minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens

Started May 10, 2013 | Discussions
darylmesa
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minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
May 10, 2013

I like prime lenses.

My only question is IQ between Minolta AF 50f1.7 vs the A37 18-55mm kit lens.

Please provide feedback

Sony SLT-A37
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Ralf B
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to darylmesa, May 10, 2013

darylmesa wrote:

I like prime lenses.

Me too, but i use both primes and zooms in my photography.

My only question is IQ between Minolta AF 50f1.7 vs the A37 18-55mm kit lens.

Please provide feedback

Voila:

Kurt Munger on the Minolta 50/1.7: "The good points are: compact, lightweight, low distortion, quick focusing, low color fringing"

Kurt Munger on the SAM 18-55 kit: "There's a slight lack of contrast at 55mm, F/5.6, one stop down (f/8) produces the sharpest image, F/11 is the same as F/8."

Summary from above: At 55mm the SAM is good at f=8 whereas the 50/1.7 prime is good from f/2.8 already down to f/8, so the prime clearly is ahead when you are after limited Depth of Field (DOF) shooting.

Of course the SAM beats the prime at all shorter focal lengths 

It really is a good kit lens optically , the price is in the build quality which so far has been reported as a dowmer in the tactile department but not on its longevity.

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Ralf
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andreac75
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to darylmesa, May 10, 2013

You like primes....... So you have the answer. Take also a look at 35mm 1.8 from Sony,amazing iq for that price

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havoc315
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to Ralf B, May 10, 2013

I don't love the 50/1.7 when wide open.  But stopped down, it is sharper than the kit lens.

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maxeythecat
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to darylmesa, May 10, 2013

For me it's the Minolta "nifty 50" all the way. I bought one a few years back for $20 and it's one of the best lenses I own. The color, the bokeh...everything about it is superior to the kit lens that came with my camera:

More turkey please?

Wee Angus can hear the sound of a food tin opening at 30 yards....

Demonstration of non-newtonian fluids

Pretty on the inside

Henry

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darylmesa
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to maxeythecat, May 10, 2013

20$ !

can't find one below  65€ here in france

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zakkix
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to andreac75, May 10, 2013

andreac75 wrote:

You like primes....... So you have the answer. Take also a look at 35mm 1.8 from Sony,amazing iq for that price

+ 1

I would also recommend the 35mm 1.8 DT before the 50mm 1.7 as the latter is very narrow for landscape, group, body and context shots.

If shooting in bright light consider the Sony 50mm 1.8 DT:

http://www.lenstip.com/121.1-article-A_history_of_Sony_Alpha_-_Minolta_AF_50_mm_f_1.7_versus_Sony_DT_50_mm_f_1.8_SAM_Introduction.html

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eastriding4310
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to darylmesa, May 10, 2013

If you don't mind manual focusing, you can get a Zeiss Jena 50mm Pancolor 1.8 in M42 mount for about $120.  Other sharper choices are some of the better Takumar lenses in M42.  All are sharper than the Minolta 50 1.7 or the 35mm 1.8 Sony.

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maxeythecat
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to darylmesa, May 11, 2013

darylmesa wrote:

20$ !

can't find one below  65€ here in france

Yeah, can you believe it? I got it from Goodwill of all places...they have an auction site and I bid on the thing n' won it for 20$.  Perfect condition too!

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123Mike
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to eastriding4310, May 11, 2013

eastriding4310 wrote:

If you don't mind manual focusing, you can get a Zeiss Jena 50mm Pancolor 1.8 in M42 mount for about $120.  Other sharper choices are some of the better Takumar lenses in M42.  All are sharper than the Minolta 50 1.7 or the 35mm 1.8 Sony.

Wide open perhaps. But let me assure you that the Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens gets as sharp as any lens could possibly be at f2.2 and beyond. I'm talking 100% tack, that simply can not be outdone, because it's sharp enough that the only thing left that can limit things (aside from getting the focus right), is sensor resolution.

Not bad for a $60 lens. Plus you get AF, which means you can use it in ways you can't using MF.

