoom mechanism that I repaired, and a fourth copy that had some junk inside the front lens elements that was easily cleaned. After picking up a LA-EA4, I purchased the fifth copy without caps in good condition.

Testing outdoors yield some back focus tendency, but very good overall sharpness. The lens is also rather varifocal. The rendering is quite nice, though the bokeh isn't terribly smooth.

It has similar amounts of barrel distortion at the short end and pincushion distortion at the long end as the 28-105. It has less CA/purple fringing than the 28-105 when stopped down. Wide-open highlights become a bit purplish, otherwise the colors seem very accurate.

The smaller 1990's Minolta AF 28-105mm F3.5-4.5 is easier to use and has better resistance to flare and glare. The 35-200Xi has even greater telephoto range but even worse ergonomics and quirky operation. The 28-135 is quite awkward to use on a small APS-C body.

Test chart comparison on an A65 with the 24-85, 28-105, Carl Zeiss 16-80 and Sony DT 18-135 SAM.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 201
  • sharpness: 4.62
  • color: 4.83
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 4.41
  • flare control: 3.44
  • overall: 4.42
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