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Don't spend too much on a Minolta 35mm!

Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
4,024
Location
The Netherlands
This thread features a Minolta 35/1.8, quite an expensive lens these days. I have a late version of it and I was a bit disappointed with its performance, so I decided to test it against one of my 35/2.8 lenses.

To cut a long story short: in my opinion the 35/2.8 is every bit as useable as the much more expensive 35/1.8! This is one of the rare cases where the slower Minolta lens is better.

The long story is below, where you can see that
  1. The 35/1.8 isn't that good wide-open, while the 35/2.8 wide-open is already useable in the centre.
  2. The 2.8 is almost as good at f/2.8 as the 1.8 which has a little bit better contrast in the centre.
  3. The corner sharpness of the 2.8 is better than that of the 1.8.

Testing was done with the NEX-6 hand-held with an Olympus FL-50R flash bouncing off the white ceiling. The handholding accounts for the slightly different framing, but you can also see that the 35/2.8 has a bit wider field-of-view.

The whole picture
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-Qm7D5H6/0/XL/i-Qm7D5H6-XL.jpg[/IMG]

Centre wide-open for both lenses
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-cT53FXB/0/XL/i-cT53FXB-XL.jpg[/IMG]

Centre at f/2.8
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-NGdKSK2/0/XL/i-NGdKSK2-XL.jpg[/IMG]

Centre at f/5.6
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-hhjDDNt/0/XL/i-hhjDDNt-XL.jpg[/IMG]

Upper-left corner at f/2.8
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-trWSxzP/0/XL/i-trWSxzP-XL.jpg[/IMG]

Upper-left corner at f/5.6
<img style="border-color:Black; border-width:1px; border-style:solid" src="http://addieleman.smugmug.com/photos/i-VrcWQqh/0/XL/i-VrcWQqh-XL.jpg[/IMG]
 

Bimjo

Super Moderator
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
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4,595
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Washington State
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Jim
Well, you would somewhat expect the 2.8 to be better wide open than the 1.8, but even stopped down the 1.8 doesn't gain much, if any, ground. Interesting.
 

lowincash

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
131
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Los Angeles
Real Name
Kin
Yup the 35/1.8 is a bit soft wide open but gets sharper stopped down. This lens doesn't really give me the wow like from my other minoltas =/ Haven't used mine much so I gotta find some time to go out with it :D
 

nianys

TalkEmount All-Pro
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
1,558
Location
France
The Hexanon 35/2 I had was very sharp wide open. An excellent lens but big and heavy, my PEN F is three times smaller/lighter, and the copy I have is at least as good as the Hex, if not better...
 

Jefenator

TalkEmount Top Veteran
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
914
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Oregon, USA
Real Name
Jeff
Thanks for sharing! I had a hunch that those old Minolta 35/1.8s fetch a premium more for their scarcity. Yours does appear to have just a very slight edge in the center at f/2.8. And sometimes I like that hazy look many faster lenses get, shot wide open.

I hope to be testing my Summicron 35/2 out more thoroughly now that I have some time. (A quick, rough test revealed that wide-open performance in the center is absolutely outstanding.)

I would be very curious to see how the new e-mount 35/1.8 compares against all this. Not quite curious enough to fork over $450, though... :p
 

lowincash

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
131
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
Kin
And sometimes I like that hazy look many faster lenses get, shot wide open.
My 58/1.4 lens gives a very nice soft look wide open, I like it sometimes too haha

I am also curious to try the emount 35/1.8 but don't really want to spend so much money :(
 

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