Minolta AF 35mm F1.4 G RS A-mount lens review by revdocjim

reviewer#4327 date: Nov-5-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:35/2
price paid:about US$1,000

negative:a tad soft wide open
AF not spot on in low light
comment:I first got this lens as an upgrade to the 35/2 simply because I wanted the best. But I had never really gotten the hang of the 35mm focal length and when I got the 1.4 I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I knew it was a very valuable and fabulous lens. I could tell that just holding it in my hand. But I wasn't sure how to bring out the best in it. I was surprised to notice that in some cases the 35/2 was clearly the sharper of the two lenses. And just exactly how do you use f/1.4 anyway???

Well, I don't claim to have this lens mastered at all. But I have really come to appreciate it. Of course, in generic terms the 35mm focal length is a great party lens. Shots of 1-3 people often call for this focal length. I will often take along a flash and set it to wireless. I hold it in my left hand and get nice people shots.

But that sort of shooting doesn't even come close to justifying a $1000 lens. Over time I have discovered that the strong points of this lens are the rich, warm colors and the bokeh. Minimum focus distance is under 1 foot so you can get really close to your subject.

While longer lenses like the 85/1.4, 100macro, 200/2.8 tend to give you completely OOF backgrounds that turn completely creamy, at 35mm the background is often only slightly OOF. But that is where this lens shines. The bokeh on things that are just OOF is wonderful.

So, shoot during the golden hours, and paint your picture with foreground and background always in mind. I like to think of this lens as a paintbrush.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 10
  • sharpness: 4.45
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.70
  • overall: 4.83
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