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

Scene preview (24mm):


Test results (24mm):


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 – unbelievable, but in this position Zoom gives even the better resolution up to F5.6. Prime became the same only at F8.
  • Corner – Prime gives a 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 another words – the maximum possible sharpness of Zoom is looks like Prime just on F4.

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 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 competes with Prime at F11 only.

35mm focal distance:

  • Center – Zoom is the same as Prime at F5.6 and all next apertures. Actually, 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? Depends on photographer and answers for questions like – what the favorite focal distances, what the target of shooting, what the goal of trip, what the size of 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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