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

reviewer#6806 date: Jan-22-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
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:Tamron 28-75/2.8
Sigma 24-70/2.8
price paid:350 USD
positive:Sharpness
Bokeh
Awesomeness
negative:Some CA
Long MFD, obnoxious macro mode
No hood, flare sensitive
comment:This lens is every bit as awesome as everyone says. If the opportunity to get one ever comes up, take it.

To start with the bad things: it can flare badly, but not in all situations. I've taken some remarkably useful shots even with the sun in the frame, whereas some other shots have been completely ruined. My guess is that it is dependent on the angle of light, or something like that. The lack of a hood isn't exactly helping either. It also exhibits slight CA, but it is sharp enough to be easily removed if needed.

The 1.5 m MFD can be a real problem sometimes, especially for indoor shots at the wide end. Since the MFD stays (almost) the same throughout the zoom range, the only way to get real closeups (e.g. close headshots) is to use a longer focal length. The macro mode helps, but it is of limited use as it only covers distances between approximately 15 and 30 cm. Unless the macro mode hack is applied, MF is the only way to go, but the big and comfortable zoom ring can (sort of) be used for focussing in macro mode since the lens isn't parfocal.

Now to the good things: This lens is freakishly sharp. Wide open it is only sharp, but stopped down it is nothing short of stunning. Most notably, the corner sharpness is quite unlike anything I've seen in a standard zoom. The colours are of classic Minolta character, giving very pleasant results. And the bokeh is lovely, not as good as on my Sigma 50/1.4 but definitely on a par with many other really good primes I've used - and it outshines most of the zooms. Focussing is very fast, haven't been timing it, but it feels about as fast as my 28/2.8. The focus ring is weirdly placed, but I got accustomed to it quickly.

To sum things up, this would probably be the best lens in the whole wide world if it had better MFD, a hood and better flare control. Instead, it is a fun and quirky lens capable of awesome results under the right circumstances. Which is more than enough reason to get one, but any expectations should be kept on a realistic level.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 201
  • sharpness: 4.62
  • color: 4.82
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 4.41
  • flare control: 3.44
  • overall: 4.42
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