Minolta AF 85mm F1.4 G D Limited A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 4   
reviewer#44469 date: Feb-20-2020
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:-Minolta 85mm f1.4 G D (the normal version)
-Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM (not directly, from limited usage, samples online and a very limited number of comparison reviews)
-Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM (not directly)
*Please see my review on the normal Minolta 85 f1.4 lens as reference to compare to many other 85mm equivalent lenses
price paid:Lots of pennies
positive:-Bokeh, what this limited edition Minolta 85 is made for
-Colours and rendering, simply unique like its rarity
-Excellent build quality
-Reasonably fast and accurate AF
-Lens ergonomics
negative:-No weather and dust sealing
-Extends when AF
-No SSM means AF can be noisy and can be slower than modern lenses
-CA wide open comparing to modern lenses
-AF Can hunt and not as accurate and not as fast indoor
-No AF-D support on A99, A99II
-Usability much reduced on E mount cameras with LAEA3&4
-Bigger and heavier than the normal Minolta 85 f1.4, however not really a negative as all modern fast 85mm are big(ger) and heavy(ier).
comment:What can I say? I was lucky enough to get a copy of this very rare lens and boy it is defiantly a keeper.

This lens may not able to compare to the new 85mm lenses sharpness and CA wise such as the Sigma Art, Zeiss Otus/Milvus, Sony's very 85 GM and the new Canon 85mm RF lens, however its strength and beauty lies in its bokeh and rendering character.

The normal Minolta 85mm f1.4 G D lens is already excellent optically with stunning bokeh and draws beautifully. This limited lens, may not be head and shoulders above the normal one, however it does give an extra kick in the bokeh department and that also helps with the overall character. You can definitely notice the limited lens has an even smoother almost STF like bokeh. I also noticed that the CA and sharpness is slightly improved on the limited lens at least against the copy of the normal Minolta 85mm f1.4 G D lens that I used to own.

Having used the 85mm GM for a very limited time and seen 1 or 2 review directly comparing the 2, I can see the GM is sharper and has less CA and less bokeh fringing, they draw very slightly differently however. The GM is an example of great modern lens design, it truly is a stunning lens optically speaking. However, I do prefer the Minolta 85 limited in character slightly more, and I think the Minolta is very so slightly smoother in the transitions from focused area to the defocused area. Some say that when Sony was designing the 85 GM they looked at the Minolta 85 limited as reference, not sure how true, however they have certainly done well to replicate its predecessor.

Speaking stunning optical performance, all the newer 85mm lenses seem to get this right, however character seem to be where most new lenses forgets. Among all of them, the Sony 85 GM seems to get it right, and the new Canon RF 85mm f1.2 lens also seems to have an extremely nice rendering too. I would go as far as saying the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 is the best 85mm that's available in turns of overall optical performance and it seem to match or even slightly beat the Sony GM in bokeh and rendering department, and that means the Minolta 85 limited's bokeh & rendering crown is again challenged... However I do feel the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L can be almost too sharp sometimes for portraits and that may affect overall character, depends on your preference.

Overall I have to give credit to Minolta to achieve such a great feat many years back and designed a marvel of lens in the from of 85mm limited that continue to stun even today and not even today's very best 85mm lenses can match its unique character.
reviewer#14228 date: Apr-20-2015
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Everything else I've ever used.
price paid:many dollars!
positive:Bokeh, Bokeh, BOKEH!
Colors!
Build
Sharpness
negative:Price
Rarity
Scared to use it for fear of the slightest damage to my baby!
comment:As we all know, 85mm lenses are traditionally known as portrait lenses. As a portrait lens on FF, I assume this lens is in a league of its own. I do not have a FF body to verify this. It is abit long on apsc for portrait work. This lens, the fisheye, and the STF are reason enough for me to buy a FF camera in the future. I LOVE THIS LENS.

Colors are classic Minolta all the way; rich, warm and inviting. I assume Minolta's other 85's deliver pleasing color as well. I do not have comparison shots. All i can say is that this lens delivers the best colors you will find.

