Minolta AF 28-135mm F4-4.5 A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 197    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 >>
reviewer#3562 date: May-6-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Build quality
Colors
Sharpness
negative:Heavy
Minimum focus distance
Hunts on a700
comment:Heavy, built like a tank, I used this lens a lot on 7D, and it gave very good results. On my a700, it hunts a bit too much and the focus is often not precise, so I sold it.

The colors are great to me, but the most disappointing feature is the minimum focus distance, that is approximately 1,5 meters... definitely limiting the 135mm side too much.

The focus ring was a bit too loose, but maybe it was my copy. Still, I have to understand the meaning of a macro switch at 28mm... not very useful indeed.
reviewer#3367 date: Mar-16-2008
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:50mm f1.7
Zeiss 16-80mm
price paid:170
positive:Can be very sharp and pleasing. Beautiful front element. Lens 'locks' at short and tele end so no creep
negative:Heavy. Min foucus distance can be a pain. Can be too soft below f7.1 slow to focus and hunts a bit more than normal on my A700. NOT a low light/indoor lens. Lens barely fits in my bag.
comment:After reading many reviews for this old classic (and many others) I worried about zoom creep. Why nobody ever mentions that this lens 'locks' on the short end and tele end is beyond me. If it has been mentioned, I don't recall. Anyway how did I get here? I had a zeiss 16-80mm and it was bad, I don't care what anyone tells me, there are bad copies of that lens out there.

That lens had a bad habit of making sure nothing in the pic was in focus. Of course when it nailed it (not often enough) boy was it a sweet sharp lens. So I dumped it. I ended up using only my 50mm 1.7 for much longer than I thought I would. I just didn't like anything out there for the price. Took a chance on this lens with a very tiny scratch in the glass, hence the low price.

So far I see the lens (at least this copy) is far too soft in too many instances. What are they? First, go beyond about 90mm and it can get too soft. Virtually everything that would be at 'infinity' is too soft, especially at 28mm. This lens can be sharp for me in two cases as well. If I open the lens up to say f4 to f5-ish it can be sharp for nearby objects and people. Far away, and it can just be way too soft or hit and miss (heavy on the miss). Now for people and things 15 feet way and beyond, this baby seems like it needs to be at f8 to f11 to be sharpish.

In that range, as a walk around lens shooting street style photography and candids about a quarter of shots taken in that way will be just short of what I would call razor sharp for a lens like this or in this price range. It has never, nor will it ever be razor sharp like say a big G lens.

Color and Contrast are strong, and I so far haven't really noticed much CA even when pixel peeping. On my A700 it can hunt more often than my prime when I'm using focus points that are not in the center, and sometimes just the simplest scence can cause it to hunt, but it hasn't been a big issue. Right now I'm loving this lens as a BRIGHT daytime walk around lens.

Indoors, opening it up to get a decent shutter speed it can be a bit soft. I hate using a flash, however stepping this lens to about f7 thru 9 and hitting someone with a flash indoors it can be prime sharp, dare I say a tad sharper than my 50mm every now and then. It could be that my copy isn't 100% and that it's just old... reasons I might not give praise as others do so take my opinion with that in mind.


Beyond the 100mm mark, well I try not to use it too much. To get sharpness f10 is the min and it's not very common to get any real sharpness at 135 even with a fast shutter and f11. I don't see sharpness get better beyond f11.

Ok now for the macro, it's not that bad, not so great but here's why it's a blessing. The min focus distance is yes near five feet. Worse yet, it can be more than that. I've notice that if I'm about 5-6 feet from something and I zoom to 100mm up to 135, the lens can't lock focus until I move back about another foot or two. Even manually the lens isn't physically capable of focusing in such instances.

So yes the macro mode won't let you take truly gigantic pics of flowers and bees, but the range will let you take pics of anything from a few inches to nearly a foot away, it's good enough to get close for ebay pics and such. I still keep my prime for indoor stuff as this lens can get too soft at f4-f5 and such. For the money I paid it's a top notch lens compared to what's out there in this price range.

