LensWars: Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm f/4.0 vs. MD 85mm f/2.0 vs. MD 135mm f/2.8
Comparison of lenses Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm 1:4.0, Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 and Minolta MD 135mm 1:2.8. All lenses are New-MD generation (MDIII by collectors classification)
All fighters are optically in mint conditions.
This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can differ if any element is changed.
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 F11. 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.
As you know, Minolta’s N-MD series lenses haven’t “half-click” after the first aperture position, so I stop ring in the middle position, but it’s impossible to set it precisely, so, if you see that a picture taken, for example, with N-MD 35mm f/1.8 on aperture 2.0 – it means that picture was taken on aperture set in the middle position between 1.8 and 2.8. Same for N-MD 35mm f/2.8 with photo taken on f3.5.
- 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 85mm
Scene preview (85mm):
Test results (85mm):
Focal distance 135mm
Scene preview (135mm):
Test results (135mm):
Conclusion, or what does it means?
Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm 1:4 vs MD 85mm 1:2:
Pay attention to corners, please. The zoom beats the prime closed for 3(!) stops. I have no words, it’s magic. By the way – this Minolta MD 85mm F2.0 is in the pantheon of the best lenses of Minolta ever made.
In the Center and Middle positions, prime has a little advantage, but a microscope is needed to see it.
As a result: MD 75-150/4 totally wins from the sharpness point of view. But, of course, MD 85/2 would be preferable if fast apertures are needed – it also has an amazing resolution in corners, just maybe not so amazing as MD 75-150/4.
Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm 1:4 vs MD 135mm 1:2.8:
One of the best 135mm lenses – Minolta MDIII 135/2.8 – has not lost a single battle. But this fight was not easy even for such a famous fighter. Both lenses are the same. It looks that zoom has a little bit more contrast, but in detail, differences are too small to talk about it. Draw, both are winners.
But again: one-stop slower zoom-lens show the same resolution as prime on similar apertures? I just can recommend not to sell it if you got it.