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

reviewer#7220 date: Apr-1-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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:Sigma 17-35 F2.8-4 EX DG
Sony 20 F2.8
CZ 24-70 F2.8
Sony 24-105 F3.5-4.5
Tamron 28-75 F2.8
Minolta 35-70 F4
Minolta 35-105 F3.5-4.5 Old
Minolta 50 F1.7 RS
Sony 50 F1.4
Minolta 70-210 F4
CZ 85 F1.4
Sony 100 F2.8 Macro
Minolta 100-300 F4.5-5.6 APO
Minolta 135 F2.8
price paid:GBP 230 I think
positive:- Images have a special look...really lovely colour
- Probably the best "walkabout" lens for full frame
- Fast AF
- Bokeh is smooth
negative:- Wide open, not great sharpness on full frame. Especially corners at 28mm very soft
- Worst lens I have for CA
- MFD 1.5m
- Visible barrel distortion at 28mm
comment:This is quite a unique lens. It was not love at first sight. It took a while for me to warm to this lens, but now I love it.

Makes a great walkaround lens on full frame with almost 5x zoom range, the only one of its kind with good enough quality.

At first, comparing to my Tamron 28-75/2.8 I disliked the not great sharpness below F.6, awful CA especially with tree branches, limiting MFD, distortion, and low contrast.

However, the images produced by this lens have a kind of special sometimes 3D quality, with really great colour. When I started shooting RAW, low contrast became a non-issue as it's easily tweaked. And when taking landscapes, I stop down to F8 or F11. However, the special look of this lens is NOT easy to replicate, i.e. I can't make my images taken with the Tamron look like this lens.

I think a lot of hype for this lens was created by the comparisons on Artaphot.ch where it outperformed CZ24-70 etc, however I think Stephen has an freakishly good copy. I have compared with CZ24-70 and it blows away the 28-135 for sharpness. Looking at sample images other people have taken using the 28-135 on dyxum/flickr they do not look any sharper than my copy. Therefore, do not expect your 28-135 to equal the sharp across entire frame wide open on full frame that Stephen's copy seems to exhibit. I think anyone who rated this lens a 5 for sharpness has not used a CZ prime 85 or 135 :-)

AF is faster than all my other lenses except 135/2.8, this is very welcome...

Compared to the much cheaper 35-105 Old, there is very little in it in terms of IQ. However, the 28-135 range is much more convenient.

Compared to the beercan, there is very little in it in IQ except at 135mm where beercan is sharper. However, 28-135 has much faster AF.

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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