If you can get a copy at a good price, it's at least worth taking a chance on. I'm glad I did in spite of its quirks. Almost forgot about flare. For night pics with some bright lights, it's better than my prime. While my prime is fast, it's a flare monster in such cases, here it's more controlled and rarely a problem. In bright light, I haven't seem much flare, but because there is no hood, I've had the sun hit my lens often.

This causes my images to wash out and lose contrast, but to actually see flare, I usually have the sun in frame or nearly in the frame. Also be careful. Unlike other 72mm zooms, there's virtually no distance between the front element and the edge of the barrel. Hitting that glass can be super easy. I'm looking at a filter, maybe the new Zeiss 72mm T* coated ones.

And one final bonus of this lens. Its big barrel and 72mm front is something I like. Bonus, when taking pics, especially last weekend at a local Jazz and Blues fest, people get the heck out of your way, they stop rather than walk in front of you, and just notice and or respect you a little more. It sounds funny, but going from a dinky prime or zoom with a 55mm front element, you'll notice a difference in those around you.



I've got pics taken with this lens here

http://s231.photobucket.com/albums/ee146/sslabs/

Pics are labeled so you know what lens I've used, all are taken with an Alpha A700 only, and all are big-ish in size, no dinky 600 x 800 pics, just click on the full size option. I'm posting pics there all the time.
reviewer#3282 date: Feb-19-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 28-85mm F3.5-4.5 Macro
Minolta AF 28-80mm F4.5-5.6
Sony AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6 (SAL1870)
price paid:230 USD (excellent)
positive:Focus speed.
negative:VERY heavy. 0.75 kg.
A little slow at F4-4.5 (newer high-ISO sensors make up for this).
No way to mount a lens hood, so be careful where you point it.
comment:This lens is absolutely stunning. Using one will be the best argument you'll find for wanting to own one. They're rare, expensive, heavy, and slow, but the photos are completely worth it.

Macro is roughly 1:4 magnification. I wouldn't call that 'macro' but it can be helpful from time to time.

Lens has a unique rear-focus system that allows for extremely light and quick focusing. A clutched focus ring would be an improvement but is really unnecessary.

If you can find one of these, at least consider it. In my opinion, it is the best lens purchase I've ever made. I love it on my A900.
reviewer#3190 date: Jan-17-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1,7
Minolta 35-105/3,5-4,5
Minolta 50/2,8 macro
Minolta 100/2,8 macro
Tokina 19-35/3,5-4,5
price paid:180 $
positive:excellent build
good sharpness
quite fast AF
negative:heavy for a walk zoom
1,5m minimal focal distance

comment:One hell piece of lens! Definitely one of the most succesful product made by Minolta in optics. It's can be reference to other lens in sharpness and colour issues. Someone can find it as too heavy for a usual walkaround lens but in my opinion it's so much versatile that its weight shouldn't be measured as cons.
It's really worth of money spent and I highly recommend it to everyone that cannot decide which lens buy instead of kit 18-70 lens.
Regarding build issues one must be told that it's diffucult to find something more solid in the lens market (even today)then this model. Perfect glass.
reviewer#3187 date: Jan-16-2008
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.3
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-70/3.5-5.6
Tamron 17-50/2.8
Vario-Sonnar ZA 16-80/3.5-4.5
Minolta 85/1.4 G
Sony 50/1.4
Sigma 20/1.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Bokeh
Color rendition
Built like a tank
Impressive focal range
Neglible distorstion
negative:AF hunting on Sony DSLR-A100
Softiness
Prone to flare
No standard shade
comment:Old Minolta legend, rare to find in good condition nowadays.
It renders pleasant (but not very sharp comparing to modern "digital" zooms) picture with nice colors and smooth bokeh. I consider it mainly as a portrait lens "all-in-one". Wide end (28-35mm) is very soft, and it isn't a choice for landscaping. However, form film and 6MP digital it it probably OK. Biggest drawback for me is AF hunting with A100 - it's almost impossible to use this lens on incandescent light on wide end.
On Dynax 7 film camera, AF is OK - fast and reliable.
It would be interesting to try it on A700.

