Minolta New MD (MDIII) Zoom 35-135mm F3.5-4.5 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, 85mm, 135mm 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.

MDZ35135_exterior_29.jpg

Minolta New MD (MDIII) 35-135mm F3.5-4.5 parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 263
Name engraved on lens MD ZOOM
f[mm] 35-135
A max [1/f] 3.5-4.5
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 14
Lens design [gr.] 12
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 1.5/5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×100
Weight[g] 510
Year 1983
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2502-110
 Note 2-Touch w/ macro mode

The lens has a variable speed from 3.5 to 4.5 depends on focal distance, so, all test results on fully opened aperture were marked with F3.5 to avoid misunderstanding.


Lens exterior:

As you can see on the pictures, my copy lost the rubber coating on focus-zoom ring. It doesn’t affect the image quality, really, who would not assure you of the opposite.

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


Lens code name – Mumei 無名:

Mumei (無名, Mumei) whose real name is Hozumi is the main female protagonist of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. A mysterious and anonymous girl whom later reveals herself to be a Kabaneri. She is the adoptive younger sister of Biba Amatori, leader of the Hunters.


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)
mumei_17.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 FOCAL DISTANCE = 35mm

35mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_35mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_35mm_c_res_close.jpg


35mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_35mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_35mm_e_res_far.jpg


35mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ35135_35mm_f_vignetting.jpg


35mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_35mm_F3_5_Geometry_893.jpg


35mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_35mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


35mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_35mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


35mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_35mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


35mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, 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)

MDZ35135_35mm_m_dots_far.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCAL DISTANCE = 50mm

50mm – Sharpness – short distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_50mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_50mm_c_res_close.jpg


50mm – Sharpness – long distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_50mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_50mm_e_res_far.jpg


50mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ35135_50mm_f_vignetting.jpg


50mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_50mm_F3_5_Geometry_894.jpg


50mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_50mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


50mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_50mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


50mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_50mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


50mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, 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)

MDZ35135_50mm_m_dots_far.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCAL DISTANCE = 85mm

85mm – Sharpness – short distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_85mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_85mm_c_res_close.jpg


85mm – Sharpness – long distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_85mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_85mm_e_res_far.jpg


85mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ35135_85mm_f_vignetting.jpg


85mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_85mm_F3_5_Geometry_895.jpg


85mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_85mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


85mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_85mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


85mm – Close distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, plants were fixed in 3m distance from camera in front of the window with bright light from outside.

(frame scaled 1200×800, bokeh covers the frame partially)

MDZ35135_85mm_j_bokeh_close.jpg


85mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_85mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


85mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, 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)

MDZ35135_85mm_m_dots_far.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCAL DISTANCE = 135mm

135mm – Sharpness – short distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_135mm_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_135mm_c_res_close.jpg


135mm – Sharpness – long distance:

Scene preview:

MDZ35135_135mm_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDZ35135_135mm_e_res_far.jpg


135mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ35135_135mm_f_vignetting.jpg


135mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_135mm_F3_5_Geometry_896.jpg


135mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_135mm_h_coma_aberr_.jpg


135mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ35135_135mm_i_chrome_aberr_.jpg


135mm – Close distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, plants were fixed in 3m distance from camera in front of the window with bright light from outside.

(frame scaled 1200×800, bokeh covers the frame partially)

MDZ35135_135mm_j_bokeh_close.jpg


135mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ35135_135mm_k_bokeh_far.jpg


135mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, 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)

MDZ35135_135mm_m_dots_far.jpg


Other resources with reviews:


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MD 35-135mm F/4.5 Zoom Macro:

MDZ35135Avatar.png

Another one surprise from Minolta. It’s strangely, but this 4-x zoom isn’t so bad as mass of another multi-zooms. May be not a big great gem, but definitely – small hidden gem. It is good enough for landscapes on short-end – close to the 35mm, and quite appropriate for portraits on long-end, close to the 70mm. Short-end has an ideal geometry, just don’t forget that aperture need to be closed to F8 at least for quite good corners, but in most usual scenes F5.6 can be enough. On 70mm geometry isn’t good, but it doesn’t affect much the objects in the middle part of the frame and photos can be taken even on wide opened, because other aberrations aren’t too big. Bokeh is appropriate enough for portraits, and photographer is able to separate object and background. Additionally, it’s a very small and lightweight lens for such focal distances.

Of course I’m not going to say that this lens is a great performer over the whole frame – this is the zoom, and it means that it’s a compromise between convenience and optical quality. My main idea is simple: a lot better than it can be expected from 4x zoom, that’s why a good photographer, who understands the behavior of this lens on the different focal distances – can get a nice result. And one more important advantage – it’s very inexpensive lens for today.


This lens took part in battles:

MDZ35135_MD3528_MD5020_MD8520_MD13528_Battle__Avatar

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