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eastriding4310
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to 123Mike, May 12, 2013

eastriding4310 wrote:

If you don't mind manual focusing, you can get a Zeiss Jena 50mm Pancolor 1.8 in M42 mount for about $120.  Other sharper choices are some of the better Takumar lenses in M42.  All are sharper than the Minolta 50 1.7 or the 35mm 1.8 Sony.

Wide open perhaps. But let me assure you that the Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens gets as sharp as any lens could possibly be at f2.2 and beyond. I'm talking 100% tack, that simply can not be outdone, because it's sharp enough that the only thing left that can limit things (aside from getting the focus right), is sensor resolution.Not bad for a $60 lens. Plus you get AF, which means you can use it in ways you can't using MF.

123 Mike,

There is nothing wrong with the Minolta 50mm 1.7, but it is not near as sharp as the Zeiss, or the Takumar 50mm 1.4 or my Sigma DP3.  I usually shoot at f8 and have little use for f1.7.  It just depends on whether or not you really like sharp photos or not.  And it is way fun to have a piece of Zeiss glass!

The 18-55 kit lens is well worth the $60 I paid for it too!  Get them all, they are fun!

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123Mike
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to eastriding4310, May 12, 2013

There is nothing wrong with the Minolta 50mm 1.7, but it is not near as sharp as the Zeiss, or the Takumar 50mm 1.4 or my Sigma DP3.

The Min 50/1.7 @2.2 reaches a resolution that out-resolves the (A57) sensor. At that point, there is not such thing as a sharper lens.

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Re: minolta AF 50mm f1.7 or 18-55mm A37 kit lens
In reply to eastriding4310, May 12, 2013

eastriding4310 wrote:

There is nothing wrong with the Minolta 50mm 1.7, but it is not near as sharp as the Zeiss, or the Takumar 50mm 1.4 or my Sigma DP3.  I usually shoot at f8 and have little use for f1.7.  It just depends on whether or not you really like sharp photos or not.  And it is way fun to have a piece of Zeiss glass!

If I’m shooting at f1.7 it’s almost always because there is NO light, I’m desperate, and I’m using really high ISO.  DOF is just so thin its generally too hard for me to creatively control.  And this lens will out resolve any camera at these ISOs even wide open.  And I tend to agree that down one stop this old Minolta is very sharp.  At least I believe my copy is (and my last one too).

This discussion has touched a nerve.  I honestly don’t know where the…”if it ain’t Zeiss, its junk” subtext comes from.  I know that’s an exaggeration in this case but often here on the forums distain is not even thinly disguised.  In reality there are numerous instances where many other lenses acquit themselves extremely well in real world, non 300% viewing in relation to Zeiss counterparts.  That doesn’t mean that Zeiss doesn’t make fine lenses…because they do.   They are generally built like tanks, have amazing micro contrast and overall are superb.  And the ones I have used are wonderful from a tactile standpoint.  That’s not the discussion here of course and I’m just venting.

Here’s a not so good example I quickly shot tonight just to see what was happening at f2.2.  I grabbed some Mother’s Day flowers and shot them in my basement in almost  pitch black with bounce flash.  I was shooting blind, auto focus-wise, and figured something would be in focus.  Its not the best subject because the red flower fuzzies are just that…fuzzy… but its good enough…given that the ‘detail’ is at 100%.  We can see that at f2.2 it should at least be considered ‘sharp’, probably very sharp.  Remember we are really talking about +/- 0.5 inches or less in any kind of focus if we are being critical.

Bruce

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Bruce Oudekerk
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some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, May 12, 2013

Obviously this topic has touched a nerve with me and it’s much bigger than just the 50mm f1.7 vs. the 18-55 kit zoom.  It has to do with what is acceptably sharp…actually outstandingly sharp with ANY lens.  Our images are not just academic exercises.  Their output has practical implications in the ‘real world’ such as web view and in print.  Those practical implications don’t extend to the type of scrutiny that we (myself included) tend to inflict on these images by viewing them at 100% on screen.

