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

reviews found: 197    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
reviewer#1377 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 have experience with this lens
compared to:28-80, 28/2.8, 50/1.7, 135/2.8
price paid:Ł160 (s/h 1995)
positive:Very Sharp
Excellent Zoom Range
Build Quality
AF speed
negative:Limited near focus (5ft)
No hood
Zoom range not so useful on digital
comment:I bought this s/h in 1995 when I had a 9000 and 500Si. It's a superb travel lens and has been all over the globe with me. It's built like no other modern lens and will probably last forever. It is incredibly sharp for a zoom at all focal lengths and apertures, holding its own even against prime lenses.

The limitations are the close focus at 5ft, although it is possible to manually focus closer at 28mm only - I have found this useful for getting wedding couples in the back of the car shots. Also because of the front element size and focal length range there isn't a practical way of fitting a hood to it - it can be prone to flare in contre-jour situations.

A great lens!
reviewer#1364 date: Oct-30-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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:70-210 f4 (beercan)
price paid:210USD (used)
positive:Really, really sharp.
Very useful range.
negative:Self extending front is a pain.
Flare.
comment:This is my first ever review of my first ever lens on my first ever DSLR so treat this however you like (and I'll try an update it when I know more).

This lens is my basic walk around kit and I love the images it creates, the detail is so rich and sharp that there is plenty to play with when I get home. It is heavy but then I'm a big guy used to carrying around heavy stuff so thats not really posing a problem at the moment.

The downside is that I'm having real problems using it effectively due to flare. Inside, with a flash, in flat light etc the lens is a gem but once the sun is out I'm really struggling. At the moment my solution is to simply underexpose the image to preserve all that wonderful detail and then play with the lighting in post processing. Much of the flare manifests as almost a faint blue mist so I wonder if a UV filter might help a little but until then I'll continue to rely on software.
reviewer#1327 date: Oct-16-2006
sharpness: 3
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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:- Zeiss 24-70
- Zeiss 135 1.8
- Minolta 100 2
price paid:150 Euro
positive:- nice range
- solid
- Minolta colours
negative:- softness
- flare
- weight (not realy a problem)
- no lensehood
- focus distance
comment:I owned 5 of them, because this lens must be a lens in the 'G' quality. But all 5 were not.

Maybe I had all foulty lenses, but they didn't bring me what was promissed in this section. Not on the A100, nor the A700, nor the A850. Very disappointing results. Photos were all rather soft. Love the looks of this lens though. But again, very overrated imho.

Swapped it for the CZ 24-70 eventualy: a lot more expensive, but worth every dime.
reviewer#1219 date: Sep-23-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Vintage 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5
135mm f/2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp Image Reproduction
Solid Vintage Build
Very Minimal Distortion
Fast Rear IF
Natural Color Rendition
negative:Minimum Focusing Distance
Max Aperture f4/4.5
28mm = 42mm digital
comment:I am totally hooked on this lens. As most other reviewers have pointed out, this is one of those classic Minolta lenses that proved the company knew how to make great (and innovative) glass back in the day. Released in 1985 with the first line of vintage Maxxum lenses, it has been out of production for some time now.

For covering such a wide focal range, the lens is close to flawless in its image reproduction. The only "complaints" that I have about it are the limitations in maximum aperture, minimum focusing distance and the (only) 28mm wide end. The lens was very expensive in 1980's dollars ($600-800 retail), so I'm sure its price would have been exponentially higher had those issues been addressed.

I use this lens as my everyday casual walkaround with my 7D/VC-7D. Quite a handful, but it works. And it minimizes lens changes with its wide range. Many of these lenses have crossed my desk in the past few years, and it surprises me how poorly cared for some of the copies were. Perhaps because of its size and weight it has the potential to receive more of a beating, but what a shame! On the flipside, mine is a beauty and the zoom is still tight with no creep whatsoever. Well used copies tend to get a little sloppy. The rear AF is fast, and the front element (obviously) doesn't rotate which is great for CPL use. The macro is pretty much useless, but there if you need it.

I consider the vintage 28-85mm zoom to be the "poor man's" 28-135mm. A little less range, just a little less of a performer, but great value as it seems to have fallen out of favor of late. The 135mm prime is comparable at this focal length but with the larger maximum aperture and a steep price.

In the digital domain, the 28-135mm loses a lot on the wide end, (28mm becomes 42mm) but I have several wide primes to compensate for this and usually carry one of those if I think I'll need it. (My walkaround just got heavier!)

