Lens review: Minolta New MD (MDIII) Zoom 28-70mm F3.5-4.8 Macro.

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: 28mm, 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.

MDZ28703548ext_DSC00966.jpg

Minolta MD Zoom 28-70mm F3.5-4.8 Macro parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 255
Name engraved on lens MD ZOOM
f[mm] 28-70
A max [1/f] 3.5-4.8
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 8
Lens design [gr.] 8
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade screw-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.8/2.75
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×69
Weight[g] 225
Year 1985
Style MD IIIa
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2526-1xx
Note 2-Touch w/ macro mode

The lens has a variable speed from 3.5 to 4.8 depends on focal distance, so, all test results on fully opened aperture were marked with F3.5 to avoid misunderstanding.

Note: there are more than one version of this zoom were produced and, actually, this lens isn’t original Minolta design, but licensed from third party companies. Definitely known at least two of them – Cosina and Hoya/Tokina. But another versions are possible too. My lens weights 361g (‘heavy version’) and serial 57011889 , so if your copy is close by this parameters than it is a good chance that this review is applicable for your copy too.

MDZ2870scale


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 – Hinata Miyake:

Hinata Miyake is one of the main characters in the anime A Place Further From The Universe. She was originally a student, but due to an incident on the track team, became homeschooled. She was working her job at a convenience store when she initially heard of Shirase’s and Mari’s plans to go to Antarctica as they were talking loudly about it. She was able to get on the expedition team after convincing Yuzu to go.

 


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 – about 10% longer than minimal focus distance marked on the lens. 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 9 times for every target position on all apertures from fully opened up to F16, ISO-100, 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.

test_scene_view300x200

Main idea – to exclude the field curvature affect on so close distance.

Of course, I can’t be absolutely accurate, but so many repeats of shots – 4 for corners, 2 for long side, 2 for short side are giving me insurance that test results are 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.

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-100. 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 = 28mm

28mm – Sharpness – short distance

28mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_28mm__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

28mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_28mm__c_res_close.jpg


28mm – Sharpness – long distance

28mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_28mm__e_far_preview

28mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_28mm__e_res_far.jpg


28mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ2870_28mm__f_vignettingNEW.jpg


28mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_geometry_28mm_F5_6__098.jpg


28mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_28mm__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


28mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_28mm__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


28mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_28mm__k_bokeh_farNEW.jpg


28mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1m, 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)

MDZ2870_28mm__m_dots_farNEW.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 35mm

35mm – Sharpness – short distance

35mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_35mm__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

35mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_35mm__c_res_close.jpg


35mm – Sharpness – long distance

35mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_35mm__e_far_preview

35mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_35mm__e_res_far.jpg


35mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ2870_35mm__f_vignettingNEW.jpg


35mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_geometry_35mm_F5_6__099.jpg


35mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_35mm__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


35mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_35mm__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


35mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_35mm__k_bokeh_farNEW


35mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

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

MDZ2870_35mm__m_dots_farNEW.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 50mm

50mm – Sharpness – short distance

50mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_50mm__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

50mm – Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions):

MDZ2870_50mm__c_res_close.jpg


50mm – Sharpness – long distance

50mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_50mm__e_far_preview

50mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_50mm__e_res_far.jpg


50mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ2870_50mm__f_vignettingNEW.jpg


50mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_geometry_50mm_F5_6__100.jpg


50mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_50mm__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


50mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_50mm__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


50mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_50mm__k_bokeh_farNEW


50mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1m, 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)

MDZ2870_50mm__m_dots_farNEW.jpg


TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 70mm

70mm – Sharpness – short distance

70mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_70mm__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

70mm – Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions):

MDZ2870_70mm__c_res_close.jpg


70mm – Sharpness – long distance

70mm – Scene preview:

MDZ2870_70mm__e_far_preview

70mm – Test results:

MDZ2870_70mm__e_res_far.jpg


70mm – Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDZ2870_70mm__f_vignettingNEW.jpg


70mm – Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_geometry_70mm_F5_6__101.jpg


70mm – Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_70mm__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


70mm – Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDZ2870_70mm__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


70mm – Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDZ2870_70mm__k_bokeh_farNEW


70mm – Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1m, 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)

MDZ2870_70mm__m_dots_farNEW.jpg


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MD Zoom 28-70mm F3.5-4.5 Macro:

MDZ28703548__Avatar.png

This is not a ‘gem’ but it works and shows enough optical quality – not high, not worst, and, of course, photographer can get nice photos with this lens. In my eyes it looks definitely better than a common zoom what we can find in cameras kits from any company, even for modern times. It wasn’t designed in ‘Minolta’ style, and feeling of this lens in hands is different with other Minoltas, but feeling is not bad. Lens has a quite solid hull with a good materials, just a small backlash/play of the focus-ring spoils the picture on my copy. Of course it is cheap, but the price doesn’t matter, because I can’t imagine people, who buy it because hunt for it, usually such lenses distributed in role of caps with old cameras. That’s why my recommendation is unusual – it’s easy to get another better lens if to spend even a little bit more money, but if this lens was acquired for free, than it’s good idea to save it just in case, especially if owner hasn’t a wide range of other lenses. Advantages: very convenient focal distances – 28-70mm, macro 1/4, quite fast, enough sharp if closed down, small and lightweight. Add here unexpectedly good overall optical IQ – and it can be seen that this lens is not bad at least.


This lens took part in battles:

MDZ2870_MD2835_MDZ3570_Battle__Avatar.png

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