reviewer#3091 date: Dec-20-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-105/2.8
Minolta 35-105/3.5-4.5 RS
Minolta 18-70/3.5-5.6 (kit)
Minolta 100-200/4.5
Minolta 50/1.4
price paid:140 USD
positive:-image quality
-range
-price
negative:-heavy / weird balance
-min focus distance (sometimes)
comment:Given its range, the image quality is outstanding as it easily matches some primes (especially from 28 to 100mm). That's the reason I consider it a deal even at current 300+ prices for a good sample.

It is prone to flare in certain conditions but this doesn't bother me at all. It is the kind of flare I like (spreads evenly throughout the frame) and this could be used creatively.

Another 'treat' from this lens is the macro mode. Many consider it useless but I quite like it. Getting close to you subject at wide angle makes for some creative opportunities.(TIP: While using the macro feature of the lens, switch the camera to manual focus to enable the focus assist feature - at least that's how it works on my 7D).

Min focus distance can be annoying in tight spaces (indoors) but this is rarely a problem for me as I use it mostly outdoors.

While it seems built like a tank, the vast number of bad samples proves it is in fact extremely delicate. Mine has no problem so far but I feel I need to have extra care every time I use it.

One thing I really don't like about it is the way it balances on the camera. Due to a heavier front, the overall camera-lens balance is different from any other lens I own and this feels weird. Recently, I've noticed the AS/SSS performance is better with other lenses at same FL/aperture combination and I suspect this has to do with the balance. My Tamron 28-105/2.8 is of similar weight but it balances better on camera and has better AS results. Anyway, take this with a grain of salt as it well may be just personal preference.

Final conclusion: the image quality easily makes up for all the negatives. I think this is the queen of non-G Minolta zooms.
reviewer#3077 date: Dec-16-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:135/2.8
85/1.4 G D
price paid:160 USD (used)
positive:Very sharp, images IMHO are G like (very 85/1.4'ish)
negative:Macro at 28mm seems pointless. My copy's zoom is not very smooth especially bewteen 100 and 135mm. I haven't read all the reviews but mine seems to have a familiar problem of AF not working at certain focal lentghs.
comment:I think this lens is as much a classic as the beercan which it compliments very nicely on film or a full frame digital (A900?), on cropped digital the range is not so usefull but better than the usual 28-75mm/2.8 long zooms if not faster... I only bought this lens because of the low price (ahh mine also came with a small scratch in the front element which sofar does not show in the photos), I suppose it's worth the usual USD250-350 a good copy gets...
reviewer#3035 date: Dec-4-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-105
Sony 18-70
price paid:550cdn new
positive:Sharp pictures, very well made classic lens.
negative:Heavy, large filter size.
Macro feature at 28mm.
Range mostly suited to film cameras.
No lens hood.
comment:This was a great lens in it's day. Takes excellent pictures on 35mm cameras and digital. I used this lens for a long time before recently selling it because it's range on a digital equates to 35mm equivalent of 42-202.5mm. Great range on a film camera, but far less useful on a digital with a c size sensor. Biggest drawback was that it is a heavy lens, and the large filter size makes attachments expensive. The lens never had a lens hood, because of it's 28mm wide beginning range. It was designed before the current petal lens hoods. The macro feature is at 28mm, which is like having no macro feature at all. It's a good, collectors item, but with digital, it's range limits it's usefulness.
reviewer#3003 date: Nov-30-2007
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 24/1.8
MinO 35/2
MinO 50/1.4
MinO 100/2
MinO 135/2.8
KM 28-75(D)
etc....
price paid:180 USD (used)
positive:Beautiful lens to behold...
Fantastic zoom if working properly
negative:Build issues..
Flare
Heavy
Long Min. Focus distance
Zoom creep
comment:I have no doubt that these lenses were/are fantastic, however I have heard of and seen a number of problems with them. The first is how delicate the internal alignment seems to be. I have seen some image samples that attest to the great IQ this lens can have, but that hasn't been my experience and felt this would be the perfect place to share it. I have had the same issues as everyone else, with the minimum focus distance and flare.
At first, I loved this lens.. it is absolutely beautiful and I had taken some very nice photos with it, then *boom*, disaster strikes! After about 3 years of owning and using this lens, the zoom mechanism begins to lock up and become stuck, or won't zoom past a certain point, and then the focus won't focus past a certain point. I had it opened up and what do you know, something broke off inside for absolutely no reason that I can think of, the metal tab to the macro switch I believe and it had been loose, wreaking havoc inside the lens. Well, everything seems to be fine again, but then I shoot a whole day of pictures and they are suddenly dreadful. A haze or halos over/around everything, terrible sharpness, colors and contrast are very underwhelming.. I believe the alignment of the elements might have been knocked out of whack, and after some checking around, it seemed to be a common problem with this lenses, thus my thought of them being pretty delicate.. Supposedly the alignment can be shot by even a good shock.. I try to baby my equipment, and it happened to me. Oh well. I really do want to like this lens, I believe they put alot of money, and really over-engineered it, and believe it is capable of alot, but I just couldn't trust it again.
reviewer#2931 date: Nov-16-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:24-85 F3.5-4.5
35-70 F4
24 F2.8
Sigma 70-300 Apo Macro

