Minolta AF 85mm F1.4 A-mount lens review by awa54

reviewer#44329 date: Jul-1-2019
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 85mm f1.4 G D
Minolta 50mm F1.4
Minolta 28-135mm f4-4.5
Minolta 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 (original)
price paid:350USD
positive:*so* sharp without being clinical
Minolta colors
No flare issues with hood fitted
ultimate DOF control
negative:long MFD
flare control isn't as good as later versions

comment:This lens is so good at what it does... center sharpness is there even wide open, contrast and edge sharpness pick up to near perfect levels between f2.8 and f4, superb bokeh and most importantly to me the images are packed with detail, but don't have that over-sharp/too-contrasty look that lens makers seem to be designing for these days.

That said, neither does this lens make "vintage feel" images like many sought after classic lenses do... It has most of the attributes of modern designs, just not "kicked up a notch" to over-emphasize sharpness and micro-contrast. There is one area where it shows its age though: in DOF CA, there are definitely strong chromatic fringes in the out of focus part of shots that make use of wider apertures, the look is a bit "vintage" but not terribly so and it's a "feature" for me rather than a failing...

If anything, this lens is better within its range than the 50/1.4 is, though that lens is well deserving of its status as a classic and each focal length has its own strengths. The two zooms mentioned above can make great images at 85mm, but the lack of light gathering, the slightly poorer sharpness/distortion/contrast and the much busier bokeh they offer all add up to the 85/1.4 being a big step up in IQ for most uses.

These are getting more affordable as the A-mount fades away, so if you still shoot this mount or are OK with an adapter to E-mount, grab one!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 56
  • sharpness: 4.76
  • color: 4.80
  • build: 4.88
  • distortion: 4.96
  • flare control: 4.43
  • overall: 4.77
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania