Minolta AF 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by Pioneer

reviewer#44253 date: Mar-26-2019
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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:Other primes and zooms including those from Sigma, Zeiss and others.
price paid:$12 used with camera
positive:- Highest value AF lens I own
- Very light
- Quite sharp
- Easy to Use
- Great colors
- Near macro capability
- Very inexpensive
negative:- Plastic build quality (which is what makes it light.)
- Can be frustrating in low light as it has a hard time focusing, but I think that is the fault of the camera, not the lens.
- Like other older zoom lenses this lens can flare, especially when the sun is just off to the right or left of the lens. Using a hood usually takes care of this but sometimes it will cause a problem.
- Plastic lens mount could be considered a problem though it appears to have worked for over 30 years without a problem.
- If you like to use a circular polarizer filter then you need to be aware that the barrel that your filter screws into rotates when it focuses. This doesn't bother me but it does bother others sometimes.
comment:I am actually quite impressed with this little lens. I am not typically a big fan of zoom lenses but this particular lens has really changed my mind. As I get older my eyes are not getting any better and this little auto focus lens has kept my photography fun and enjoyable for a very, very low outlay of money.
Right now I use this on my Minolta Maxxum 5000 which is a somewhat clumsy camera to use, but the combination is hard to leave alone because it is so simple to use. The camera and lens together are very light, very easy to carry and provide amazingly good image quality. If you like using Kodak Portra or Fuji Velvia color films then this is certainly the lens for you. Those famous Minolta colors will almost certainly blow your mind, especially in the right light.
When you consider that I paid $12, including shipping, for this camera and lens, I really doubt that you will find a better value. I keep waiting for either the camera or the lens to quit working, but each has worked flawlessly for over 10 years. In that ten years it has traveled to quite a few beaches, up several mountains, and on a lot of trips to exotic locales, and I have quit worrying about whether or not it will work when I get there. A few triple AAA batteries every now and again, a few rolls of color or black and white film, and you have great entertainment and a wonderful record of what you and your family have been doing. If you can only carry one lens then this is probably a great candidate. 35mm to 70mm covers quite a bit of range allowing photography both indoors and outdoors, and the lens can even get very, very close in, within 20 inches, for some nice, near macro shots.
This is certainly not the best lens in the world. But I am pretty sure that the best lens, whatever that would be, will cost a whole lot more money to buy, will almost certainly be heavier, probably larger, and will not provide any better entertainment for an afternoon nor will it provide any better memories than this lens does.
You can take my word for it, this is a terrific value even today. Whether or not you are an amateur hobbyist, a pro, or maybe a little of both, this lens will be a very useful addition to your kit.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 59
  • sharpness: 4.52
  • color: 4.68
  • build: 3.37
  • distortion: 4.34
  • flare control: 4.02
  • overall: 4.18
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