Minolta AF Maxxum 28-135mm f/4-4.5 Zoom Lens
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- 5x zoom range
- Rear focusing
- Macro switch for close focusing
- 72mm filter
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Focal Length: 28-135mm Aperture Maximum: f/4-4.5 Aperture Minimum: f/22-27 Camera Mount Type: Minolta/Sony Alpha Format Compatibility: Minolta SLR film, digital & Sony Alpha Digital Angle of view: 75-18 degrees, full frame Minimum Focus Distance: 1500mm Elements/Groups: 16/13 Diaphragm Blades: 7 Vibration Reduction: Yes Autofocus: Yes Tripod Collar: No Filter Thread: 72mm Dimensions: 2.95" x 4.3" Weight: 26.6 oz.
Top customer reviews
We have done head to head comparisons with most of Minolta's lenses and this one holds its own against an of the primes in it's range. You would have to spend at least 5 times as much money to get similar results.
We use 2 of these lenses on the main 2 cameras in our wedding photography business and we sell 2-3 of them a week on the big auction site. Every customer is thrilled with the results they get from this classic beauty!
If you can get your hands on 1... buy it quick, it'll probably never leave your camera!
There are many good reasons for why this lens is truly legendary. First of all, it was a VERY expensive lens at the time of its release in 1985, roughly $700 - ~ $2K in today's money. The lens, in its day, was probably the sharpest wide-angle to short telephoto 5x zoom that had ever been manufactured. Relative to premium lenses of today, it's still sharp, although perhaps not quite as sharp for example as the pricey Zeiss 24-70 2.8 full frame zoom optic - which is probably the best current walkaround-every-day-zoom lens for full frame Alpha mount, but it is very close to the Zeiss, especially past 28 mm, its least sharp focal length (Update - there is now a Mark 2 version of the Zeiss with newer coatings but optically identical). On the other hand, relative to a modern lens, it does have a fair amount of chromatic aberration, and its minimum focusing distance is a ridiculous 5 feet, outside of a modestly useful macro setting (which curiously is set on the wide as opposed to the telephoto end of the lens). And since it is built like a tank, it's not a lightweight wonder, at over 700 g. Additionally, when you have the macro switch engaged, it's all manual focus, a minor loss of flexibility for most people, as most people shooting macro will probably manual focus anyway. So it's a VERY quirky lens by modern standards. But it is a very high quality piece of optical gear, and once you have manipulated it, and shot with it, you will understand the legend. And stopped down, it is very sharp, and competitive in that regard with any modern zoom lens.
It worked well (at least for me) on APS-C as a portrait-oriented people-shooting lens, kind of long for a classic walk-around lens, but still useful. On APS-C, it loses any kind of real wide-angle view, going from about 42 mm to about 200 mm - so it's a good lens for shooting people at various stages of assembly, particularly candid shots on social occasions where the extra reach is really important. On FF, it's clearly a bit more useful, going from moderate wide-angle to moderate telephoto. It had a brief period of being my walk around zoom for the A99ii - until a used mint 24-70 CZ displaced it. As one would predict, on APS-C, there is significantly less vignetting (virtually none), and corners are also better wide open towards the wide-angle end, while corners are rather soft on full frame at 28 mm, even slightly stopped down. However, as the lens extends out, and you get more into mid range and short telephoto focal lengths, corners are pretty good, especially if you stop down a little bit, where they can become excellent, especially again on APS-C. Central sharpness is a strength of the lens throughout its focal ranges and apertures, and on APS-C, if you're at a >6.3 aperture, the lens can be very, very sharp. On the other hand, it's rather vulnerable to flare and ghosting, and in its original form, they did not supply a lens hood, exacerbating this vulnerability. This can be mitigated with a 72mm hood, which I have for my copy.
1) Excellent overall sharpness especially past 28 mm, and especially if stopped down to 6.3-8+, with very strong central and very good corner sharpness.
2) Very high quality mechanism, and the lens simply exudes a premium bank vault feel, untouchable at its current average price of around $200-$300. Built like a tank (but see cons).
3) Pretty decent autofocus, with snappy performance, almost as fast as any modern SSM or USD and very reasonably responsive on the A77ii/A99ii.
4) Highly flexible 5x zoom ratio, overall much more useful on FF than APS-C, where the 1.5 crop factor wipes out any version of wide-angle, but where it becomes a great candid people-shooter lens for street shooting and candid portraits at social gatherings.
5) A truly excellent value, as mint copies can be had for $250-$300. Try to find a walk-around 5x zoom lens of this quality on FF for $250 in the Canikon universe. They just don't exist.
1) Significantly more chromatic aberration and vulnerability to flare than virtually any modern lens - modern coatings and other improvements in optics have really reduced these problems (but DxO Optics Pro for example has CA correction profiles for this lens, substantially mitigating this problem). Don't have the sun in the frame!! Or near it! Unless you are shooting to include flare effect in your composition.
2) Heavy (downside of being built like a tank). Can be tiring to carry on heavy FF body.
3) Somewhat noisy relative to modern SSM/USD designs - Don't shoot movies with this unless you're doing manual focus! Makes audible clacking sounds, like all these screw drive legacy lenses.
4) Ridiculous MFD minimum focusing distance just under one light year (OK, I'm kidding it's really 5 feet) - another clue that this design is 30+ years old.
5) Somewhat softer corners wide-open than in the very best modern lenses. These will sharpen up at most FL by stopping down and by f7-8 corners are often decently sharp.
6) Bokeh not so great at wide end (a bit harsh actually), but significantly better zoomed out, where it approaches classic 'beercan' smoothness.
7) End of barrel rotates while zooming, making some filters problematic. Also, Minolta didn't supply a hood (but this can be had elsewhere).
In short, there is a good reason for why this lens is legendary (along with its famous telephoto cousin the 'beercan'), and although modern lenses exceed it in a number of areas, shooting in its sweet spot (50 mm-135 mm stopped down), it competes with anything, and it simply blows away any more modern zoom lens you can buy for your Sony Alpha mount that costs anywhere near $250 - particularly if you have a FF body.
Get a good copy (make sure you can return it if it turns out to be a lemon), and specifically, make sure the aperture blades are not sticky, and you will not regret it. But do expect more flare and some CA relative to the best newer lenses. It's still an absolute classic for a reason!
This lens is big and it is heavy. It makes the A6500 feel a lot bigger than it is but for me that is OK. It really has a a range of 42MM to 405MM with the 1.5 crop factor and the Sony Clear Image Zoom on the a6500 so it is a very good overall lens. And with MACRO, it kills the close up shots. Macro takes some practice and actually MACRO is better when using a tripod or other support. The A6500 has excellent 5 axis image stabilization but the best MACRO is with a tripod or other support along with the Image stabilization.
There were tons of these lenses made and were at first not real popular. It was heavy and it was at the time expensive. It got the name "Secret Handshake Lens" because there was a false story about Minolta giving this lens away to loyal Minolta customers. That was not true but it did do a lot to make this lens a lot more popular as it aged.
I really love this lens. With a Zeiss T* filter you get really excellent color and that Zeiss lens look. I highly recommend this lens especially for Sony A6500 owners. I've included some macro photos taken with this lens.