The only use that we have in viewing these images at huge magnifications on screen is to draw inferences to real world output.  In that vein, I actually printed the ‘detail’ in the image above and perhaps my casual observations might be interesting to some forum readers.  The ‘detail image’ is 1350x900 pixels and I chose to print it at 360ppi on my Epson 1900 printer using PhotoRPM which is that highest resolution the printer is capable of.  I chose 360 ppi because it is an even fraction of the printer’s native resolution and will produce a near optimal image from this printer.   The resultant detail was 2.5"x3.75" in print

The realities are that in this exceedingly high quality print I can only start to see a few of the small follicle-like structures in the red flower even though they are plainly visible under significant magnification and even more plainly visible at 100% on screen.  What I infer from this is that to visually optimize the detail inherent in this image for print…I need to degrade the optimal output to the printer by resampling the image upwards and print it even larger.  With this particular image that tradeoff would certainly vary among individuals but I don’t think the lens is the limiting factor here…its the measly 24MP of my a850.  The inference here is that the difference between the 50mm prime and the 18-55 zoom might be what camera its on and how large the OP actually intends to print.  In many. if not most instances. it just won’t make a difference…although I know that the 50 is sharper at 50mm than the kit zoom is at the same f-stop.

Bruce

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eastriding4310
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, May 12, 2013

Your photos look great!  Thanks for the tip on shooting at f2.2, because I will be shooting an onboard ship ice show next winter with my Minolta 50mm and a little more speed than 2.8 will be good.

Things may look different to me because I use an A77 and prefer to shoot in sunlight with higher f stop numbers.  It may only be the way the lens interprets the light in the scene, and for me the Zeiss and Takumar 50mm 1.4 look much better.

And by the way, the Zeiss is not the best of the lenses that I mentioned, it is the least sharpest.  The Sigma DP3 with its 50mm lens specifically matched to its 46 mp foveon sensor is slightly sharper than the Takumar, which is very sharp, in my opinion.

But sharpness is not everything.  I would never attempt shooting the ice show with any of the manual lenses or the Sigma.  And my previous ice show shots with the Minolta were great!.

To me photography should be fun and trying different lenses and seeing the differences is fun.  At the OP's apparent stage in the game, I think he should buy both the kit lens and the 50 1.7 because they are both a great value for the money. I only mentioned the M42 lenses because they are fun and I like them and the OP talked of his love of prime lenses.  Most people have no idea what M42 lenses are and that they can be converted to a Sony mount.

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to eastriding4310, May 13, 2013

eastriding4310 wrote:

...At the OP's apparent stage in the game, I think he should buy both the kit lens and the 50 1.7 because they are both a great value for the money. I only mentioned the M42 lenses because they are fun and I like them and the OP talked of his love of prime lenses.  Most people have no idea what M42 lenses are and that they can be converted to a Sony mount.

I totally agree with you on both accounts.  Photography should be fun and buying both lenses is a great idea…especially since I have no compunctions against spending other people’s money:) The two lenses overlap but they can serve other functions.  The zoom is much more versatile while the prime is somewhat sharper, lets a lot more light in and provides a much different shooting experience

Bruce

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pazmataz
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, May 29, 2013

Hi all

Have been following this thread with interest since I am also looking for a lens for my A57. as I am still getting to grips with the difference in crop factor/fields of view so please correct me if I am wrong in the following assumptions for my a57..

A Minolta 50mm 1.7 on my Sony will actually equate to a field of view of around 80mm on an APS-C sensor?

However getting the Sony 50mm 1.8 prime will result in a field of view of 50mm as it has been designed for APS-C sensors? And the same with the kit lens- the 18-55mm will be wider at 50mm than the field of view of the Minolta prime at the same focal length?

I am not sure this is correct so please advise! I was interested in buying a Minolta 24-135 also but am now not sure as the  field of view will be 36-202.5 which is not so practical for a walkaround lens?

Therefore the lenses are not comparable?