Sharpness is very good. No reason to score this baby less than a 5. Some say Zeiss is sharper. That may be true. But the difference is likely negligible and you would be trading that meaningless sharpness by giving away superb colors and bokeh. In my opinion this lens is the ultimate portrait lens. If your intended use is portraits and the Zeiss is marginally sharper, who cares?

Bokeh is a homerun! This is a real cream machine. Nothing more need be said.

It is a G lens and a Limited Edition at that. Naturally, the build is absolutley fantastic.

AF is accurate. Nothing to complain about really.

With the right background and distance behind subject, ive seen some beautiful images with that "3D pop" people like so much.

I bought this lens for a price that would have bought me several other lenses I would love to own. It is definitely hard to justify the cost. But having used this gem, any other 85mm would somehow feel second rate. There are so few of these to go around, so it is a collectors piece just as much as a lens to actually use. Mine is in %100 mint condition with all the original box contents. A true joy to own. Sadly I do find myself very reluctant to use it often, for fear of an accident.

For all intents and purposes, the non-LE version of this lens will deliver all you need. The LE version isnt a lens that any person truly needs. This is a want!

**UPDATE**

I have used this on FF now, after buying the A900. To summarize, it’s a match made in Heaven.
reviewer#12032 date: Nov-15-2014
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-200G ssm
Sony 85 mm F1.4 za
Cannon 85mm F1.2 L
price paid:3000 usd
positive:Fanstic Bokeh
Very Shapeness at F1.4
Very Clear Color
negative:Very High Price
Slow Focusing
comment:The AF 85mm F1.4 G-D Limited Lens is a Masterpiece.
I have Used this lens on A900. this lens's focusing area is very Shapeness but out of focusing area is very fanstic bokeh.
reviewer#9621 date: Nov-24-2011
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:many prime lenses from Zeiss, Minolta, Sony and Leica
price paid:around 3000 USD
positive:- Colors greatly corrected
- unique pleasant bokeh
- very even quality across the whole frame
- no vignetting at F1.4
negative:- slight barrel distortion
- slow focusing
- big, long and heavy
comment:The 85mm G Limited is an exceptional lens in several areas. I was told, every lens has vignetting – but you wont notice it with this lens on FF-Sensor at F1.4. Sometimes I have to add a vignette in PP to give more attention to the center. The high quality of this lens is very even across the whole frame. Corners look very similar to the center even when viewing at 100%.

Auto-Focus: Its not an action lens, but snappy, accurate and reliable even at low light. Its not slower than other portrait lenses.

Bokeh: There is different taste. But this lenses bokeh is different from any of my other lenses. You hardly get that dizzy/swirley bokeh like other high speed lenses do under certain circumstances. And it isn’t just a smeary bokeh – details and large structures are somehow well preserved. There is excellent color and contrast in the bokeh. Purple-fringing is strongly reduced.

Colors: Never let you down - very accurat and consistent. Colors come pleasing out of the box. I need by far the least Post Processing (WB and colors) of all my lenses. Colors look very natural, especially skin-tones. Green is very well corrected. It is also my best lens in artificial light.

Contrast: Zeisses have more micro-contrast and look maybe somehow sharper. Also does the excellent 85G. But Details are all there and contrast in large structures, in the colors, in the bokeh and over the whole picture, is excellent and different to my other lenses. Edge contrast is also very good. It preserves shadow details in a good manner. Resistance against flares and bright backlight is very strong.

Character/Drawing: It has its own, a nice one despite it faults are corrected to a high degree. But pictures do not look as sterile as many modern lenses do (like the newest Zeiss manual 50mm F1.4). This lens shines in the treatment of the colors.

Sony: should make such a 50mm F1.4

Moderator: I want to post some examples in the subforum. But that option is not available.
reviews found: 4   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 4
  • sharpness: 5.00
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 5.00
  • overall: 5.00

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