price paid:130 euro
positive:sharp
great colors
if it was not so heavy it would be a great alround lens
negative:heavy
no dedicated lens hood
comment:Used this lens a lot on film camera. Loved it. Good range. I sold it because I used to travel a lot and wanted to travel light.
reviewer#2929 date: Nov-15-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-70G, Sigma 24-70/2.8, 80-200/2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Color, image quality, build
negative:MFD 1,5 meter, flare control
comment:This lens is just lovely, build is excellent this is how a lens should be built.
Color is like other minolta lenses from this time, great!
AF is fast, my 7D hunts a little, on the Dynax 7 it´s faster and less hunting.
Would be nice to test this on a700...
MFD is 1.5 meter and that is one of two bad things with this lens.
Flare is the other week spot.
reviewer#2898 date: Nov-1-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron SP AF 90mm F2.8 Di
Minolta 28-85mm F3.5-4.5 RS
Minolta 70-210mm F3.5-4.5
Minolta 35-105mm F3.5-4.5
Minolta 75-300mm F4.5-5.6
price paid:150 Euros used
positive:Wonderfull color and sharpness
Fast focus
negative:Heavy, close focus a bit long
comment:Great lens. Love the colors it produces. It's my walk around lens now. Would change it for the Tamron only for macro or portrait.
Heavy, but that means a quality lens too.
Samples here: http://www.pbase.com/mcnguyen/como_2007
reviewer#2851 date: Oct-17-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-75 F2.8
price paid:$160. USD shipped
positive:Sharp, great colors and bokeh,
build, great range
negative:Heavy, no hood
comment:This is an great lens!!! Very sharp, contrast is outsanding, AF speed is good, and great colors on my 7D and 7xi. I mostly used it as my all around outdoor lens since I have the Minolta 28-75 F2.8 for indoors shots. The build is second to none.
reviewer#2832 date: Oct-7-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Tamron 24-135
price paid:
missing
positive:Flexible range
Near constant maximum aperture
negative:No Hood
comment:Great lens, but I prefer my faster f/2.8's, but that is just a matter of my shooting style.
reviewer#2825 date: Oct-6-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-70 (D)
24-105mm (D)
price paid:180 USD (used)
positive:Sharpness
Bokeh
Solid Build
negative:72mm Filter
Autofocus Hunting
Weight
comment:The sharpness/bokeh/contrast/colour are typical of older Minolta lenses. I examined my first test shot for sharpness and realised that the whole shot from edge to edge was crisp. the build is solid, the lens is a little heavy compared to modern carbon based offerings.

