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

reviewer#714 date: Apr-25-2006
sharpness: 3
color: 5
build: 2
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.4
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:28-75/2.8, 28-70G, 28-85/3.5-4.5, other assorted ...
price paid:
positive:Great for price; nice range; compact; light; 55mm filter threads.
negative:Build (see below), next-to-useless shade, doesn't resolve much detail.
comment:This is the first lens I've owned that I've ever wanted to call "cute" ! It's small & light. Build is cheap, but adequate and fine for a $99 lens (I know that's a discounted price). The only practical negative on build quality is when the AF drive rotates the lens to one extreme or the other, it tries to overrotate and the results is a disconcerting shift in the VF image that makes you wonder if the lens is ok ... it's pretty normal, from a thread on dpreview, and nothing to worry about, I imagine.

Sharpness is interesting ... with an APS-sized image circle, this lens doesn't lose much contrast to excess light bouncing around and images look crisp and sharp. Michael Reichman wrote about apparent sharpness from clean images and "accutance" or edge sharpness. Images from this lens have plenty of apparent sharpness. What they don't have is detail. Photograph grass with this lens and something like the 35/2, both stopped down to f/8 and you'll see considerably more detail in the shot from the prime. Not surprising to some; surprising to me, as most zooms, even consumer grade zooms, compete fairly well when stopped down ... I'd say this one offers maybe 70% of the performance at f/8. Too soft for a poor man's ultrawide for landscape use or anything where detail is important (and this is on a 6MP sensor !)

On the other hand, if lots of small detail isn't important; for candids, snaps, vacation shots, stuff that will be emails, posted, printed in albums, this is a great little lens that should generate fine results due to that apparent sharpness. The range is great, the lens has little to complain about for the price ... the only other major negative is its speed, but that's not a knock against the lens ... a slow lens is a slow lens.

I'd happily use this lens for everyday snaps, but I'd rather carry a compact digicam. When I need the capabilities of a DSLR, I also need the capabilities of a sharper and/or faster lens.

I bought mine for $99 and sold it for $75. Not because the lens is bad; it's fine for the price and great for certain things; just not what I wanted it for.

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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