Minolta AF 35mm F1.4 G RS A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 10   
reviewer#11996 date: Sep-29-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-70Z
50/1.4
price paid:650 AUD used
positive:Colour
'Image rendering'
Build quality
negative:Sharpness under f2.8 (if this is what you need)
comment:I've been holding off several years to write this review and after a good look at my Lightroom catalogue recently can share the following thoughts.

Firstly, I'm in the adoring camp for this lens. I love the way it renders images, the colour especially, but the bokeh is also very nice. I should point out that my primary use for this lens is portraiture when the subject is within a few feet, mostly kids who don't get especially concerned with a camera shoved so closely to their faces.

I find sharpness at the larger apertures middling, but from f2.8 it is biting for my style of photographs. I have a fair bit of MFA dialled in to my A850 and always wondered if this was also playing a part in the softness wide open.

In short it's one of my favourites, one of they few that I feel made a good transition from film in my case. I would like to personally compare it with the Sigma Art one day.
reviewer#4718 date: Jan-20-2009
sharpness: 2.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:- Minolta 24/2.8
- Minolta & SAL-50/1.4
- 16-80za
- 24-70za
- 85za, 85G, 135za
price paid:1100 USD (Used)
positive:+ Build quality
+ Useful focus length on APS-C and FF
+ Good sharpness and bokeh in near macro shots
negative:- Expensive
- Now sharp wide open
- poor bokeh
- Non SSM
- Focusing ring rotates on focusing
comment:Sony's version of this lens is expensive as 85za and 135za, but optically they is not in one leage. Lens is not sharp up to F5.6 and on the same F M35G is less sharper than 24-70za wide open. Very good build quality, good colors. Quality bokeh is ugly in my opinion.
reviewer#4328 date: Nov-5-2008
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 20mm ƒ/2.8 Original
Minolta 24mm ƒ/2.8 Original
Minolta 28mm ƒ/2.0 Original
Minolta 50mm ƒ/2.8 Macro RS
Minolta 58mm ƒ/1.2 MC Rokkor PG
Sony 18-70mm ƒ/3.5-5.6
Sony 75-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6
price paid:about $950USD
positive:Dreamy tones
Rich colour
Creamy bokeh
Short minimum focus distance
Razor thin depth of field
Ultra fast aperature
Extremely solid build
Smooth focusing ring
Practical focal length for both FF and APS-C sensors
No noticable distortion
Nice weight for a900 body
negative:Softness wide open
Slight flare in harsh conditions
Slight CA in harsh conditions
Expensive
Slightly heavy for a100 body (but still a solid feel)
comment:I've had this lens for about a year.

Anyone who thinks this lens is about sharpness is either got a gem, is blind, or is fooling themselves.

This lens can not be appreciated until it's been used for awhile. At first, its softness is so very obvious, but often confused with razor thin shallow DOF. Sharpness improves when stopping down, by ƒ/4.0 pixel peepers will have a tough time criticizing it. It's not until you experiment with shots that demonstrate tones and colours and compare the results to other good lenses, does this lens shine and feel like a great lens.

On a cropped sensor in small rooms, 28mm can be more practical shooting people & parties. On a FF sensor, I'm still getting used to a true 'wide angle'.

If all you care about is sharpness and MTF tests, save your $ and get a 35/2.0 or 50 macro. If you want to paint a dream, this lens is perfect.
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:35/2
50/1.4
price paid:about US$1,000
positive:Colors
Bokeh

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.
reviewer#3356 date: Mar-13-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28 2.0
24 2.8
28-70 F2.8 G
28-75 D
35-105 F3.5-4.5
50 F1.7
price paid:989 USD NIB
positive:Sharp!
Build
Aperture (1.4)
Bokeh
negative:None really
comment:A magnificent piece of glass! I've had this lens for about a month, but took it on it's first real outing today. Incredibly sharp, even at 1.4, and gets better from there. Anybody who says this lens is not sharp has lost their mind. Take the time to learn how to use it. It does take patience.

Bokeh at 1.4 is creamier than anything else I've seen except the STF. Close ups at 1.4 really do look 3d-ish because of this separation of subject from background. For many close ups I used manual focusing and it was a charm. Smooth and wide focus ring makes for easy manual focusing. Built well and balances nicely on my A100 and A700.

Distortion - what? Flare - where?

I've seen CA on very high contrast situations (treetops and sky). But this is the case with all my lenses (including 85G and 28-70G). I can't gig this lens because of that. I guess it's normal.

