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

reviewer#4198 date: Oct-9-2008
sharpness: 2.5
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 2
flare control: 4
overall: 2.9
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 own this lens
compared to:Sigma AF18-200 F3.5-6.3
Sigma AF17-70 F2.8-4
Sigma AF28-105 F3.8-5.6
Sigma AF10-20 F4-5.6
Minolta AF24-85 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF28-80 F3.5-5.6
Minolta AF35-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF35-70 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF35-70 F4 Macro
Cosina AF28-105 F2.8-3.8
Minolta AF28 F2.8
Minolta AF50 F1.7
price paid:
missing
positive:Came free with the camera.
Sharp in th centre of the frame.
ADI compatible.
Goes to 18mm (however not with good performance).
negative:Colour not vibrant.
Anything else than the very centre is either soft or blurred.
Horrible distortion.
comment:Updated review December 2009.

As original in my review, I still think that this lens (and the Sony branded ditto) is very overrated in reviews in commercial magazines.

It is a poor kit lens - and it is only fair in regard to image quality because the centre of the frame looks sharp. Anything out the very centre of the kit lens is poor - and it is in fact the worst of approx 50 lenses that I have tested the last couple of years - in fact much worse almost all of the older Minolta low-cost kit-lenses that are rated low on this site but that in my tests surprised me by being better overall. Something I did not expect but when considering it logically an old FF lens used on an APS-C sensor will only transmit light in the centre of the FF optics and thus using the "best" part only - whereas an APS-C lens does not "cut out" the flaws in the corners as does the FF lens. On an APS-C lens you get the poor parts of the optics within our picture frame.
So what may be a poor performer on FF is in fact doing much better on APS-C.

I found the pictures pretty boring in regard to colour and contrast - as they were dull and colours not vibrant. Any of the old classical Minolta lenses from the 1980's have much better colour (and can be found at the same price).

Best thing about this lens is that it normally comes "free" with a camera and is better build than the flimsy - and likewise poor performing - old Ř62 revision Minolta AF28-80 F3.5-5.6 that came with a lot of older Minolta analog cameras.
(Note that the Ř55 Minolta AF28-80D is a lot sharper than the kit lens - and must not be confused for the poor Ř62 revision!)
If you are going to pay for this lens it is in fact very difficult to justify the approx. 40 USD these come for - you can find much better lenses for the same money.

I sold this lens very fast after getting my first Minolta digital SLR - but as it is available for no money used I bought one again recently to have a "reference" when doing my tests of some 50 different lenses.

Pro's: It comes for free and it is ADI compatible - and is fairly sharp in the very centre of the frame.

Con's: Everything else - virtually any old FF lens used on APS-C will blow this lens out of the water. Worst of approx 50 different lenses corner-to-corner. The same goes for distortion - this lens is not a good performer when comparing it to any other lens. If you going to pay for the lens is it too expensive as much better lenses can be bought at the same little money (or less in fact).

If you want to keep this lens use it for benchmarking (as I do) or use it as your "do not care if I break it" lens.
Of cause this one can also be used when you need to go wide in case you do not (note: do not) have any other lens in the 18mm-28mm range.

If you do not like the idea of using a FF lens and only want to use APS-C designed lenses then go for the Tamron/Sigma AF18-200 instead as these covers your entire range and prices even for brand new ones has dropped significantly the last couple of years.

If you do not already own this lens - just walk away - your money can be spend better on virtually anything else!

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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