A biggest negatives for me are the AF speed which is slow and unpredictable, and the weight.

Macro is really funky, operating at the wide end, you have to take care not slam the lens right into the subject it is so close.

Overall I would not hesitate to buy another, but be aware of the condition..I was lucky with mine, many others have bought paper-weights, this after all is a fairly old model.


July 2008:
I sold this lens simply because the weight added to my kit bag is too much to cope with.
reviewer#2824 date: Oct-6-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-105
Tamron 35-105
Minolta 100-200
Minolta 17-35
Minolta 50
price paid:$130 USD
positive:Very usable range
Image quality is exceptional
negative:Kinda heavy
Long minimum focus range
comment:This is the default lens on the camera. I agree with about all of the comments on the lens, both positive and negative, that have been posted previously. I won't rehash that ground again.

As far as images the lens can capture, generally they are extremely good. In my opinion they are as good as any more recent lens and must have been phenomenal when it was manufactured. I've found limitations in the flare and minimum focus length though (OK, guess I will go into past comments).

My copy of the lens came to me used. It had seen some pretty good use before it got to me. With that in mind though, it shows very good workmanship and rugged components. Even showing some previous use it is a solid, smooth performer that above all gives great images.
reviewer#2822 date: Oct-6-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.3
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-85 f3.5-4.5
Minolta 24-105 f3.5-4.5
Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX
price paid:
missing
positive:Very good image quality
Classic Minolta colour
Very well built
negative:No dedicated lens hood
4ft close focus
comment:Originally launched with the first batch of AF lenses with the Minolta 7000 AF body, this was an expensive lens (Ł350). As with all the first generation AF lenses, it has a metal body, and uses (I believe) glass elements rather than plastic, which would account for its weight of around 700g. It is rumoured this lens was designed by, or co-designed with, Leica, but I do not believe there is any evidence for this. My own understanding was that it was designed and built by hand at Minolta's lens plant in Osaka. It differs in detail from other Minolta lenses as the focus ring is in front of the lens mount, near the body, no doubt making it easier to find than at the end of the zoom. Fingers need to be kept clear as it rotates when the camera drives the AF gear, as it is not clutched. A very wide knurled metal zoom ring fills most of the lens body. Build quality is exceptional.

Minolta stated at launch that the large front element (72mm) had been designed to give good image quality at 28mm at full aperture. At 28mm and full aperture (f4) image quality is very good to excellent, from centre to corner (full frame). Stopping down one or two stops improves image quality a little, but not by a great deal. It can be used at full aperture with confidence. At the long end, where maximum aperture drops to f4.5 the situation is similar, with good to very good performance fully open rising to very good to excellent about 2 stops down. Intermediate focal lengths are equally strong.

At 28mm, a "macro" mode can be engaged by pulling the macro button and twisting the zoom ring beyond its 28mm limit. The zoom ring then becomes a focus control with a well weighted damped action. In this mode, the lens can focus at a ratio of about 1:4 (not true "macro), but this represents a subject distance mere centimetres from the front element, so care may be needed! The image quality in this mode is extremely good, sharp across the frame even from full aperture.

The lens displays typical early Minolta colour and contrast. Overall contrast is moderate, giving good overall image and edge contrast but without the aggressively high contrast of some modern lens designs. Colour is well saturated, and seems to exhibit that classic Minolta "liquid" colour. This type of image quality is often attributed to good micro-contrast, the ability to handle very fine changes in contrast and colour/tone giving the image a very "real" almost 3 dimentional quality. Leica have always designed their lenses with this in mind, and this may explain the rumours of a Leica design in this lens.

Distortions are surprisingly well controlled for a lens of this vintage and extreme range. There is some barreling at 28mm, though it is not the worst I have seen in a full frame zoom lens. At the long end, there is some subtle pincushioning, but it should generally not cause a problem. This isn't the ideal lens for architectural work at its widest end, as straight lines toward the edge of the frame will display a little outward bowing, but it is usable.