Rebuild this lens with a 20mm wide end, make it f/2.8 and close focus....sorry, just dreaming for a minute! As it stands, it's still one of my favorites. Highly recommended, but like all other good Minolta glass, getting more expensive to procure with the popularity of digital.

reviewer#1096 date: Aug-19-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Tamron 24-135, KM 28-75D
price paid:175USD
positive:built, color saturation, macro, super fast AF, 72mm filter
negative:weight, no lens hood, focusing distance, rotating front element
comment:If someone asked me which would be my last lens that I would sell it would be this one. Sure it has its short coming but the pros certainly outweigh the cons.
First, the flare was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. When compared to my sigma 50 2.8 it was slighty more prone to it but only by a few degrees. Also, the colors are so much more rich and vibrant than the KM and blows the Tamron out of the water. I'm still getting use to no lens hood and the fact that the focus ring is in the rear forces me to change my holding style. My version had a bargain rating and it looks like its had a long career but I have no doubt that it will continue to produce quality shots for me.
reviewer#1085 date: Aug-12-2006
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 used to own this lens
compared to:28-75/2.8 KM
17-35/2.8-4 KM
price paid:265.00
positive:Nice, robust and sharp
Great build quality
negative:Close focus is just 1.5 meter
comment:I purchased this lens from a dealer after reading the excellent reviews. The lens I bought has several wear places but the glass was clean. A well used "user" model. I'm surprised how good this zoom really is. It's just as sharp as the 28-75 KM and sharper than the 17-35 KM. I think I'll purchase another nicer example later...this lens is that good.
Update:
I finally purchased a very nice example of this lens and it's one fine optic...right there with the G glass as far as I'm concerned. Aside from the not-so-close focus, I love this lens.

reviewer#1044 date: Jul-31-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Excellent build and optics quality.
negative:No dedicated hood, closest focussing distance only 1.5m
comment:I can't deny that this has been my workhorse lens since my film-days. Match this lens with a Fuji-Velvia and you will be amazed with the colors and sharpness of any photo that you'll capture. With the 7D, image quality is superb. In normal prints (6x4" or 5x7") you can't even distinguish the difference between a photo taken with this lens and with a prime or G lens. It also performs well in flash photography, very ideal for indoor parties or weddings. Rear focussing serves its purpose, and it seems very fast considering that it's an old lens (circa 1980s). The aperture is almost constant at f4. That means I can practically simulate a 340mm/f4 lens (135mm x 1.5 crop factor x 1.7 TC).
reviewer#715 date: Apr-25-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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:18-70 kit lens
28-70 2.8 Tok pro SV
price paid:$120
positive:-good zoom range, would be perfect if started at 24mm
-sharp wide open at 28-100, very sharp stopped to f5.6
-quick AF even in low light (for its age)
-good contrast
-built like a tank
-low distortion
negative:-a tad soft wide open at 135mm, but still outstanding.
-weighs as much as a tank
-purple fringing even stopped down
-flair prone
-72mm filters = big $$
comment:I picked this lens up on a whim when I found a near mint copy in a local camera store. I'd was new to SLRs and never heard of it. Didn't know how good a lens I found until doing some research and taking some pics. Compared to the 5D kit lens I had its a night and day difference. The lens is very sharp throughout but as with most big zoom lenses it loses just a bit at the wide open long end, but not much. It's still phenominal though, especially for the price.

The zoom range is good but would be better on a APS-C camera if it started at 24mm. This is my primary lens and will be for a while I think. My only complaint I have with the IQ would be the purple fringing. It's often there even stopped down, and can be quite noticable wide open in high contrast pics. Given that this lens is hard to find these days, prices are high and it's big and heavy you may be better off with something newer but will have spend a lot of $$ for comparible image quality. If you can find a clean copy for a reasonable price I don't think you can go wrong.
reviewer#548 date: Mar-4-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:200 € used
positive:Professional build level, colour's answer and sharpnes' definition
negative:Minimum focus distance only 1,5 meters and flare.
comment:Heavy and solid lens with macro possibility (only in macro position). Together the new 17-35 f/2,8-4,0 it make my couple for travel around the world.
reviewer#536 date: Feb-24-2006
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 3.6
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-105, Tamron 28-200 etc etc
price paid:
missing
positive:Soild, fast/quiet AF, good focal length, good to excellent sharpness.
negative:Flare prone, medium to low contrast. Longish minimum focal length.
comment:Relatively sharp lens for its focal length. A solid performer. I trust this lens a lot. Indoor photogrpahy is no problem. With 5d's excellent high iso performance and this lens, covering 45mm to 180mm-ish focal length, it does the job alone.

Close focus distance is a bit of problem, 1.5m. It's bit too long for intimit shots but can be rectified by carrying another lens, i.e. 50mm.

I would definitely buy another one.
reviewer#270 date: Dec-9-2005
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:AF DT 18-70 f3.5-5.6
AF 70-210 f4
price paid:
missing
positive:Very Sharp
Good Build Quality
MF ring near the body
Surprisingly useful Macro mode
Relatively constant aparture throughout.
negative:Heavy
Extending front element
Hard to find shades for with 72mm ring
Small-ish aparture for such a big glass.
Long minimum focus distance
comment:My replacement for 5D kit lens. Its got a useful 28-135mm(1.5x for 5D) range and relatively constant aparture throughout. Images are very sharp and in good color. It is heavy but adds a good feel to the small-ish 5D. The macro range is usable for doing model kit and stuff. I wish it is available for lower f stop though. And the 72mm filter thread is hard to find accessory for. Recommand it if you can find one in good shape and for reasonable cost.
reviewer#267 date: Dec-6-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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:Minolta 24-105, 28/2, 35/2, 100/2, Sigma 28-200, 24-70/2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:AF speed, sharpness, build quality, contrast
negative:front heavy, flare, spinning focus ring under your finger
comment:I like it so much I bought it twice. I bought a somewhat abused sample a few years back, stuck it on my 9000 and shot away! For all of its dents, scratches and dings, it focused FAST and took terrific pictures. When I got the 7D, I bought a mint copy and couldn't be happier. For walking around with just one lens, and I don't need the speed of a prime, I go to the 28-135.

