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

reviewer#44380 date: Oct-9-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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 - AF 24-85 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 24-105 F3.5-4.5 D
Minolta - AF 28-80 F4-5.6
Minolta - AF 28-80 F3.5-5.6 II
Minolta - AF 28-80 F3.5-5.6 D
Minolta - AF 28-80 xi F4-5.6
Minolta - AF 28-85 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-85 F3.5-4.5 RS
Minolta - AF 28-100 F3.5-5.6 D
Minolta - AF 28-105 xi F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-105 F3.5-4.5 RS
price paid:70 GBP
positive:Sharp, colour
negative:Heavy, could go wider, 1980s ghosting/flare.
No hood mount, no matching hood - have to use screw in hood.
comment:This lens shows just how well Minolta made lenses when they introduced AF to the 35mm world. However, the overriding impression is its weight, it hardly seems possible for a lens of its size could weigh so much.
Its range made it the nearest thing to a hyperzoom in its day (though Sigma soon produced a 28-200 for the A mount) and it remains the only single Sony/Minolta lens that covers this useful range in FF A mount.
Image quality is impressive, sharp with lovely colour, but it does suffer from flare and ghosting issues typical of older lenses. AF is quick and precise, but not silent - I love the reassuring clunk of it snapping into focus, but videographers be warned!
In comparison with my collection of Minolta wide to tele zooms (see list above) it is close to the best in terms of IQ. I prefer the extra width of a 24mm but the IQ of the 24-105 is just not as good - though I will still use it in preference to the 28-135 if I am expecting to be carrying the camera for an extended period - the 28-135 is really heavy. The 28-80s and 28-100 are not in the same class. The 24-85 is a good lens, better than the 24-105 and more compact, the 28-105 (both versions) are probably the nearest in IQ, better at times.
One use I have for a lens of this sort of range is as a back up to primes, something to carry in the pocket or pack 'just in case' - I never think to use the 28-135 in this manner, I tend to go for 24-85 unless I am carrying a 20 or 24mm prime, in which case I might opt for the slightly better IQ and extra length of a 28-105.
It is, of course, better suited to FF use, but it's not a bad range on APS (42-202.5mm equiv) - as long as you don't need to go wide, or have that covered with another lens.

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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