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

reviewer#45658 date: Mar-9-2021
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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:AF 85mm F1.4 G
Vivitar Series-1 (Tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro (MF lens)
Porst (Tomioka-Cosina) 55mm F1.4 (MF lens)
Many other telephoto lenses
price paid:350 GBP
positive:Amazing 3-D feels when taken portraits!
negative:Bokeh not as creamy soft as my Vivitar 90mm F2.5 Macro.
Quite a bit of purple fringing wide open up where it is slightly off the focus. By F2.8 this is improved a lot.
comment:This is an excellent lens but not in a normal way. If I'm asked to evaluate the performance scientifically, I cannot give highest scores in some aspects.

When used wide open, which is the main use of this lens I think, I would say it is sharp for F1.4. But I think the value of this lens is softness rather than sharpness, at least for me.

Unfortunately the bokeh is not as creamy soft as my Vivitar 90mm. Photos tend to show a little harsh edges in bokeh when there are things near behind the main object. I'm not completely happy about this. That's why I gave 4 for sharpness.

Also, purple fringing is on the high side at wide open. CA occurs not where it is focused but where it is slightly off the focus. This actually bothers me quite a bit. The reason for 4 for color.

But these problems occur or matter mainly when taking plants and landscape. Once you take portraits a miracle happens! All these issues vanishes or at least stop bothering me. The ultra-wide aperture melts away any harsh edges or purple fringing. What is left is amazing portraits. Looks like this is a lens highly optimised to take human faces.

I bought the G version of this lens as well for comparison. And they perform exactly the same way. So above mentioned characteristics are not specific to one copy. Because I prefer the original edgy design to the newer rounded one, I think I will keep this one and sell the G version.

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
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