Minolta AF 50mm F3.5 Macro A-mount lens review by Phil Wood
|Phil Wood#44284 date: May-8-2019|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Sony - AF DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM|
Minolta - AF 50 F2.8 Macro
Sigma - 70 F2.8 EX DG Macro
Sigma - 90 F2.8 Macro
Minolta - AF 100 F2.8 Macro D
Minolta AF 50mm F1.4
Minolta - AF 50 F1.7
Sony - AF DT 50 F1.8 SAM
|price paid:||55 GBP|
|positive:||Sharp, light, 1:2 macro.|
|negative:||Only 1:2, f3.5, plastic build.|
|comment:||This lens was produced as a low cost alternative to the 50mm f2.8 RS 1:1 macro - and Minolta made a very good job of it. This is a very capable macro lens, the smaller aperture is of little consequence and most macro shots don't need 1:2 - when it was released the cost saving on its more expensive stablemate made it an attractive choice. However, it has developed a reputation of near perfection, and now sells for as much or more than the f2.8 macros - which is insane. Yes its a very good lens, but the first f2.8 is as sharp, better built, has a wider aperture, and has 1:1 capability. The second generation RS has all of the above and a focus limiter, the Min D/Sony add ADI capability.|
I have four Minolta 50mms and this is my least favourite, least used - not because it is a bad lens, just that the others do what they do better that it can do and there is nothing it can do that none of the others can. The f1.4 & f1.7 aren't as sharp wide open - but they open a lot wider, the f2.8 is as sharp, has 1:1 macro and simply feels so much better (I seriously like that lens).
Compared to my other macros:
The Sony DT 30mm is even more plasticky and it's 1:1 involves getting so close that it gets silly - the f3.5 wins.
The Sigma 70mm seems better built, but you always worry a little about what's inside a Sigma in terms of gear stripping, it too requires absurdly close work for full magnification - f3.5 wins.
The Sigma 90mm is very nice, a solid compact lens that is very reminiscent of the Min 50mm f2.8 somehow I don't worry about its innards. Like the f3.5 it is 1:2 only, but at a nice stand-off,the f3.5 just edges it on sharpness. I think I'll call it a draw.
The Min 100mm f2.8 D is the best macro lens I have experience of and a very fine short tele / portait lens. I love it, the f3.5 loses this one.
You can, of course, also use it as a 50mm prime, it just doesn't make much sense to do so if you have so many alternatives.
I really wanted to like this lens more than I do and it really is a very nice, very capable lens, but I just don't feel the love.