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LensWars: Minolta MD Zoom 24-35mm 1:3.5 vs. MD 24mm 1:2.8, MD 28mm 1:2.8 (5×5), MD 35mm 1:2.8

Minolta MD Zoom 24-35mm 1:3.5 vs. primes lenses comparison.

It is believed that the sharpness of prime lenses is better than that of the zooms. By the way, this is not always true. And usually few people imagine how noticeable the difference is. Such comparisons are needed to know exactly which lens you need to take with you for a walk.

Tested lenses reviews:


Test description: Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) was fixed on the tripod and managed remotely with computer display as a viewfinder. Targets (buildings) were fixed by gravity power on the distances in more than 200 meters.  All shots were made with apertures from fully opened and up to F16. ISO-100. Shutter Speed – depends on light (camera A-mode). SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot to exclude focus-shift.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings, and with little WB correction (because weather changes). 300×200 px elements were cropped (100% crops), combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.

Note: I am just a man, I do not pretend that in all cases my focus settings were absolutely accurate. But I aspired to it.

Focal distance 24mm


Among all lenses Minolta, which have been tested on the site, New-MD 24 / 2.8 has brought more problems. Some time after the test and review, I managed to get another copy of the lens, and it turned out that it was noticeably sharper than the first. According to other materials on the Internet, I’m sure that this sharpness is more suitable for this model, and a new copy – the most correct.
I had to redo all the tests with a 24mm lenses (including zoom lenses) on an infinite distance and this current article is in the list.
On this page you can read the already fixed version of the article with the most reliable data.

Scene preview (24mm):


Test results (24mm):


And the bonus one diagram – Zoom vs Zoom – New-MD 24-35/3.5 vs New MD 24-50/4.0 on 24mm focal distance:


Focal distance 28mm

Scene preview (28mm):


Test results (28mm):


Focal distance 35mm

Scene preview (35mm):


Test results (35mm):


My conclusion:

24mm focal distance:

  • Center – Zoom has the same resolution and contrast in the center as the prime.
  • Middle – Zoom has the same resolution and contrast in the center as the prime.
  • Corner – Prime gives very good corners at F5.6 and totally sharp at F8, but Zoom can’t provide the same sharpness and looks average at F8-F11. In other words – the maximum possible sharpness of Zoom looks like Prime just on F4.

BTW: the special guest MD-III Zoom 24-50mm F4.0 had a victory against Zoom 24-35mm F3.5 on 24mm focal distance.

28mm focal distance:

  • Center – Zoom has the same resolution and contrast in the center as the prime.
  • Middle – Zoom is slightly worse than Prime if wide opened, but the difference is really little and at F5.6 lenses are the same.
  • Corner – Prime is very good at F4 and very nice at F8, Zoom can compete with Prime at F11 only.

35mm focal distance:

  • Center – Zoom is the same as Prime at F5.6 and all next apertures. Actually, the difference at wide opened F3.5 is a little, but it presented
  • Middle – Prime is better at any apertures
  • Corner – Prime is better at any apertures

Yes, this zoom can’t win against these primes. On the other hand please look at these primes – two of them (Minolta MD 24mm f2.8 and MD 35mm f2.8) are the world-famous lenses for such focal distances, and Minolta MD 28mm F2.8 is a not bad at all too, so I was surprised that sometimes the difference had to be sought with a microscope. And don’t forget about Middle on 24mm where Zoom wins.

Does the displayed in corners mostly weakness of Zoom is good payment for compact size and convenience in using? It depends on the photographer and answers for questions like – what the favorite focal distances, what the target of the shooting, what the goal of the trip, what the size of the bag, what ‘crop’, etc. For me personally, this zoom is one another hidden gem of Minolta.


Another comparisons with these lenses:

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

LensWars: Minolta MD 35mm f/1.8 vs. MD 35mm f/2.8 and one more

LensWars: Minolta MD 24mm f/2.8 vs. MD VFC 24mm f/2.8

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