Minolta AF DT 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 D A-mount lens review by Mink
|Mink#369 date: Jan-1-2006|
flare control: 3
|ownership:||I have experience with this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta AF 17-35mm f/3.5 G|
|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!