AF speed is surpirsingly good for a lens of this vintage, the AF gearing is reasonably high, and on a mid-range body such as a Dynax 7, AF speed is good and accurate. Unfortunately, the minumim focus distance is around 4 feet. This was not doubt a limitation of the design at the time, the lens undoubtedly having been designed by Minoltas engineers with only a little assistance with computer aided design. Given it's focal length range was quite extreme, the image quality was exceptionally good, and the aperture reasonable, something had to give - and it was focus distance!

Flare control in undoubyedly is biggest weakness. Bizarrely, it was never sold with a dedicate lens hood, though in fairness a hood designed for 28mm would offer no protection at 135mm - just check the hood on the 35-200mm Xi to see! Although I would not say the lens glass itself is especially prone to flare, with a 72mm front element right at the front of the lens, it is easy to get flare when a light source is out of shot but in front of the lens. It tends to be the contrast reducing type of flare than can ruin an image, rather than the more localised type of "sunspot" flaring. There are some internet reports that some examples are more prone to flare than others. The best solution is either to use a hand to shade it when it becomes a problem, or use a rubber collpapsible lens hood that screws into the filter ring (Hama et al make them).

Overall, this is a terrific lens. It may not compare to some of todays high resolution and high contrast lens designs on digital, but the overall image quality is fantastic.
reviewer#2641 date: Aug-17-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:28-80/3.5-5.6
50/1.7
70-210/4
24-85/3.5-4.5
17-35/2.8-4
price paid:140€ (used)
positive:Very sharp
Contrast
Good zoom range
Well built
Quite quick AF
Looks nice on 7D

negative:Heavy
Bad minimum focus
No dedicated hood
Flare
comment:I think its sharper than the 24-85 or the 17-35. Very useful walkaround lens. Focal length is good but it will be even better if it starts at 24. I think one of the best Minolta AF lens. I recommend for everyone!
reviewer#2580 date: Jul-25-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 28-75 EX 2.8
Minolta 28-85
price paid:175 euro
positive:Everything, I like this lens better than my 80-200 HS APO
negative:No hood
Minimum focus distance a bit to long
comment:Everyone wants a Beercan, but I think this lens should be in every true Minoltian's bag. Because of this lens I'm thinning out my line-up, these are the 3 main lenses I'll be using from now on: Tokina 20-35, Minolta 28-135, Minolta 200 HS APO
reviewer#2578 date: Jul-25-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:18-70kit, 50/1.7, 70-210/4
price paid:133€ (mint in box)
positive:Color and contrast, Build to last, Amazingly sharp, Price/Quality, AF performance
negative:Min. focus distance, Good samples seems rare
comment:This lens really lives up to its reputation! It compares to the 50/1.7 in sharpness and it's miles ahead of the kit lens in every aspect. Its build quality is amazing, if it wasn’t so heavy it would have been the perfect walk-around zoom but then again good glass is heavy. Color and contrast is really amazing and I haven’t really experienced that much problem with flare as others have. The macro at 28mm gives a fun perspective to macro shots. Gets a bit softer at 100mm and up but still sharp.

The price and quality of this great vintage Minolta lens makes it a must have for the cheap lineup.
reviewer#2531 date: Jul-9-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.4
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-85 RS
135 2.8
price paid:Ł150 (used) see note
positive:Build quality
Colour
Blokeh
Sharp
Fast AF
negative:Rare
Poor minimum focus length
comment:I have been searching for one of these lenses for some time, they are becoming rare as hens teeth. I wanted one to supplement my 28-85 RS that use in my studio as I often have to change to my 135 2.8 for tight headshots.

Eventually found one on Ebay that was described as perfect but with a sticking zoom. I paid way too much for it and when it arrived not only did it have a sticking zoom but the filter thread was damaged where it had been dropped and the optics were filthy.

