Minolta AF DT 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 D A-mount lens review by Mink

reviewer#369 date: Jan-1-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.9
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 17-35mm f/3.5 G
price paid:
positive:Amazingly crisp and bright results, light, compact, fast and quiet focus, smooth zoom operation, inexpensive
negative:f/3.5 is only available at 18mm, and it's a bit soft at that aperture, especially in the corners. The lens is prone to flare.
comment:I've been testing this lens against the G lens for the past couple of weeks in Antigua Guatemala (talk about a photo opportunity!) For a while I was planning to send back the G, because the kit lens was so good, and I was having difficulty justifying spending twice the price of my new 5d and kit on the G lens alone.

But gradually the benefits of the G lens became clear - like the truly usable f/3.5 at all focal lengths, better shadow and highlight detail, and more neutral colours. There's also less distortion and CA. But the reason I mention all this is because it's not a slam dunk by any means - the kit is pretty good in most of these areas.

Perhaps the only real issue with the kit, apart from the lack of usable wide apertures (but didn't you buy an image stablized body so you could use smaller apertures with your wide lens for the better depth of field?) is flare, and I had difficulty in some tricky lighting situations in getting a usable image. But this only manifested in certain glary outdoor conditions - most of my backlit shots are great.

If you see the kit as an f/5.6 lens, with the wider apertures provided to help composition and focus, then you can't help but be impressed by it. I don't think saying 'not bad for the price' does justice to this lens - but maybe I got a particularly good copy.

It may not feel like a pro lens but, apart from the wide/wide combo, it sure behaves like one!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 125
  • sharpness: 3.69
  • color: 4.01
  • build: 3.07
  • distortion: 3.51
  • flare control: 3.73
  • overall: 3.60
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