Minolta AF 35-105mm F3.5-4.5 N A-mount lens review by Phil Wood

reviewer#44135 date: Sep-17-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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:Sony 18-70, 18-55, 18-250, 16-50
Minolta 35-105 (beercan series), 28-105 (xi & not)
Tamron 16-300
many others
price paid:GBP 30
positive:Compact, well built, sharp
negative:Range on APS-C, focus hunting on A77
comment:35mm is a pretty good length on APS - for a prime, but it is too long for the wide end of a walk around zoom (like this would be on full frame).
On my A58 it snaps into focus very nicely, on my A77 it really doesn't perform too well. So I tried an A350 - just as good as the A58. I can't explain this.
Colours are great, a traditional Minolta feel, sharpness is good for a zoom of this era but has been overtaken by modern zooms like the Sony 16-50 and the Tamron 16-300.
Distortion doesn't worry me unless its irregular, it's so easy to correct barrel and pincushion effects in post processing. Flare is not its finest point, avoid pointing too close to the sun or use it as a special effect.
When I get a full frame body I can see myself using this lens as a small walkaround, it really is nicely built in a small package. However, I don't think it will get a lot of use while I remain limited to APS-C.

Update 22-07-2019: I have had a FF body for over six months - but have not used this lens. If I go for a walkabout option it is almost always the Min AF 28-105, occasionally the 24-85. This lens is far from awful, but it just isn't as good as the alternatives on my shelf.

Update 29-12-2019: Took this lens for an walk with my A99ii and quite enjoyed the experience. Focus is snappy, no repeat of the A77 problem, though the soft corners/edges so conveniently cropped out by APS sensors become evident. What did surprise me was some sun-in-frame sunset shots with quite well controlled flare and no ghosts. This lack of ghosting is not what I have come to expect from Minolta lenses!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 78
  • sharpness: 4.16
  • color: 4.67
  • build: 4.22
  • distortion: 4.29
  • flare control: 4.08
  • overall: 4.28
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