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

reviewer#44425 date: Nov-14-2019
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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:Minolta - AF 24-85 F3.5-4.5 RS
Minolta - AF 24-105 F3.5-4.5 D
Minolta - AF 28-80 F4-5.6
Minolta - AF 28-80 F3.5-5.6 II
Minolta - AF 28-80 F3.5-5.6 D
Minolta - AF 28-80 xi F4-5.6
Minolta - AF 28-85 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-100 F3.5-5.6 D
Minolta - AF 28-105 xi F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28-135 F4-4.5
Minolta - AF 35-70 F4
Minolta - AF 35-70 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 35-80 F4-5.6
Minolta - AF 35-80 F4-5.6 xi
Minolta - AF 35-80 F4-5.6 II
Minolta - AF 35-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 35-105 F3.5-4.5 N
Minolta - AF 35-200 xi F4.5-5.6
Sony - DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM
Sony - AF DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony - AF DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM II
Sony - AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
price paid:30 GBP
positive:Constant aperture, sharp, compact and built like a tank. Stupidly cheap these days.
negative:Range, macro only at short end.
comment:Minolta produced a bewildering range of kit zooms for their basic level AF film bodies and this was the first and in many ways the best. However, its short zoom range does limit its appeal.

If I was to be picky it would be that the designers of the original Minolta AF range paid too little attention to the use of the lenses manually - so the focus ring is narrower than I would prefer.

A macro switch enables the lens to focus closer for 1:4 macro shots, but at the wide end of the zoom range - no doubt there are design reasons, but, as a user, I'd prefer it at the long end.

Sharpness is pretty good, well above that of later replacements.
Colours are pure Minolta.
Build is solid, over 30 years on they are still going strong.
Distortion is what you'd expect from an older lens, easily corrected in PP, but more than you would expect from a more recent design.
Flare is its biggest weakness a haziness can creep in well before the sun gets into the frame.

This lens makes little sense on APS-C; the kit Sony 18-55s have better IQ and are far more suited to most occasions - and the Sony 16-50 is immeasurably better. Perhaps it might come in useful as a standard to portrait telezoom? Just not as useful as, say, a 28-105.

On full frame the range makes a lot more sense, but not as much sense as the 28-105 or 24-85, which have better IQ too. Nevertheless it outperforms all the 28/35-70/80/100 base level kit lenses Minolta produced over the years. It's real competition is from the wider ranges of the mid-range zooms that Minolta produced as alternative kit lenses for the better camera bodies - such as the 28-85 and 35-105 from 1985, the later 24-105 and my favourites the 28-105 and 24-85.

In short, its a beautifully compact little lens that turns in a good performance, just not good enough to outweigh the disadvantages of the short zoom range and old lens coatings.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 189
  • sharpness: 4.51
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.36
  • flare control: 3.80
  • overall: 4.39
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