Minolta AF 35-200mm xi F4.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by dumbasadoorknob

reviewer#7952 date: Sep-8-2010
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
24-105D
price paid:usd 95 used
positive:short 6x zoom
light
indestructible
common filter size
negative:color fringing
lack of acuity
pernickety zoom
cold colors
comment:I bought this lens for my daughter as a one-size fits all lens for her young children. It's good enough -- just; but it's just not Minolta.

The original xi plan called for eight electrical contacts -- but it's not capable of using its eight contacts as Automatic Distance Integration for flash, any more than any other non-D lens is. The original concept of maintaining focus size on a moving object while zooming automatically isn't implemented in any non-xi camera. The electric zoom assist sometimes assists, and sometimes annoys. So this lens stands and falls on its image quality -- which is certainly OK, but is not better than OK.

The lens produces a brighter image on the sensor than appears in the viewfinder -- consistently, and this is different from all my other Minolta lenses -- so I think it was designed differently from the normal Minolta color scheme. The colors aren't Minolta, but colder: there are a lot of color shifts to purple at the edges; the edges of objects appear more definite than normal, but that is modified by the lack of that really clear focus that Minolta lenses normally show.

It's not a bad lens -- on a grey evening tonight, using a Tamron 1.4X I could distinguish a hummingbird on a palm frond 120 feet distant. That's not bad at all -- but it's just not as good as the beercan, which can do this better, and without the extender.

It's short for a 200mm; it's light. It's very inexpensive at about $100-125 on the web. It's exactly the lens to throw in a backpack and bump around -- except there's always a really good scene one wants in that case; one wants the best image in the end, and the beercan is better. Heavier, but noticeably better.

I want to like this lens. I want to give it to my daughter, but I won't. If it doesn't really satisfy me, why should I expect it to satisfy her? I've got two other xis -- 28-105 and 80-200, and I like them less.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 23
  • sharpness: 4.24
  • color: 4.43
  • build: 4.35
  • distortion: 4.30
  • flare control: 3.74
  • overall: 4.21
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