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

reviewer#4165 date: Sep-30-2008
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 used to own this lens
compared to:other fast primes - 35, 50, 135, 90 macro
price paid:Ł575
positive:Colours and bokeh to make you weep
Cheaper than a Zeiss
Amazing piece of glass to own
Cinematic picture quality
negative:Agricultural AF
Nasty hood and cap
Not pin sharp at f/1.4 where zeiss is - but this is useful in portraiture.
comment:The perfect balance of sharpness and softness for flattering portraits. A great big fast polished diamond of a lens.

This lens makes you work hard on composition and focus at wide apertures but the results can make strong men go a bit weak and quiet. Clarity, colour, contrast, all unbeatable. The bokeh makes masterpieces out of snapshots, partly because the transition to blur is so stepless and partly because the colours are so nice. It seems to paint from a palette of 50 billion beautiful shiny colours. Prior to owning this lens I didn't know how many shades of white there could be on one cat's whisker.
It's a bit less 3d than longer primes like the 135 sometimes and AF is clunky, MFD a bit long, hood is horrible - but these shortcomings mean nothing. If insist on using filters, be prepared to spend big on the best quality - I used a Ł120 B+W polarizer outdoors and it didn't harm the pictures too badly.

I sold my 85 this year and it makes me sad to remember it.

Hopefully the 100mm f/2 I've bagged on ebay will make up for this, but secretly I know it won't have the magic of the 85.

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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