Considering the Minolta 35-70mm 3.5 but curious about other strong options?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by dsiglin, May 8, 2013.

  1. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Hey guys, I'm heading out on vacation end of May and want to take two or less lenses. I'm generally wary of zoom lenses but I've read some excellent reviews of the Minolta 35-70mm 3.5 (constant aperture). Before I drop $90 on it I was wondering if anyone:
    1) had experience with it and it's weight when balanced against the NEX-5n
    2) had recommendations for other zoom lenses, I'm ok with ones that go farther than 70mm but not closer. Weight and size is a consideration but not a deal breaker. I can't really afford to drop $300+ right now on a zoom hence going the legacy route.

    Ideally I'd like to take my native Sigma 19mm and then a nice zoom that covers 35-onward. I'd keep the zoom on most of the time and use the 19mm for wide landscapes.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    The Minolta 35-70/3.5 is indeed an excellent candidate for what you're looking for; be sure to avoid the Rokkor variant (identifiable also by the lack of a macro setting), it's much less contrasty. Handling is excellent on my NEX-6, I can take sharp pictures consistently at 70mm and 1/125s. I'd expect to pay less than the equivalent of $90 here in Europe, more like $40 to $60. I also have an Olympus 35-70/4 which is almost as good, but I see no reason to prefer it over the Minolta 35-70/3.5.
     
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  3. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Glad you mentioned not to get the Rokkor version, was going to buy that one. :)

    Yeah seems prices are higher on ebay. I hear when KEH has the lens it is around $50. I'm willing to pay more than normal since I'm in a bit of a rush and I know it's something I'll keep for a long time (or at least until I get enamored of another lens, lol).

    So is it true the Minolta is sharp throughout all focal ranges?

    Would it be possible to something like Raynox DCR-150 on the front of the Minolta and get a good macro lens? If so this lens would kill at least five birds with one lens. :)
     
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Yes, it's sharp throughout the focal length range. If you are very critical (like me), you'll be able to notice a difference in sharpness between right and left borders. I've had 3 samples and all of them showed this, obviously the lens is not completely free from decentering. It's not very serious in my opinion, but it's there. You'll need to stop it down to f/5.6 for good contrast and sharpness, wide-open it's not that good. The plain MD version can go to 1:4 on its own with its macro settings, don't know if a Raynox macro converter works well with it.
     
  5. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Can't thank you enough for talking this over. Let's say I can't find a good condition one of these for $80 or less, would the Olympus 35-70 be a good second best? Is that fairly sharp at f4 or does it need stopping down as well?
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    You're welcome :). The Olympus 35-70/4 is indeed a good second best, though it also needs stopping down to f/5.6 for good image quality. Canon also has a 35-70/4 if I remember correctly, which has a good reputation, but I've never had one myself.
     
  7. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    So I saw KEH had the oly f4 for $23 so snagged that.

    Interestingly enough, they had an "ugly" version of the oly 35-70 f3.6 for $12! Most likely I just wasted $12 but let's suppose it's a matter of getting it cleaned, well might be worth it.
     
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Congrats, looks like a good deal, and maybe the 35-70/3.6 is useable as well.
     
  9. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Thank you, I will update sometime next week when I get the lenses.
     
  10. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Ad is an expert when it comes to Minolta MF lenses - I trust and seek his opinion everytime :thumbup:


    I also have the MD 35-70 3.5 Macro version. Its an excellent performer as already been said and personally I find it very usable even wide open...Don't pay to much for it tho ;)
    Something to add: while I love this lens I do find that it lacks in terms of versality (you want that from a zoom afterall right?) since its not so wide at 35mm nor long at 70mm - That's the only reason I also bought the MD 28-85mm 3.5-4.5 (pretty good for a zoom).
    Here's a review on it that I'm sure you've seen: The Rokkor Files - Battle of the 85mm's
     
  11. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Thanks Nick. I have been mostly in the land of Hexanon (still new to interchangeable lens land) so I am not familiar with Minolta offerings. Yesterday I scored a 35-70 3.5 for $50, should have it in a few days. It's got some wear on the outside but the seller says the optics are just fine. We'll see. I think the prices on ebay are inflated and unreasonable. This lens I got was an auction where all the others are buy it now and listed at $100 or so.

    I will check out the 28-85mm. If I can snag one for a good price I'll do so. Once I get all the zooms in (OMs and Minoltas) I'll do some comparison photos.
     
  12. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Agree with that, Buy-It-Now prices are mostly prices at which to not buy it now. Sometimes, but alas very rarely, a seller just doesn't know the right price; I once picked up a beautiful Minolta MD 28/2 for € 89. In general, auctions are the way to go on eBay.

    Ken Rockwell wrote a very good article on dealing on eBay.
     
  13. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Definitely agree on not bidding till the last 10 seconds. I buy and sell on ebay often and I have a side business of buying Macs on ebay and selling on amazon for a nice profit. It funds my hobbies. I've noticed over the past two years a rise in prices. I think the problem has a lot to do with the dwindling amount of sellers on ebay. Ebay maybe isn't dying off but it is not the cornucopia it once was.
     
