LensWars: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.0 vs. MD 28mm f/2.8(7×7) vs. MD 28mm f/2.8(5×5) vs. MD 28mm f/3.5

Comparison of lenses Minolta MD 28mm 1:2.0, Minolta MD 28mm 1:2.8 (7 elements 7 groups), Minolta MD 28mm 1:2.8 (5 elements 5 groups), Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5

IMPORTANT NOTE: This was the first lenses-comparison on this site. That time I had copy of MD 28mm 1:2.8 5×5 version and MD 35mm 1:3.5 in bad cosmetic appearance. So, after I got another copies of these lenses I’m remaking the tests. No changes in conclusion and results but I recommend to read latest article because it contains more convenient structure. Here you can find it.


This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can be differ if any element is changed.

Tested lenses:

Test description: Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) – fixed on the tripod. Targets (buildings) – fixed by gravity power on the distances in more than 200 meters. All shots were made with apertures from fully opened and up to F11. ISO-100. Shutter Speed – depends on light (camera A-mode), WB – same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot to exclude focus-shift affecting. Focus point – center of the picture.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings, cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.

As you know, Minolta’s N-MD series lenses haven’t “half-click” after the first aperture position, so I stopped ring in the middle position, but it’s impossible to set it precisely, so, if you see that a picture taken, for example, with N-MD 28mm f/2.0 on aperture 2.4 – it means that picture was taken on aperture set in the middle position between 2.0 and 2.8. Same for N-MD 28mm f/2.8 with photo taken on f3.5 etc.

Notes:
  • Sunlight has been changed during the session. A lot of times, every 2 minutes.
  • I am just a man, I do not pretend that in all cases my focus settings were absolutely accurate. But I aspired to it.
  • My Minolta N-MD 28mm f/2.8(5×5) looks like survivor after small nuclear war. I admit that it probably can has a very small contrast drop, but hope that it doesn’t affect resolution tests.

Scene preview:

Test results for the center:

MD28_all_vs_all_12x4_center.jpg

Test results for the middle:

MD28_all_vs_all_12x4_middle.jpg

Test results for the corner:

MD28_all_vs_all_12x4_corner.jpg

My conclusion:

It’s difficult to select the winner in this comparison. Really:

  • Center – all are the same
  • Middle – MD 28/3.5 is better than others (surprise!), MD 28/2.8 7×7 is on the second place, MD 28/2.0 is third, and MD 28/2.8 5×5 is losing here, but…
  • Corner – MD 28/3.5 and 28/2.0 both are the same and noticeable better than both MD 28/2.8 which are the same too.

Additionally we should remember that MD 28/2.0 has F2.0, and MD28/3.5 has F3.5 only. So, I don’t know how to select one from this pack, because all of these lenses are good for different tasks. Just one idea – if lens is needed for landscapes only, then photographer can save a money and take cheapest MD 28/3.5 with no doubts. But, please, make your personal conclusions based on these test results.

MD28mmAll_Battle__Avatar

9 thoughts on “LensWars: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.0 vs. MD 28mm f/2.8(7×7) vs. MD 28mm f/2.8(5×5) vs. MD 28mm f/3.5”

  1. You should try the Minolta zooms from MD line. Some of them are excellent, for instance 24-50/4, 35-70/3.5, 70-210/4 and 28-85/3.5-4.5. All of them became base for designing later auto-focus line of Minolta. The image quality is often on pair with the primes at the same aperture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you get direct sunlight in your balcony it would be very interesting to test for flare/ghosting resistance on backlight situations. I have sharp lenses that aren’t well suited for landscape photography for this reason.

    Anyways, based on your tests I’m buying a MDIII 28 f3.5. Let’s see how it behaves 🙂

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  3. Yes, flare/ghosting resistance is very important, I’m going to make test with front-light next season for all available lenses.
    MDIII 28 F3.5 can’t be bad in anyway because of the price )))

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  4. Well, maybe is just my eyes but for me it’s clear that the 28mm f2 seems better than all the others, resolution/sharpness wise. Sharp already in the center from f2 and always the best (equaled by the others – discard 28mm f2.8 5 elements – at f4.5 onward), better than all others on the corners and only bettered by the 28mm f3.5 on the middle up to f5.6. Taken into consideration that probably will have better OOF rendering, will be much better also on close distances and has usable f2 and f2.8 apertures, it seems clearly the better lens. Of course if you only shoot landscapes and want to spend 1/3rd of the money of the f2 than go for the f3.5.

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  5. Yes. MD 28mm 1/2.0 definitely better than others in these tests. Little brother – 28/3.5 can be recommend because much less price, but it is on the second place

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  6. I’m quite surprised about the relativly poor performance of your copy of Minolta MD 28mm f2.8(7×7). I have the older MD-II-Version of the 28mm f2.8(7×7) and also the 28mm f3.5 (also MD-II), both in good condition.
    My copies are equal from f5.6 onwards on my A7II, I can’t see a big difference regarding sharpness. The main difference between my copies is that the 28mm f3.5 produces warmer colors.
    I’d guess that my copy of the 28mm f2.8(7×7) is a bit better than yours, while my copy of he 28mm f3.5 is slightly inferior.
    But I agree with you that the 28mm f3.5 is surprisingly good and it costs almost nothing (got mine for 12€ !).

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