Minolta AF 28-135mm F4-4.5 A-mount lens review by awa54

reviewer#44070 date: May-30-2018
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:Min 35-105 f3.5-4.5 (both)
Min 35-70 f4
Min 24-85 f3.5-4.5
Min 28 f2.8
Min 35 f1.4
Min 50 f1.4
Min 85 f1.4
Min 135 f2.8
price paid:$70 USD
positive:wide zoom range
built solid and then some
excellent color as expected
I like the rear position focus ring
bokeh is quite decent for a high element count zoom
less linear distortion than most other wide range zooms
excellent "macro" quality
negative:IF is negated by front element rotating with zoom
contrast reduction is common with bright scenes
no factory hood, and no practical way to mount one without vignetting in FF use
Some C/A visible in high contrast areas and at edges of frame

comment:***I am revising my numbers and overall opinion of this lens based on a second copy I acquired... Sharpness, contrast and flare are noticeably better with my second copy, pushing it up into the ranks of the best original Minolta zooms. Maybe not *quite* as sharp as the original 35-105, but better range and linear distortion by a wide margin. I can now say that if you get a "good" copy of this lens it's an excellent value and well worth using for FF or APS walk-around when you only want to bring one lens. I also created a 3D printed adapter for attaching a metal hood to the lens, which helps with the flare issues a bit (still not a complete fix though, but if you want to try it, see lens forum for a link to the print file).


Used with your back to the sun and in scenes that don't have extreme contrast transitions, this lens delivers appealing results (very similar in sharpness to the 35-70 f4 [note, in FF the 35-70 f4 is a much lower resolution optic than the 28-135]). However all of the primes clearly beat it out in every parameter at their respective focal lengths, with the exception of the 28 f2.8 which has a narrower margin of superiority and the 135 f2.8 which has much more potential to show PF.

Compared to the 35-105s the original version is sharper than the 28-135, has better contrast and doesn't flare as badly (by a solid margin on all counts), however it has *much* worse linear distortion (esp. on FF) and the macro quality is no better. The RS version has similar or slightly lower performance in sharpness, but might have better contrast and definitely suffers far less from flare. The close focus "macro" of the 35-135 RS is easier to use, but it doesn't give as sharp a result as the 28-135 does.

The 24-85 has much worse distortion at the long end and sharpness is similar, but it has better contrast and flare resistance as well as being smaller when retracted and *much* lighter.

I think that at least for my uses and with the copy of the lens I own (very clean and in excellent mechanical condition), this lens is a bit of an under-performer when compared to the best Minolta AF zooms, but when used in favorable light it gives very decent results and offers an extremely useful range (both APS and FF) when you only want to bring one lens along (albeit one that's heavier than any other two lenses mentioned, with the exception of the 35 and 85 f1.4s and the original 35-105).

All-in all I think that as a one-lens solution, using a 35-70 f4 and being willing to walk around to get the shot is easier and delivers as good or better images for most situations.

I'm definitely keeping it, but it will get limited use as it offers competent but unexceptional performance, with significant shortcomings.

At a the prices this lens used to command I think the buyer was getting a bad deal and the "secret handshake" and a wink, was being given between successful sellers... but in today's market of much reduced A-mount pricing it's worth buying a copy.

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
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania