Minolta AF 50mm F1.4 RS A-mount lens review by steve_rolfeca

reviewer#3670 date: Jun-4-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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 18-70, 18-250
Minolta 70-210 F4.5/5.6
Prime lenses on various film cameras over the years- Konica, Cannon, Fuji, Leica
price paid:$299 CDN (new)
positive:Nice handling
Fast
Puts user in control of DOF
Attractive portraits made easy
Much sharper than kit zooms
negative:Flare and sensor reflections on Sony a200
comment:Nice lens, but frustrating on my DSLR due to flare and sensor reflections, especially when used with filters.

Side- and rear-lit photos were much improved compared to the kit lenses and my other zooms. Nice colour, quite sharp, resonable contrast, and nice OOF character. AF was much faster and more precise than slower zoom lenses. Manual focus was much easier with such a nice, bright viewfinder image.

Until I tried this lens, I had been quite disappointed by the lack of sharpness from my shiny new a200. With the 50 F1.4, the camera suddenly woke up- stopped down to F2.0, my best shots with this lens aren't far off the best I ever took in my film days.

However, the loss of IQ when shooting towards virtually any light source was a great disappointment. Flare and sensor reflections were evident in the viewfinder, as well as in my images. I'm surprised that more reviewers didn't pick up on this characteristic.

My local store has two brand-new leftovers in stock, and both show the same characteristic, so I didn't just get a bad one.

I still like it as a low-light lens, and probably would have kept it if my budget was more forgiving. In the end, I returned it for a full refund.

I still like the form factor and speed, though, so I will definitely check out the Sony version to see if it's more deserving of a "D" rating.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 37
  • sharpness: 4.64
  • color: 4.84
  • build: 4.70
  • distortion: 4.89
  • flare control: 4.30
  • overall: 4.67
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