Minolta New MD (MDIII) 35-70mm F3.5 Zoom Macro lens review.

Reviews of zoom lenses are long, because each of them contains, as it were, several reviews of prime lenses in one. Tests for this review are divided for: 35mm, 50mm, 70mm groups.

After getting a new lens, I always take a few technical shots to understand its strengths and weaknesses – usually it helps me a lot to start using unknown lens with much less of doubt. One day I decided that my data might be interesting for someone else and this site has been made.

MDZ3570_exterior_27.jpg

Minolta MD Zoom 35-70mm F3.5 Macro parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 259
Name engraved on lens MD ZOOM
f[mm] 35-70
A max [1/f] 3.5
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 8
Lens design [gr.] 7
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.8/2.8
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 69×68.5
Weight[g] 365
Year 1983
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2513-110
 Note 2-Touch w/ macro mode
Minolta MD Zoom 35-70 F3.5 optical design
Minolta MD Zoom 35-70 F3.5 optical design

Lens exterior:

(Please, forgive me the dust on the lens, I never have the patience to clean objects for close-up photo sessions)

 


Lens code name – Yamada Elf  山田 エルフ:

Yamada Elf (Emily) is Izumi Masamune’s fellow author and neighbor. Her real name is Emily Granger.

 


Test methods descriptions:

Sharpness – close distance:

Test description: target is a 10×15 cm picture (printed, glossy photo paper), fixed on the wall by scotch. Distance – 1.7m. Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) was fixed on the tripod and managed remotely with computer display as a viewfinder. All groups of shots were repeated 3 times for every target position on all apertures from fully opened up to F16, ISO-200, WB – same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot. After all needed shots have been taken for one target position – I moved  the target to the next place. Main idea – to exclude the field curvature affect on so close distance. Of course, I can’t be absolutely accurate, but test results looks correct.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings (Some single files have a slight light correction, for better visual convenience in comparison), then cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)
Elf_Yamada_2Print.png

Sharpness – long distance:

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 have been taken with apertures from fully opened up to F16. ISO-50. Shutter Speed – depends on light (camera A-mode), WB – fixed and the same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot to exclude focus-shift affect.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings (Some single files have a slight light correction, for better visual convenience in comparison), then were cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 35mm

35mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_35mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions):

MDZ3570_35mm_c_res_close.jpg


35mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_35mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ3570_35mm_e_res_far.jpg


35mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ3570_35mm_f_vignetting.jpg


35mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_35mm_F5_6_geometry_75.jpg


35mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_35mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


35mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_35mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


35mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_35mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


35mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, lights were fixed in more than 200m.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is demonstration of extreme conditions. In most cases of real life photography the blur level will be less.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_35mm_m_dots_far.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 50mm

50mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_50mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ3570_50mm_c_res_close.jpg


50mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_50mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ3570_50mm_e_res_far.jpg


50mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ3570_50mm_f_vignetting.jpg


50mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_50mm_F5_6_geometry_76.jpg


50mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_50mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


50mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_50mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


50mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_50mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


50mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, lights were fixed in more than 200m.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is demonstration of extreme conditions. In most cases of real life photography the blur level will be less.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_50mm_m_dots_far.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 70mm

70mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_70mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ3570_70mm_c_res_close.jpg


70mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview:

MDZ3570_70mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ3570_70mm_e_res_far.jpg


70mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ3570_70mm_f_vignetting.jpg


70mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_70mm_F5_6_geometry_77.jpg


70mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_70mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


70mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ3570_70mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


70mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_70mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


70mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.8m, lights were fixed in more than 200m.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is demonstration of extreme conditions. In most cases of real life photography the blur level will be less.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ3570_70mm_m_dots_far.jpg


Other resources with reviews:


My overall conclusion about the LENSNAME (LENSNAME WITH MM/FF):

MDZ3570Avatar.png

Are you really interested in my humble opinion about the most famous zoom lens in the world? This lens has been reviewed and described so many times, that when I got my first copy, I already knew everything about it. But I sold it after a few days of using. Too inconvenient for me. That time I decided that It’s because of crop-camera and forgot about it. After a few years I’ve got the full-frame camera and the idea to check this zoom again. And I found no changes – it’s still inconvenient for me. Let me describe my position – this zoom is an alternative for set of just two primes – 35mm and 50mm, ok-ok – it’s for me only. Both are small, lightweight and cheap. In my bag these two lenses takes the same room as the one zoom. Yes,  this MD 35-70mm F3.5 can provide the unbelievable sharpness in terms of zoom-lenses, but such sharpness is usual for primes. This sharpness of MD 35-70/3.5 is an advantage against other zooms, but not against primes. And I like to play with thin DOF – for me it’s more important. The real advantage against primes is typical for zooms: photographer doesn’t need to switch lenses. So, I have to choose between two points: fast apertures or no needing in switching of two lenses. I prefer fast apertures. But it regarding me only.

And please, stop to tell that this lens was designed by Leica. This lens was designed and produced by Minolta. Even if the copy is labeled by Leica.

In general: absolutely amazing zoom. “One of the Best” – true description. Fixed F3.5 at all diapason. It’s really sharp for any scenes even wide opened on any focal distances. Totally sharp from F5.6 on infinity. Fast enough for portraits and can provide not bad bokeh on long end. Aberrations are small and can be easy fixed in editors if needed. Final version of this lens has macro-mode. So, it can be only one lens in a bag. I strongly recommend it for photographers, who are looking for universal tool. This lens can be found on auctions quite cheap, because a lot of were produced, and can be sold quick because it’s popular legendary lens. So, why not to try? You do not lose anything, but if you love it, it can became your favorite lens.


This lens took part in the battle:

MDZ3570_SCZ3528_MD5014_Battle__Avatar

MDZ2870_MD2835_MDZ3570_Battle__Avatar.png

 

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