  14. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Looks like I may have gotten a lucky break. I'll post some photos from the 35-70 3.6 Olympus later today. The spot that got the Olympus labeled as "ugly" is inside the front element. However it appears that light passing through that area doesn't hit the NEX sensor or the area isn't bad enough to noticeably affect the image. I also received the Minolta 35-70 3.5. Worst infection of what I assume is fungus I've ever seen. Weird thing is it doesn't seem to have affected the image quality much. I got a full refund from the seller and get to keep the lens so I'll play around with it. The aperture ring is very very loose as well. It's one sad little lens. I'll post some images from that lens as well.

    For now I have a few shots from the Access 35-70mm 2.5 with 1:2 macro. It's not a bad lens. Soft till 5.6 but the performance is a good bang for the buck if you can get one for around $20. Anyways, I'll let the photos do the talking.

    Access1. Access2. Access3. Access4. Access5.
     
  15. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Those don't look bad. Would it be too much to ask to post a pic of the Access 35-70mm? Just curious :).
     
  16. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Hmm is it me or do the photos look really light? I did some curve / saturation adjustments over lunch on my laptop and I think I should have waited till I got home to my desktop or maybe it's my crappy monitors at work. I'll add non post-processed photos to the lens sample database.

    Here's a photo of the Access, from my ebay purchase. I'll probably end up selling it thought I will miss the 1:2 macro.
    $T2eC16F,!)!E9s2f!GiIBR(35!bQkQ~~60_57. $T2eC16h,!yME9s5qJGKmBR(35NeZeQ~~60_57. $T2eC16h,!zoE9s5ng)MFBR(340QQDQ~~60_57 (1).

    Just won a non-macro non-Rokkor version of the Minolta 35-70 so will be interesting to see how it compares to the macro non-Rokkor version.

    A few sample shots from the Olympus.
    Olympus3. Olympus4. Olympus5. Olympus7.
    And here are photos of the "spot" on the lens. Might take this by the only remaining independent camera store and see if he can figure out what it is.
    IMAG4874. IMAG4877. IMAG4878.
     
  17. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Thanks for that. Just received a Minolta MD Zoom Rokkor 35-70/3.5 this evening and did a few quick test shots before it got too dark. First impression is that the lens is not as contrasty as the plain MD 35-70/3.5. Tomorrow I'll do some more testing. This lens focusses to only 1m which is a bit long.

    On another note, I'd keep the Access 35-70mm for a while if I were you, until you're sure you don't want it. More than once I've regretted selling lenses and ended up rebuying them...
     
  18. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    I ran some unscientific tests this evening, Minolta vs Olympus vs Access. Unscientific in that the object I was focusing on was blowing in the breeze some and spots of light would shift on it. Wide open the Olympus showed EXTREME chromatic aberrations. Not sure if that is something I did wrong. I'll do some more tests.

    Minolta wide open 70mm @3.5
    Minolta_35.

    Olympus wide open 70mm @3.5
    Olympus_36.

    Access wide open 70mm @2.5
    Access_25.

    Minolta 70mm @5.6
    Minolta_56.

    Olympus 70mm @5.6
    Olympus_56.

    Access 70mm @4
    Access_4.
     
  19. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Can't think of a "wrong" test method to provoke purple fringing. It's indeed extreme for the Olympus, but the other lenses don't look too good wide-open as well: not perfectly sharp and loss of contrast. The Minolta does well at f/5.6, the Olympus still shows a bit of purple fringing and looks less sharp, but that can also be due to slight movement of the plant. The Access doesn't seem too bad, it seems to have a bit colder colour signature than the others, which both are known for their slightly warm colour signature, Olympus even more than Minolta.

    Seeing this I'm glad I was outbid this weekend on an Olympus 35-70/3.6 auction, so thank you :).
     
  20. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Did some comparative testing this morning between two Minolta 35-70/3.5 lenses, an MD Zoom Rokkor and a plain MD (with macro setting). The Rokkor has a decidedly warmer colour balance; not necessarily wrong, but different. Also its contrast is a bit lower and sharpness is less than that of the plain MD, especially in the corners. I evaluated at f/5.6 and f/8; both are soft wide-open. In total I've had 4 samples of this type of lens, three plain MD and 1 Rokkor. All of them showed decentering, resulting in differences in corner sharpness between one corner and another. Leitz has made the plain MD into a Vario-Elmar, I'm curious if Leitz kept closer tolerances so that their lens doesn't show decentering effects; if it doesn't, it would be a killer lens because my plain MD samples show almost equal corner and center sharpness when I disregard the bad corner(s).

    Let me know if there is interest in the test pictures (brick wall, rather boring), I can provide full-size jpegs or raws.

    Rokkor
    <a target="_blank" href="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/Lenses/Minolta/MD-Zoom-Rokkor-35-70mm-135/29426903_MC83m6"> 20130514-007-L. </a>

    MD
    <a target="_blank" href="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/Lenses/Minolta/MD-Zoom-35-70mm-135/18143767_QqWfnp"> 20110720-074-L. </a>