I called Dave at the Camera Repair Workshop and he agreed to take a look, after a bit of persuasion he agreed to repair and clean it for a very reasonable cost.

I now have an excellant example and boy is it great, fantastic colours, sharp and feels fantastic in use. If you can find one of these lenses grab it.
reviewer#2528 date: Jul-9-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:18-70 kit lens
price paid:€200
positive:Build Quality
Image Quality
Good range
negative:Heavy
Prone to flare
Not wide enough at the short end
Very poor near focus range
comment:Fantastic walk around lens except for a few things: I haven't got around to getting a hood yet and it is very prone to flare, it is quite heavy and 24 or even 20mm at the wide end would have been excellent! Also, the near focus range is pretty bad.

The build quality is nothing short of stunning! Great IQ and bokeh, stunning colors!
reviewer#2207 date: Apr-24-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-300 XR LD IF
price paid:$50 (got lucky)
positive:Excellent zoom range.
Built like a tank.
Good aperture.
Rear focus provides very fast focus.
negative:A bit nose heavy.
Very delicate front element.
comment:For those that don't know, this is the father of all original Minolta wide zooms. While the 28-85 and 28-105's are "dime a dozen", the 28-135 truly is something special.

The lens is one of the last designed with Leica, and it shows. The lens has a giant front element (72mm), and a good aperture throughout its zoom. One of the really unique aspects though, is the rear focus. Unlike every other Minolta lens made, this lens features the focus ring and elements at the back of the lens, rather than the front. While this is due to the design of the lens, it has the side effect of creating a very fast AF system (less gearing, higher turn ratio).

The optics of this lens are what truly makes it great. It is easy to see the quality put into the lens, in both physical feeling, and the pictures produced. The colors are crisp, and the lines are sharp. However, there are two flaws:
1) No hood is included, and the lens can be prone to flare. This is fixable though, with a good after-market metal or rubber hood (metal obviously fits the look of the lens better).
2) The front element is extremely delicate. It is very easy to scratch a coating; and while only cosmetic, it obviously can't be fixed. If you do get a copy with a pristine element, put a protective filter on it, and never remove it.

All-in-all, this is a great lens if you can find it. They are currently demanding a high price on fleabay, but if you are looking for the ultimate in original Minolta glass, it is worth it.
reviewer#2197 date: Apr-23-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:100.00 CAN (used)
positive:Well built.
Focus ring is in a perfect spot.
negative:Bit too heavy.
comment:The toughest lens I have ever seen.
reviewer#2052 date: Mar-26-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-105 zoom,
100 macro
24 2.8
200 2.8 APO
price paid:Forget
positive:Very sharp, good colour, excellent range for film & FF, a good all-around lens that I use if only taking one. Very solid build.
negative:Heavy, lack of hood, flare can be an issue if shooting into light. Front element rotates with zoom. Don't use macro much at all... have 100 macro.
comment:I have owned this lens since it first came on the market, and it is the one I always take if travelling "light" (for film or FF a900).
I use the 24-105 on my 7D as I like the compactness, light weight and wider angle on APC.
This is an excellent lens in almost every respect, and has never given me any trouble.
Examples can be found on my blog at: http://web.mac.com/davidbannister
reviewer#1969 date: Mar-15-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:KM 17-35 f 2.8/4
Minolta 70-210 f4 (beercan)
Minolta 75-300 f4.5/5.6 (big beercan)
price paid:€ 150
positive:- Sharp
- Solid as a rock
- Smooth zooming
- Great colors
- Fast
negative:- Hood missing
- Delicate front lens
comment:Great walkaround lens, I am using it in a trip across Asia and found it extremely versatile. Focal length is good but it will be even better if it starts at 24.
Flare is not so much a problem but, of course, you must take care of sun position to avoid it.
This lens is incredibily sharp, even sharper that my 75-300 (big beercan), as from f 5.6 to f 11. I have tried at min aperture f22 and it is still sharp (but it was cloudy so I don't know how it manages with diffraction).
This is the kind of lens which makes me an A-mount system "addicted"......

