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Is the MINOLTA MD 28mm f3.5 a bad lens?
  • Hi everyone, recently bought a Panasonic GH2 for a great price and wanted to try out some vintage lenses with it for video. Was scrolling through eBay late the other night and purchased a hardly used Minolta MD 28mm f3.5 lens in excellent condition THINKING it was a f2.8!! (Will teach me to read things properly in future) ... anyway it only cost around £30 with postage and it should be here in a few days, but just wanted to find out a few opinions on this version because i couldn't find much information on it.

    Ive done quite a bit of research on the f2.8 version and really like some of the images it produces on the GH2, will this f3.5 version be considerably bad compared?

    The few posts I've found online have said its nowhere near as good as the f2.8 and on this lens survey site:'Minolta%20MD'%22 it shows quite low ratings compared to the f2.8 model and mentions a 'slightly warm' colour balance.

    Just wondering if anyone has had personal experience with this lens and if its worth selling it on and getting the 2.8 instead? (they are practically the same price on UK eBay for both versions) or just sticking with it?

    I guess il just test it out myself when it arrives and find out... but would like to get a few opinions on this lens before it does, If anyone has any. I've had no experience with minolta lenses Id just seen the video samples people was getting from the same setup as id ordered and researched the 28mm f2.8 only.

    Also as a last thing if it helps: The lens is the last MD version produced by Minolta (quite sure anyway, might be wrong!) and has no 'W.Rokkor' stamped on the front like a lot of them do, not sure if that makes a difference. Here are some images of the exact lens I've ordered:

    If anyone can share any info id be very grateful!

  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • thanks, read through that before and can't see any mention of the 28mm f3.5 just the f2.8 and f2.0.

  • @danny832

    Usually old lenses quality is worse if you talk about F3.5 things.

    If you ask me as guy who went for all of this - get new native lenses or Samyangs, you will be saving tons of time for shooting.

  • Sorry to say that is not a great buy. The Sigma Super Wide is better at 28mm, and nothing really stellar in the 28mm lineup. The 24mm is another story. Get a Panny 20mm and be happy :)

  • ahh thanks anyway, bit of something for future reference i guess lol least it hasn't broke the bank... would you say not even the minolta 28mm f2.8 is any good at all for bit of video? I've obviously got a pretty tight budget and didn't want to spend too much to get started! seen good results with the 28mm on vimeo with gh2 though. its all good, just playing around with this camera atm with the hacks and what not! what would be the best lens for say £100 or less mark obviously nothing spectacular but as a good starting point?

  • With a bit of patience you should be able to get a 2.8 of ebay for peanuts. Newer Minolta 28/2.8 changed to a simpler 5/5 lens design, while the original 7/7 design is a pretty good lens. If you get a Rokkor labeled lens, they should all be the original lens design, if you go for a newer Minolta MD labeled it could be the 7/7 or the 5/5, so do an online search to see how to spot the right lens. I quite like my Rokkor 28mm/2.8 and the rest of my Minolta lenses.

  • I really don't recommend the Minolta 28. The 50's are good the 24's are awesome, the 28 & 35, meh. If you really need 28mm, spring for a Vivitar close-focusing lens, or get Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI-s (1981 and after) which is a really nice lens, and one of the best legacy Nikkors.

  • I own both MC W. Rokkor 28mm/2.8 as well sa MD W. Rokkor 35mm/28 and can't recommend them enough:)

  • @brudney well, post some samples then, comparing them to the Nikkors or even the new pancake zoom that comes with Panasonic. IMHO the Rokkors will be at the bottom, and below the level of some of the kit zoom lenses, and I am a huge fan of Rokkors. If you can't recommend them enough, take the time to run an AB under controlled conditions.

  • Sorry, I have no Nikon glass or Lumix kit zooms, only FDs, MDs and a bunch of m42s (plus some m43 primes). Comparing budget +30 year old lenses to modern Pannys/Olys makes no sense to me.

  • OK, well, I have compared them, and IMHO they aren't the best choice, but you are welcome to do your own comparison. Plus the Nikkor will have a much better resale value. The 24mm is awesome, however.

    @danny832 I'm sorry to say this, but the 3.5 is not a great lens. Put it right back on eBay and get something better. If you have 100 quid look for a Panny 14mm 2.5. Sharp as a Leica; light as a feather. You can also get the Nikkor 28mm, and there are many choices in the 50mm range, especially if you go for 1.7 or 1.8. Instead of the 1.4's which go for a premium. The Nikkor 1.8 is legendary, and the Minolta is very good, the Nikkor has better sharpness and contrast, the Minolta has a special color which is hard to describe but very smooth.

  • Latest generation MD 28mm F/3.5 is very sharp. It's sharper than any Minolta 28/2.8 lenses and can give the same resolution as 28/2.0 on equal apertures

    Here the comparison of all MD 28mm lenses

    Here the Minolta MD 28mm F/3.5 lens review

  • @Turba It really isn't the best choice for landscapes....
    I love the old Rokkor glass, I have like twenty of them, but they aren't as sharp as the newer lenses. Some of them have a very interesting "look" however.

  • @DrDave , when I'm going to take a landscape photo, I think about sharpness, fire resistance, color-transferring, sometimes about weight and size of the lens. It means - no Rokkors in this case for me, except some of MD II may be. But for art-photo or games with bokeh Rokkors will be better in a big number of cases.

  • @Turba Looking at your test page, it isn't clear whether sharpening was applied to the test photos. You could post some of the raw files and post 100 percent crops with no processing.

  • @DrDave , feel free to click on test results - then you'll get 100% crops. Welcome to Internet ;) And I'm sure that you don't need raws actually, you just want to talk with me. Sorry, I haven't enough time these days, may be later.

    By the way, I've added a few new reviews:

    minolta md 85mm f2.0 review

    minolta md 100mm f2.5 review

  • @Turba some of the samples look sharpened, that's all. If you post your complete work flow, it has more meaning. Welcome to the full Internet.