I don't do lens to lens tests, so my reviews are always subjective. I like the look of pictures with this lens. It is rumored it was one of the last lenses built in co-operation with Leitz. I believe this is true, as the lens displays many "leica" qualities. The contrast is marvelous, the colors rich and saturated.

As far as drawbacks, the front heavy nature of this lens is why it is so hard to find a realy nice one. Carried over the shoulder, it takes on a life of its own. I've gone to wrapping the strap around my wrist and carrying the camera by the VC-7D. I needed to change my grip slightly, because the rear focus ring spins next to the mount, well worth it for the fast focus. No surprise, flare is an issue, but with 1.5 crop, a regular rubber hood causes no vignettes and flare control is markedly improved.

My favorite accessory is the Minolta 72mm C. Polarizer. Since it is actually a 77-80mm filter in a permanent 72mm step-down ring, it is much easier to hold in place as the lens focuses, since the front element does turn.

Finding one at a reasonable price is problematic, unless you can inspect prior to purchase. However, even abused lenses can still perform well due to its incredible build quality.
reviewer#145 date: Oct-7-2005
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
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 used to own this lens
compared to:KM 28-75, Minolta 85 f1.4
price paid:120 NZD (2/h)
positive:There's still a lot to like about this "oldie" which I have judged against the highest quality lenses as well as the more digitally optimised KM 28-75 D. Good colours.
negative:A bit too heavy for a walk-around in this day and age. Some CA.
comment:If you are on a limited budget this one definitely still has a place if you are young and fit. I have had some good results when using flash with this lens.
reviewer#129 date: Oct-3-2005
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
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 used to own this lens
compared to:KM 28-75/2.8D
price paid:120 € (used)
positive:Excellent build
Sharp
Beautiful image qualities
Fast AF
negative:Without dedicated hood
Minimal focus distance a bit too long
Occasional CA and flare
Unfortunately not produced anymore
comment:This is one of those lenses that witnesses how much care Minolta used to have in building lenses. My sample is almost 20 years old and is still smooth in operation. For lenses like this one, I've been a long time Minolta user.
I'm glad to say, that many of the qualities are still here, in digital age. It's sharp (with a bit closed aperture it's real fantastic, at least until 100mm), with a special Minolta-like color renditions. You may be surprised how good the AF performance is despite the old design and a bit slowest aperture.
With FF bodies it can be hard to find a good hood for it (this lens is designed without the hood in mind) but with 1.5 crop camera, a standard screw in hood will do the job nicely.
Flare control was always a bit problematic, but I must confess that my sample does not exhibit this often (most of the time I use hood with it). What could be an "issue" with digital is CA on high-contrast scenes.
The lens has a macro option, but only at the wide end, which I haven't find useful on many occasion.
It's an old lens, but in many ways, it a G-class.
**Full frame**
Solid performance with very good results across the frame once stopped down a bit.
reviewer#105 date: Sep-6-2005
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharpness, clarity, colour rendition, bokeh.
negative:flare, weight (but worth lugging around)
comment:This has to be the one of the sharpest, purest zooms ever made. I have gone from a host of primes on my X-700 to (most of the time) just one lens on the 7D. I have photographed birds 20 feet away and you can see every filament of the tail feathers in a photo blown to 12"x18" with no pixelation or distortion whatsover. The colours are just superb, the rendition of skin tones the best I have ever seen, sky, water, foliage, all reproduced perfectly without any shift in hue or colour depth.

See http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?topic_id=1481&msg_id=00DP4F&photo_id=3684190&photo_sel_index=0
reviewer#89 date: Jul-9-2005
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:24-105, 28-85 f3.5-4.5
price paid:
missing
positive:Useful range,
Sharp,
Cheap,
Nice Bokeh,
Heavy, but well balance
negative:flare could be a problem in some situation.
A bit slow (old lens)
comment:Nice and heavy lens, construction wise is very good. I love the way that the focusing ring is at the end of the lens because I use a lot of manual focussing when doing portrait.

I like the bokeh (out of focus).

The range is very nice on 7D and not too bad in terms of focusing with 7D or film 7.

It is very sharp and colour is very natural.

sample pictures can be found on http://www.pbase.com/hartanto_tan/lachlan_yvonne
reviewer#85 date: Jun-18-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:28-70G
price paid:
missing
positive:Very great lens
negative:Very heavy. Rare to find.
comment:Very 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

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