Minolta AF 35-70mm F4 A-mount lens review by Miranda F

reviewer#23457 date: Dec-25-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.1
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:Lots of Minolta, Sony, and Tamron lenses
price paid:£10 s/h
positive:Nice dinky size
solid build
good to handle
Seems reasonably sharp
Macro is useable and useful (unlike some!)
A good choice for walk-around on a film camera
Filter thread doesn't turn with focus or zoom
negative:Zoom range is limited, particularly on APS-C
Veiling and flare as you'd expect.
f4 is a bit slow for film
comment:It's a very nice lens to have and to use, if you don't find the focal length range a problem. One of the better lenses from the early Minolta period, I think, and smaller than the Tamron adaptall 35-70mm f3.5.
On the Dynax 4/5 film cameras it has a good macro range, especially with a Kenko 2x teleconverter fitted (any of them will work, not just the later ones which are needed for SAM and SSMlenses).
Note that despite what some people have suggested, there is no missing distance range in macro - the macro switch simply locks out the macro range; If you hold the switch out, you can focus continuously into and out of macro range and in full macro its MFD is quite useable - note that you will need to use the normal focus as well to get the closest approach.
Absolute performance optically is good enough, even in macro, to be useable, though as with all older lenses the lens coatings are not as good as more modern designs, so you will wlays need to shield the sun (and bight artificial lights at night) away with your hand whether you have a lens hood fitted or not (frankly lens hoods are usually a waste of time on medium to wide angle lenses).
I'm not sure whether the constant f4 aperture is a benefit over the alternative f3.5-4.5, but it is okay for normal use. On film the lens gives a useful focal length range, but on digital you'd often be better off with the Minolta 50mm f1.8 or DT35mm f1.8 and cropping. But ovcerall a lens well worth considering.
Oh, the filter mount is strong enough to stand putting a reversed lens on the front if you want some FF 1:1 macro!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 185
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.36
  • flare control: 3.80
  • overall: 4.39
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