Minolta AF 50mm F2.8 Macro RS A-mount lens review by macronut

reviewer#11736 date: Mar-19-2014
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Original Minolta 50mm macro
Minolta 50mm 1.4
Tamron 60mm f2 macro
Konica Minolta 100mm 2.8 macro
price paid:Gift
positive:Sharp
Wider focusing ring than original.
Easy to find and cheap. Best deal in A-mount macro.
Focus limiter switch.
Extending barrel means no hood is necessary to keep out stray light.
negative:Not a D lens
Small working distance at 1:1
loud AF
Extends when focusing.
comment:BUY THIS LENS.

This is a great lens and the first Minolta lens I paired with my Sony Alpha body. Let me start by saying that this is by far the very best value in A-mount macro lenses. Only a few years ago it was fetching about $250 consistently and was well worth it. These days it can be found for $175-$200. What a steal. This lens remains popular because it is well made and delivers fine results.

Images are mostly unchanged, but that is where the similarities end with the original model. The RS model is better, yet sells for only about $25 more. Do not buy the original to save that tid bit. It is known to have the potential for developing an internal problem. Besides, the RS has a much much more friendly manual focus ring. That upgrade alone is worth the extra cash, considering manual is often used for macro shooting. Minolta also added a limiter switch. It is also just plain nicer looking. In short, there is no reason to choose the original.

Until i bought the Tamron 60mm f2 Macro, I used this lens often. I still use it alot as a dedicated macro and will never sell it. This is my go-to macro lens when using Novoflex Balmin-AF Bellows. But the Tamron sees more use these days based on it's versatility. It is a better walkaround prime than the Minolta. Niether compares to the 50 1.4 in terms of focus speed, but the Tamron is fairly satisfying when used as a walkaround prime. The Tammy beats the Minolta 2.8 macro in terms of smooth bokeh. Sharpness and color are too close to declare a winner. Focus speed is similar. Tamron has far better working distance at 1:1, which is a big plus. The Tamron is also double the price and limited to use on aps-c. On a side note, the Tamron doesn't function on my Novoflex Bellows.

Compared to the newer model made by Konica Minolta and now Sony, the performance is on par. However, these newer models do have ADI. Also I do slightly prefer that the new model has the magnification markings on the barrel as it extends.

As I said earlier, this lens is the best deal hands-down. Unless you insist on ADI, quieter focus, or more working distance, paying double the money to buy the Tamron is unjustified. Choosing the KM or Sony is very questionable because they sell for alot more than this lens, even used. Other than ADI, they aren't much different really. As this was the glass that got my Macro enthusiasm started, I fell in love with it. I recommend it whole-heartedly. I don't see the price of these dipping much lower. It will hold its value better than buying a brand new Sony, Sigma or Tamron.

For you Minolta diehards...

Please give this lens its just due. It deserves legendary status alongside the likes of all the old favorites.


rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 26
  • sharpness: 4.92
  • color: 4.85
  • build: 4.65
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.54
  • overall: 4.79
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