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LensWars: Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 vs. MD 28mm 1:3.5 vs. MD 35mm 1:2.8 vs. MD 50mm 1:1.4 vs. MD 85mm 1:2.0

One of the best zooms of pre-AF era is going to fight against famous primes on the most used focal distances. Yes, that primes are powerful, so the victory of zoom looks impossible but it will be great even if it can shows at least a close level of sharpness.

Welcome to see the comparison of Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom, Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5, Minolta 35mm 1:2.8, Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4, Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0

This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can differ if any element is changed.

Tested lenses:


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. For excluding of any possible field curvatures affects – focus was set on the red rectangle for every of positions – center, middle, corner (see scene previews).

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.

  • 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 28mm

Scene preview (28mm):


Test results (28mm):

MDZ2885_vs_ MD2835.jpg

Focal distance 35mm

Scene preview (35mm):


Test results (35mm):

MDZ2885_vs_ MD3528.jpg

Focal distance 50mm

Scene preview (50mm):


Test results (50mm):

MDZ2885_vs_ MD5014.jpg

Focal distance 85mm

Scene preview (85mm):


Test results (85mm):


My conclusion:

The zoom Minolta New MD 28-85/3.5-4.5 can easy to fight against primes in the center and the middle, from F5.6 at least, even if wide opened this zoom displays a very good result. The difference in resolution on these positions is small and I think that can be skipped during the selection of lens for the walk. Great result, and nice news, especially for owners of cameras with APS-C sensors.

What about corners – zoom has no chances against primes and was beaten by all others of competitors. This result can be easy predicted right after reading the main review-article, and this comparison just shows the size of the difference in resolution to help to make the right decision if the photographer is choosing between primes or zoom. It’s good to remember that resolution in corners is important in landscapes or interiors photos, but for most other styles it can be neglected easy.



  1. Hi, I think there is no need in such battle – 35-70 is better on any available focal distance in the corners on FF. But in case of crop-cameras I think that 28-85 is preferable – corners are cut and it has a more convenient focal distances


  2. Thank you Tony. I am using FF camera and happy with my MD 35-70/3.5 so just curious about how this zoom compares the one I already have and now it is clear.

    Liked by 1 person

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