Minolta AF 35-80mm F4-5.6 II A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#23463 date: Jan-1-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:Sony DT 16-105
Sony DT 18-55 SAM I/II
Sony DT 18-70
Minolta AF 24-85
Minolta AF 28-80 D
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Minolta AF 28-105
Minolta AF 28-135
Minolta AF 35-70 F4
Minolta AF 35-105 Original
price paid:11 USD (used)
positive:Very small and light
Mostly parfocal
Sharp wide-open
Minimal CA
Smooth zoom mechanism
Close focusing
Deeper hood than 28-xx/18-xx kit zooms
negative:Slow aperture
Moderate purple fringing wide-open, worst on wide end
Minor focus shift with zoom
Moderate focus breathing
Rotating filter threads
Narrow, hard plastic focus ring
Some barrel distortion at 35 mm
comment:A couple of nice looking silver copies purchased on eBay. On the first the ribbon cable to the focal encoder had come partially unglued maybe from the cold and got stuck in the zoom mechanism which then cut through the cable severing 4 of the wires. Auto focus doesn't work without focal length information. I was impressed enough with it that I purchased a second fully-working copy for the same price. "MALAYSIA"

F4.5 40 mm
F5 40 to 55 mm

This lens works similarly to the more recent kit lenses. Like the later 28-80 and 28-100 D lenses it is shortest at the 50 mm setting. It is smaller than those lenses, but slightly longer than the older 35-70 lens. It seem to be the lightest A-mount zoom--about the same weight as the DT 30 Macro. The zoom mechanism is very smooth and nicely dampened. It is much smoother and quiter than the other kit lenses even slightly better than the 18-55 SAM II. The rubber grip is a bit wider than the one on the 18-55 and much better than the narrow hard one on the 35-70 f/4. The hard plastic focus grip on the end of the barrel is horrible and basically useless with a hood attached.

The first copy is sharper than the more expensive normal zooms. It also doesn't have the warm color cast of the original 35-70 and 35-105 zooms. The second copy of the 35-80 II is much softer on long end. The third copy is in between. All show a good deal of purple fringing wide open at the short end of the zoom range.

The hood bayonet is identical to the 70-210 f/4.5-5.6. The larger hood from that lens should work well for this lens on APS-C bodies. The original hood is slightly larger than the clip-on hood on the 35-70 f/4.

Overall pretty good performance out of such a tiny, light zoom lens. The focal range is good for portraiture on APS-C. The extra 10 mm at the long end is probably not worth the stop loss compared to 35-70 f/4. The much closer focusing is an advantage over the other lenses. The heavy purple fringing in shadows near high contrast wide open at 35 mm is a drawback, but it mostly goes away by f/5.6.

Test chart comparison on an A65 with the 35-70 F4 and others.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 26
  • sharpness: 4.38
  • color: 4.69
  • build: 3.54
  • distortion: 4.19
  • flare control: 3.62
  • overall: 4.08
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