Popular/"best" Minolta lenses (Part.2)

Started May 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
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nandbytes Senior Member • Posts: 5,966
Popular/"best" Minolta lenses (Part.2)

I made a thread a while back asking the community what they felt were their best lenses. I promised to publish my findings but got delayed as I was in middle of camera swapping, lens buying etc etc. So like I said in my original thread, I am going to give a list of what I feel are the top (and perhaps most used) minolta lenses. This doesn't mean other lenses are bad in comparison or this isn't to tell anyone to go buy these lenses. Its purely a point of reference for anyone wondering which of these old lenses might be good addition to their collection. I fully advice any one using this as a point of reference to go do their own homework too.

I have not taken each vote on face value, some votes got half points because the owner mentioned something negative or I noticed something negative from other reviews and/or when I tried it out in local shops. The ones not listed with had few votes in comparison or not very popular but doesn't mean they are optically less good.

This is meant to be a discussion thread so feel free to point out anything especially if you feel strongly for or against any minolta lens. Feel free to discuss any lens in the list and not on list, give examples etc. Just please keep it clean, its not my intention to start an argument or once again tell people what they should be buying. here it goes...


The 100mm focal range was most voted! I am not surprised the quality of both 100mm are great.

100 f/2 - 1 stop faster than the 100mm macro and a sharp lens. Focussing is on the slow side. But also on the expensive side.

85mm f/1.4 - Size wise lies between CZ and sony f/2.8 version. But its 2 stops faster than the small sony lens and also seems to be a popular one around.

200mm f/2.8 APO - There is also a HS version. A very nice and sharp telephoto prime with no replacement from sony. Weighs slightly less than 800g, so if your interest is only the 200mm and do not want to carry the 70-200 bulk this is a good option. Also on the expensive side of minolta lenses but nowhere close to something like 600mm/4 (this is still affordable lol).

500mm f/8 reflex - a unique reflex lens in that it can auto-focus. Not the sharpest of lenses and produces a 'doughnut' bokeh but sure is light for the range and certainly capable of taking good images. I can see why is this so popular.

100mm f/2.8 macro - Like i said 100mm were popular. Optics were actually copied and re-branded by sony, comes with a range limiter to help with focussing speed. Very sharp macro lens and well built.

50mm f/2.8 macro - can be a bit short for a macro lens but very sharp none the less. Also the 'RS' version comes with circular blades and a focus limiter.

Honourable mention - 135mm/2.8 (small unlike other 135mm lenses and cheap with no other replacement in the price range or size)


35-105mm original version - the most popular one. if you can live with its focus distance its nice and sharp with a nice focal length. Could make for a good walkaround lens for many.

80-200mm f/2.8 - black version, also popular and good especially if you can't afford a sony 70-200. Very loud! Also has a HS version.

70-210 f/4 a.k.a beercan - no surprise here, a cheap and popular minolta zoom. Very nice bokeh and reasonably sharp lens. Has CA/PF problem, fixable in PP.

35-70mm f/4 a.k.a mini-beercan - again not a huge surprise. very cheap.

28-135mm a.k.a secret handshake lens - After reading up it seems there wasn't really any secret handshaking lol. Also has the same focus distance issue as 35-105 and not as sharp but a descent performer none the less.

Honourable mention - 17-35mm f/2.8 (this is minolta's best ultra wide angle solution. it doesn't seem all that popular but certainly isn't a bad lens. it actually seems quite good, expected from a 'G' lens I guess and cheaper than sony's equivalent CZ16-35)

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Focus on what you have, not on what you don't.

 nandbytes's gear list:nandbytes's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Sony Alpha a7 Sony Alpha a7R II Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM Sony FE 35mm F1.4 +3 more
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