Minolta AF 35-105mm F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by MinoltaMaxxum

reviewer#11662 date: Feb-1-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 3.7
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:* Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS USM
* Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM II
* Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (Original)
price paid:120 AUD (used)
positive:* Very sharp at f/5.6, especially compared to Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS and other primes
* Good bokeh
* Reasonably fast autofocus speed
* Okay Macro mode
* Tough build quality
* Relatively small
* Common 55mm filter thread
* Exceptional value at current prices, especially when compared to modern lens
negative:* Soft image quality wide open, requires at least one stop down
* Screw drive autofocus is noisy and can be hit and miss compared to more modern lens
* Prone to lens flare and high loss of contrast when shooting with sun in frame, requires lens hood
* Distorts at wider focal ranges
* Very long minimal focus distance
* Requires at least a little post processing to get the best out of it
* Not wide enough focal range for some on APS-C
* Lens creep
comment:Compared to the Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS USM, this lens is equally sharp when stopped down to f/5.6 and the colours are warmer. The Canon focuses faster and is less prone to lens flare at several times the price.

Compared to the Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM II, this lens is on a different level on an APS-C body where it takes advantage of the centre sharpness.

The Minolta focuses faster the the 18-55mm kit lens, although it is a lot noisier due to screw drive and average compared to more expensive lens. The lens is built tough and I would expect it to continue to last longer than any of the current plastic Sony kit and "Easy Choice" lens range, especially when there are working Minolta lens that are almost three decades old. The minimum focal distance is quite long which makes better to use outdoors.

Bokeh is also pleasant, though not as good as the Minolta 70-210mm f/4.

The Minolta requires a lens hood and loses considerable contrast when shooting with the sun in the frame and like many of the other first generation AF lens it suffers from lens flare.

For APS-C photographers on a budget who do not require the wide angle, or have another lens to fulfill this function, I highly recommend upgrading to this lens if you can find a mint used copy or:

* Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
* Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5 (original)

This is a step up for hobbyists on a budget who want a lens that can cover several focal range, is a lot sharper than the basic kit, good bokeh and are prepared to spend a few minutes post processing afterwards.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 155
  • sharpness: 4.78
  • color: 4.87
  • build: 4.87
  • distortion: 4.58
  • flare control: 4.09
  • overall: 4.64
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