edit 01/05/11
Now on A850 it performs its best...what a lens!
reviewer#1815 date: Feb-10-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-100 (D)
Minolta 28-105 xi
Minolta 50 f/1.7
Minolta 70-210 f/4 (Beercan)
Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 EX
price paid:200 USD (USED)
positive:Very Sharp
Very Fast AF
Excellent Zoom Range
negative:Limited near focus (1.5m)
comment:I bought this Lens 6 month ago after reading lots of reviews at dyxum web site. I think others just Said it all.

This is my favorite lens which I never take off.
I like the speed and accurate of the AF. I like it's sharpness.

A bit of a problem to use indoor because of the Limited near focus.

This is MUST HAVE lens for all KM users.
reviewer#1729 date: Feb-1-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 2
overall: 4.3
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:canon 28-135 IS USM
price paid:160$ used
positive:sharp !! at f 5.6
very nice bokeh
very nice colors
build like a Tank
negative:heavy
minimum focus too big
no hood
comment:wow
this is a good walk around lens
not so good handling flares but if you can set up a hood
it will be fine.
very sharp at f5.6 - F8
beautiful colors and bokeh
the big problem is the minimum focus range if you want to take
pictures indoor its a problematic lens - better of taking the minolta 17-35 .
reviewer#1694 date: Jan-24-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.6
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 18-70mm f3.5-5.6
Minolta AF 70-210mm f4
Minolta AF 50mm f1.7
price paid:$200 USD
positive:- Build quality is top notch
- Awesome range of focal lengths
- Very usable macro function
- Extremely impressive sharpness, color, and contrast across all apertures
- Fast AF!
negative:- Slightly less than ideal range on APS-C sized sensor (wide)
- Very prone to flare (no dedicated hood)
- Bizarre minimum focus distance characteristics
comment:After spending four days in NYC over New Years, I found myself using the 5D kit lens a lot more than I had anticipated. I was pretty spoiled with the sharpness of the 50mm and beercan, but some of the shots I took with the kit lens were pretty soft (no surprise). Not a big deal, but I knew I could get a better performance out of a higher quality lens.

I cruised around Dyxum and various other photo forums dedicated to Minolta glass, and I ended up deciding on the 28-135mm to use as my main walkaround lens to replace the kit lens for that purpose. The minimum aperture of F4 leaves it a little less than ideal for indoor use, but it comes from the same generation of lenses as the Beercan, and was manufactured by hand at the legendary Sakai plant (where the G glass lenses were built as well in the mid 1980s).

Since it arrived in the mail on Saturday, I haven't taken it off my camera. It's an amazing performer and I got it for a really fair price from a fellow Dyxum member.

Highly recommended lens! The bokeh is very pleasant, images are super-sharp and clear, and the color/contrast creates images that have that "pop" I've been looking for. Should Sony ever go full frame, this would be the ultimate killer lens!
reviewer#1379 date: Nov-5-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-105 D
28-85 3.5/4.5
18-70 "Kit lens"
price paid:€200
positive:Very very Sharp
Excellent Zoom Range
Minolta colour
Build Quality
AF speed
negative:Limited near focus (5ft)
Heavy
No dedicated hood
Large compared to lens with similar range
Did I say heavy?
comment:It's built like a tank and does look the business on the 7D.

Never used the "macro" setting (28mm only). Got over the lack of a dedicated hood by using an extending 77mm rubber hood with a 72 - 77mm step-up, this also protects the big 72mm filter thread.

Thanks gsaronni, it's a great lens!

I've now seen its true potential on a 9xi film body. The detail it resolves is fantastic, on the A900 it is a great lens.
reviews found: 197    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 197
  • sharpness: 4.62
  • color: 4.82
  • build: 4.79
  • distortion: 4.43
  • flare control: 3.46
  • overall: 4.42

to add your review
you need to login

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania