Minolta AF 85mm F1.4 G RS A-mount lens review by flashx

reviewer#10095 date: Apr-9-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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 135mm f/2.8
- Minolta 100mm Macro f/2.8
- Sony 85mm f/2.8
- Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5
- Sony Zeiss ZA 85mm f/1.4
price paid:900 USD (used)
positive:- Tack sharp.
- Wonderful DOF.
- Nice bokeh.
- Colour rendition. ( Minolta Colours)
- AF is at a decent speed for this generation of lens.
- Solid metal build.
- Really sharp corner to corner (beyond f/2, f/1.4-2 is still quite acceptable.)
negative:- Expensive but can be justified with the quality of this lens.
- CA when light source is strong.
- Some flaring issues.
- Lens a bit loud for video work.
- heavy ( but expected from metal lens construction of this grade of lens).
comment:The Minolta 85mm f/1.4 is really a legendary lens you owe yourself to put into your lens arsenal. This lens' sharpness and shallow DOF can make some ordinary scenes turn into some amazing pieces of art.

Compared to the Minolta 135mm f/2.8, the colour rendition is very similar but the sharpness is a few notches better. (Mainly because of the corner spots). The AF is just as fast. The bokeh is definitely better on the 85mm. The 85mm has a bit better CA control.

Compared to the Minolta 100mm macro f/2.8, the colours are the same Minolta colours. The sharpness are very similar. The AF is definitely a few folds faster on the 85mm. The CA under strong lighting for both lens are also quite similar.

For those who have the Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5 legendary zoom, the colour and the sharpness from such a lens is very very similar to the qualities of the 85mm f/1.4. The 85mm f/1.4 is a much faster lens and can achieve to do something zoom can't but these 2 lenses can help you start your professional work for sure.

As for the more current 85mm lenses, although the Sony 85mm f/2.8 is a solid performer in terms of sharpness, colour, distortion control and CA control, it does still made me desire about shallower DOF. For beginners jumping into photography, the 85mm f/2.8 is definitely a good lens to start getting familiar with the focal length for portrait work. Especially with the D function on the lens. The Minolta 85mm f/1.4 doesn't have the D function or a SAM motor but the bokeh and colour rendition is definitely worth the upgrade. The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, I rented it and did some comparison. I love what the Zeiss offered, very very similar performances by both lens. Zeiss has a bit of an upper hand with sharpness when wide open. The Zeiss is also $800 more right now with the price increase. Other than that, both are equally as good. Did not test with Sigma, as the HSM copy my buddy has doesn't work with A77. He needs to send it in for re-chipping.

In conclusion, you ought to look at the Minolta 85mm f/1.4, if you are a serious Alpha photographer. It is expensive but this is going to stop your lens lust for a while. If you are deciding between 85mm lenses and if money isn't an issue, Zeiss is the way to go for the ultimate prize. The Sony 85mm f/2.8 is a good alternative if you can't plop all that cash on the table. The Minolta 85mm f/1.4 is good compromise between having all the good features of a 85mm if you can find a deal somewhere.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 50
  • sharpness: 4.80
  • color: 4.96
  • build: 4.92
  • distortion: 4.94
  • flare control: 4.60
  • overall: 4.84
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