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

reviewer#25504 date: Feb-25-2016
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 16-80 CZ
Sony DT 16-105
Sony DT 18-55 SAM I/II
Sony DT 18-70
Sony DT 18-135 SAM
Minolta AF 24-50 F4
Minolta AF 24-85
Minolta AF 24-105 D
Minolta AF 28-80 D
Minolta AF 28-85
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Minolta AF 28-105
Minolta AF 28-135
Minolta AF 35-80 II
Minolta AF 35-105 Original
Sigma AF 28-105 F2.8-4
Sigma AF 35-135 F3.5-4.5
price paid:20 USD (used)
positive:Small when fully retracted at 70 mm
Flat focus plane at 70 mm
Minimal CA
negative:Limited 2X range
Soft wide-open
Moderate purple fringing at long end
Fairly long minimum focus distance
Somewhat varifocal
Uneven zoom action
Tiny, hard control grips
Barrel distortion on wide end
Rotating filter thread
comment:The original Minolta AF kit zoom lens. The initial list price on this lens in 1985 was $175 the same price as the 50 F1.4 and $35 more than the 28 F2.8 and 135 F2.8 primes. It currently sells for more than the later Minolta kit zooms maybe because of its constant f/4 aperture. "JAPAN"

The zoom mechanism is rather uneven like some of the other Minolta and Sony kit lenses.

Image quality is not similar to the inexpensive primes nor is it even as sharp as the 35-80 II. But it does show less heavy purple fringing than that lens at 35 mm. It is a little slower than the 1985 35-105 F3.5-4.5 on the wide end and no faster at 70 mm. It does at least focus a little closer than that lens. The current 18-55 kit is sharper at 35 mm and isn't too far off at its long end.

The deeper hood from the 100-200 f/4.5 works well on this lens for APS-C bodies. The similar but slightly smaller twist-on hood from the 35-80 II doesn't fit well.

Overall the 35-70 f/4 is a decent, little full-frame lens, but it has some big limitations. The later kit lens are arguably more useful.

Test chart comparison on an A65 with the 24-50 F4, Carl Zeiss 16-80, Tamron 17-50 F2.8, and Sony DT 18-135 SAM.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 190
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.36
  • flare control: 3.79
  • overall: 4.39
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