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

reviewer#29629 date: Jul-16-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.3
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:Minolta APO 100-300
Tokina 100-300 f5.0 (m42)
Tamron 70-300 LD (Quite bad at long focal lengths)
Pentax smc m f135 f3.5
Chinon 135 f2.8 m42
Pentax SMC M 50mm f1.7
Pentax SMC K 28mm f3.5
Nikon AIS 50mm f1.4
Nikon Micro 105mm f4
Canon FD85mm F1.2L
Sigma 30mm f2.8 E-mount#
Carl Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f2.8
Sony DT 18-55 kit lens
price paid:150
positive:Nice solid metal feel.
Sharpness after closing half a stop even in corners (APS)
Great "standard to tele" action zoom on APS format
Fairly quick Autofocus (Compared to most screw driven AF)
negative:Light loss through all these lens elements with older coatings. At least 0.5 stop light loss compared to minolta APO 100-300 and other lenses.
It is effectively a f4.5-f5.0 lens regarding light transmission.
Minimum focus distance 1.5 metres (excluding the wide angle macro function)
Flare at certain angles, but almost nil on APS format with a 72mm screw in aftermarket lens-hood for 4 euros.
Weight, it is heavy. (But I actually like it for what I use it for around the house for making pictures of animals (horses, cats, dog). The weight helps to stabilise against minor movements!
A bit of CA in very high contrast areas, but not too much to be worried about. I have various vintage primes that show more or similar levels of CA (Pentax smc 135mm f3,5, and the famous Carl zeiss sonnar 180 f2.8 and Canon FD 85mm f1.2L. the latter needs to stop down to f2.8 to avoid purple fringing in high contrast areas).
Also, the max focal length of 135mm is exaggerated. (compared to 4 other 135 lenses). I suggest it is 130mm max. Same with 105mm position. I have to select more than 110 mm to equal the nikon 105 micro lens at infinity.
comment:Note: I tried two different ones and both had the problem of back focus!! i did some more research and One guy tried 4 copies and the results were the same but the problem is that each may need a slight correction for focus (see artaphot.ch). On my LE-A4 adapter I have to micro-adjust the focus with -2 and on my Minolta apo 100-300 -3! the difference is clear. (softness disappears and micro-contrasts increases a lot when using open aperture).
In order to find out if this is a problem with your copy try to manually focus in live view with zoomed in mode. (not peaking, because it is not accurate enough). If it is sharper than a picture taken using AF, a micro-af adjustment is needed. Not all cameras can do this though.
Despite the negatives regarding it being a dark lens for the same f stop and being heavy, I still like it a lot simply because of the results. It also focuses quickly due to the rear element focus. I use it on the NEX7 with the LE-A4 adapter and the autofocus speed is a revelation compared to its' native contrast detecting AF. Continuous autofocus and tracking works very well if you select wide area AF (15 focus points spread fairly centrally).
I also have the Minolta AP 100-300 and withing the overlapping range they are very close and almost the same in colour reproduction (The Apo does need to be stopped down at least half a stop, f6.3 is an enormous difference compared to wide open). Compared to the kit lens (dt 18-55) the lens is of similar sharpness in the centre and definitely sharper in the corners. I like the equivalent zoom range of 42mm-200mm for horse riding events. I use it mainly in aperture priority at f6.3 since this slight stopping down improves the corners quite a bit.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 203
  • sharpness: 4.63
  • color: 4.83
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 4.40
  • flare control: 3.44
  • overall: 4.42
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