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

reviewer#7536 date: Jun-6-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 100mm F2
price paid:
positive:Small depth of field.
Good sharpness wide open.
AF is a bit faster than I expected.
Bokeh CA (Yes I like this!)
Perfect portrait lens for APS-C.
Bokeh is better than Minolta 100mm f2.
negative:Bokeh wide open is a little nervous with specular highlight, but compensated by small DOF.
Cannot be used for tracking.
Veiling haze wide open.
Lower contrast wide open.
comment:My first real portrait lens is Minolta 100mm F2. It was a GREAT lens, and I can vouch for its sharpness wide open, raved by several people in reviews. However, after using it a while, I realized that MFD and long focal length (I'm using APS-C) are becoming deal breaker for me. So I think I need shorter focal length for portrait usage.

There was two lenses I considered at that time: Tamron 60mm f2 and Tamron 90mm f2.8. For cost reason I was thinking to unite macro and portrait lens at the same time. But I ran into a good deal of a Panasonic G1 for $100, and decided to keep that as my main macro platform. And what lucky I am, I also got a good deal on a Minolta 85mm f1.4. As macro usage no longer into consideration, I can freely choose a faster lens with longer MFD.

Enter Minolta 85mm f1.4. The lens is heavier than Minolta 100mm f2. The contrast is lower at wide open, but you can stop down to f2.8 for maximum contrast and sharpness. But at f1.4 the lens really shows its character. The details are high, but it masked by thin DOF, giving the subject on portrait pleasant, smooth look. I like this, as I ALWAYS PP my subject skin when I use Minolta 100mm f2. The bokeh is also WAY better than Minolta 100mm f2, it is smoother and has more bokeh CA which I like because it gives the image "character". I clearly like this lens more than Minolta 100mm f2. With this lens, I learn that in portrait photography sharpness is not everything. Hereby, I highly recommend this.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 57
  • sharpness: 4.75
  • color: 4.79
  • build: 4.88
  • distortion: 4.95
  • flare control: 4.42
  • overall: 4.76
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