Thanks

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EarthQuake
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to pazmataz, May 29, 2013

pazmataz wrote:

Hi all

Have been following this thread with interest since I am also looking for a lens for my A57. as I am still getting to grips with the difference in crop factor/fields of view so please correct me if I am wrong in the following assumptions for my a57..

A Minolta 50mm 1.7 on my Sony will actually equate to a field of view of around 80mm on an APS-C sensor?

However getting the Sony 50mm 1.8 prime will result in a field of view of 50mm as it has been designed for APS-C sensors? And the same with the kit lens- the 18-55mm will be wider at 50mm than the field of view of the Minolta prime at the same focal length?

I am not sure this is correct so please advise! I was interested in buying a Minolta 24-135 also but am now not sure as the  field of view will be 36-202.5 which is not so practical for a walkaround lens?

Therefore the lenses are not comparable?

Thanks

Nope.

50mm is 50mm is 50mm. The Minolta 50/1.7 Minolta 50/1.4, Sony 50/1.4 and Sony 50/1.8(as well as all of the 50/2.8 macros) are 50mm lenses.

This means they are equivalent to a 75mm lens on APS-C in terms of focal length. Which is a nice range for portraits and such. On APS-C cameras these lenses have the same angle of view, same focal length, whatever you want to call it.

The only difference between an APS-C lens and a FF lens is the image circle, or how large an area the projected image from the lens can cover. An APS-C (DT in Sony land) lens only covers an APS-C sensor. So if you use a DT lens on a FF camera, the camera will automatically crop the image to APS-C size, and you're back to 75mm equivilent, even on full frame. That is the difference. On APS-C, no difference.

The Sony 35mm 1.8 is roughly equivalent to a 50mm lens field of view on APS-C, if that's what you're after. The Sony 35/1.8 on APS-C is comparable to the Minolta 50/1.7 on a Fullframe camera(though the DOF on the FF camera is a stop or so narrower).

In the under $200 range, the Sony 50mm 1.8 and 35mm 1.8 are excellent lenses. Under $100 the Minolta 50mm 1.7 is an excellent lens. Though for $200-250 on eBay you can pick up the superior Minolta 50mm 1.4.

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EarthQuake
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to pazmataz, May 29, 2013

pazmataz wrote:

Hi all

Have been following this thread with interest since I am also looking for a lens for my A57. as I am still getting to grips with the difference in crop factor/fields of view so please correct me if I am wrong in the following assumptions for my a57..

A Minolta 50mm 1.7 on my Sony will actually equate to a field of view of around 80mm on an APS-C sensor?

However getting the Sony 50mm 1.8 prime will result in a field of view of 50mm as it has been designed for APS-C sensors? And the same with the kit lens- the 18-55mm will be wider at 50mm than the field of view of the Minolta prime at the same focal length?

I am not sure this is correct so please advise! I was interested in buying a Minolta 24-135 also but am now not sure as the  field of view will be 36-202.5 which is not so practical for a walkaround lens?

Therefore the lenses are not comparable?

Thanks

Also, the 24-135mm is roughly 35-200mm equivalent, which is fine for a walk around if you prefer the telephoto end over the wide end, ie: wildlife and nature, but even then something like an 18-200mm, 28-200 or 28-300mm is probably better.

The 16-105mm (24-160 equiv) is a great walk around if you want something wider, or the 18-135mm (28-200mm).

Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a very good general purpose lens, as well as the Sony 16-50 for twice the cost, or the various Sigmas, but obviously less range with these lenses.

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pazmataz
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Re: some more thoughts on the 'sharpness' fo these lenses
In reply to EarthQuake, May 29, 2013

Huge thanks for clarifying EarthQuake - really helpful and I am completely clear now. On with the lens hunt - I was considering the Sony 16-50 (as part of a refurb A77 bundle here in the UK with Sony Outlet and then I could sell off the A77 body resulting in a 16-50 lens for less than half retail price - although this offer ended today so I will keep watching) while the other option was 18-135 for the same cost, more range, but less quality and variable aperture.

Anyway, thanks again!

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