This has been my best lens purchase so far. Very lucky and thankful to find it new.
reviewer#2727 date: Sep-14-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 16mm, 20mm, 85mmG, 135mmSTF, 17-35mmG, 28-105mm, 28-70mmG, 70-200mmG, macro1-3x, 200mmAPO-G

price paid:850 Euros(2nd hand)
positive:Crisp photos. Rich & slightly warm colours. Imho a subtle but brilliant tool. F1.4. Tack sharp, no distortion or chrom atic aberration
seen by me. Very sturdy 'G' build, but 'relatively' light.Circular aperture.
negative:Ehhh, expensive. As I also use the 17-35mm, I really had to think trice before I bought this gem. But hey, you only live once. With the 1.5 factor it becomes a 'standard' lens. (52mm, but results far above standard!, :-))
comment:While reading thru other members reviews I found it hard to find superlatives for reviewing this lens. We all share the feeling and opinion that this is a GREAT lens.

On the 7D I programmed the focus hold button for dof check.
reviewer#2723 date: Sep-13-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 30/1.4 DC
Minolta 28-70/2.8 G
Minolta 17-35/3.5 G
price paid:$1,200 USD used
positive:Love the minolta colors! Bokeh to die for
negative:Value... i'll explain below
comment:I just couldn't justify keeping this lens. Let me explain. It had nothing to do with IQ, at all. I found myself rarely using the f1.4-f2.8 range on this lens. I used it at a wedding, and only f3.2 and above. Even some 'creative' shots were only at f2, and those were few and far between. I suppose my shooting style just didn't warrant a lens of focal length and of this specialty. Compared to the other Minoltas, it had the same colors and sharpness. In order to keep a $1200 lens, I want to WANT to use it, and I just didn't have the desire to do so as much as I needed to justify keeping it. I did pick up a less expensive Sigma 30/1.4 to replace it, but the siggy didn't have near the contrast that the 35G had, but nice OOF areas which I am used to achieving. I am sure I will miss it someday.

Flare was given a 5, since it was never really 'tested' outdoors, except for onece, in which it was successful.

No distortion at all - perfect.

The build - good grief this is one mean metal lens. I had to remove it from checked luggage because I was over the max weight - it easily weighs 3lbs by itself! Lots of glass. I would literally break down in tears if I ever dropped this one. For some reason, I don't think it would survive even one strong drop to concrete. If i have time later, I'll do the mass x acceleration formula to give you the amount of force this baby would undergo.

MF ring is a joy to use compared to the first gen lenses. AF accuracy was always really fast, but sometimes off due to limited DOF that it can achieve.
reviewer#1223 date: Sep-24-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:17-35 f3.5G, 28-70 f2.8G at the same range.
For distortion : Beats 28-70 slightly; beats 17-35 in a bigger margain.
price paid:
missing
positive:Bright viewfinder image.
Sharp.
Slightly high contrast.
Extract the most amount of color details in a low light situation of all the minolta glass I owned... "King of low light"
negative:Expensive.
comment:The best Minolta glass I owned; richest tone, color and details; especially in low light situations.

Excellent micro contrast, produces outstanding "3-D"ish image.

Together with the 85 1.4GD, my daily walk around combo with A900.

reviewer#854 date: May-31-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:35mm f2 RS
Other G-series
price paid:
missing
positive:G-series build quality
Internal focusing
Fast apperture
Image quality
negative:Extremely hard to get
Not cheap
comment:Finally I got my hands on one of these beautiful lenses.

Sharpness/Resolution : Simply outstanding. You will never be dissapointed with this lens.

Color rendition : Simply outstanding.

Build Quality : Outstanding. All metal. As you would expect from a hand made G-series lens.

Distortion : None that I have seen.

Flare Control : Excellent. No problems. Probably due to G-series build, an outstanding optical design and good coatings.

What can I say? I simply love this lens. Expensive but worth every cent. If you can find one, buy it! It wont let you down.

NB: I paid almost AU$2000 for this and still consider it money well spent. Thats how good I think it is.
reviewer#83 date: Jun-16-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:nikon 35mmf2 and nikon 50mmf1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:excellent sharpness and fully usable at f1.4
negative:expensive but worth the money
comment:This lens used with a 7D is excellent for handheld photography in low light. It is fully usable at wide open at f1.4 unlike my nikon d100 + 50f1.4. build quality is superb and front element does not rotate or extend during focussing.
I'm not quite sure what to make of the focus hold button though, seems a bit pointless on a lens like this.
The narrow depth of field showed up a backfocus error in my 7D but this is to do with the camera not the lens.
reviews found: 10   

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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