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LensWars: Minolta MD Zoom 24-50mm 1:4.0 vs. MD 24mm 1:2.8, MD 28mm 1:2.8 (5×5), MD 35mm 1:2.8, MD 50mm 1:1.4

In most cases top-rated fixed focal lenses are better than zooms, but it isn’t always true, and here is one of the exclusions.

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 (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

  • Sunlight has been changed during the session.
  • 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):


Focal distance 50mm

Scene preview (50mm):


Test results (50mm):


My conclusion:

Firstly, this MD 24-50/4 has a really convenient diapason.

Secondary, when I received the first test results at 24mm I did not believe my eyes – the zoom shows the same result as the most famous and popular MD 24 / 2.8. It’s a surprise.

And thirdly – zoom is cheaper than the set of four primes. On the other hand, the zoom isn’t so good at 28-35-50mm. Very subjective choice. One point I see – if a photographer mostly prefers the 24mm angle view, then it may be better to get MD 24-50/4 because diapason from 25 to 50 mm would be something like a free bonus. Additionally, the sharpness of Zoom on 25-50mm is still really appropriate even for landscapes. So, we see the one another gem of Minolta, and what about me – this lens can compete in fighting for the “Travel King Lens” award.



  1. Hi! Thanks for review, this 24-50 is really a gem. One thing is confusing me is resolution/sharpness performance at 24mm vs MD 24mm 2.8. Have you seen similar test from “rokkor files”?
    It looks much different at 24mm!
    What I thing may be the reason for that:
    – Your 24mm 2.8 is not the best copy
    – Your 24-50 is an exceptional copy ))
    – MD W Rokkor 24mm (from another test) is a better lens, than later plain MD 24mm! I have MD 24mm 2.8 and find it kind of suddenly soft in middle-corner.
    – Object that you focus to in your test are far more distant, than in rokkor files test. So, maybe there is a difference in focusing distance or corner/center focusing is somehow depends on this factor.
    Really really interesting where is the truth! )


  2. Hi. You see the truth.
    “– Your 24mm 2.8 is not the best copy” – to my regret I haven’t another one MD24/2.8, but I was lucky to get MD VFC 24/2.8 and compared both – – there is no reasons to think that reviewed MD24/2.8 isn’t a good copy
    “– Your 24-50 is an exceptional copy ))” – that’s possible, but sounds strange, because otherwise all another copies made by Minolta should be bad, but it’s impossible case
    “– MD W Rokkor 24mm (from another test) is a better lens, than later plain MD 24mm” – nope. The latest MD is the slightly better. By the way, compared MD VFC 24/2.8 has the same scheme and IQ as previous generation of Rokkors.
    “– Object that you focus to in your test are far more distant, than in rokkor files test.” – sounds like a claim.. , anyway, comparisons with 24mm focal distances have been performed on the site many times, and this particular battle doesn’t shows anything abnormal
    “So, maybe there is a difference in focusing distance or corner/center focusing is somehow depends on this factor.” – it won’t help even if it would be so. You can read more here –


  3. Interesting to learn about VFC 24mm. As for MD W rokkor 24 vs MD 24, I couldn’t find any info with tests…
    As for the focusing distance, no claims here ), just mentioned the difference in tests. And I was not very familiar with field curvature and testing methods, thanks for the link.
    The mystery of 24mm remains…)


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