Author Topic: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.  (Read 11786 times)

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Offline Ferin

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Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« on: August 14, 2015, 11:06:58 PM »
Hello there,

I would like to hear your opinion on some lenses that I'm going to buy.
Before i list them, few details on my gear. I have A77II, Tamron 18-270
and Minolta AF 50mm F1.4. Well, latter one is on it's way. Before i had A290
which some time ago started to die slowly (you can read about it in this thread).
Few months ago, Following chappo1's advise, i bought  "the beast", i call it like that because
amount of options and settings felt really overwhelming after changing from very simple A290,
which i was using for couple of years. With previous camera i had kit 18-55mm, minolta 28-85
and tamron 70-300. After getting A77II i thought that would be good idea to have one all rounder
lens instead of two (since getting minolta i didn't use sony's kit 18-55 at all).
To be honest, i regret getting rid of minolta and tamron 70-300. I'm not sure if that's because
my expectations have grown that much or this lens is just not good enough. I just can't take
sharp enough photos with 18-270 and distortions are quite bad. Although second problem is
easily fixable in post processing, first one isn't.

What i want to buy:
Minolta 28-135
Minolta 100-400 apo
and maybe later on Sigma 10-20.

I have read, not all just a little, through Lens talk forum, but i'm still not sure if lenses of my choice
will be good. I don't expect to get sharpness and overall quality of G/CZ lenses, but i would like to
get something as good as possible without final bill shooting through the roof.
If you think that any lens can be replaced by something different but better quality with similar price tag,
don't be shy and let me know. For example instead of 28-135 i should get 28-105. I will appreciate
also if you can tell me which generation exactly i should get, since there was a difference in quality and
performance depending on production year.

Appoligies for longish post, i just want to describe my needs and expectations well enough
to make your answers as easy as pie ; ).

PS. One more question, i use uv filters to protect my lenses, what brand you recommend?
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 11:13:23 PM by Ferin »

Offline REX (aka TG)

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 10:56:13 AM »
Hello Ferin.

I have almost the same range you are interesting.

Minolta 100-300(NON APO). Very good compact and light with good results
Minolta 28-105.Very good Lighter and more compact than the 28-135
Konika Minolta 11-18. It was my ultra wide angle lens before i step to fuĺ frame. Exceĺent range for arhitecture and landscabe. I think the Sigma 10-20 ìs a better lens than the Konika Minolta.

What ever you choose you will get great results
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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 07:02:06 PM »
Hi Ferin and welcome to the forum :)

My son goes off to Falmouth Uni in September to do a 3 year Marine and Natural History Photography (BA) course and the uni 'advise' either Nikon or Canon cameras because of the range of lenses 'they' have available for use. He does already have Sony A77 (x2) plus various glass - including what he nicks from mine -  so feels a bit put out about having to get a different camera but if he wants to get maximum benefit on the course...

A good friend of ours (a quite successful wildlife photographer) advised him to go Nikon D800E + 24-70 f2.8 so he has done - but is keeping his A77 cameras. My apologies if you are wondering about this 'waffle' but this friend also advised: "Never give any head space to zoom lenses with a ratio greater than 3:1 - that means 14 to 24, 24 to 70, 70 to 200 and 200-400 are fine, but zooms like the 80 to 400 are NOT in the same league. The 14-24, 24-70 & 70-200 f2.8's are known as the Nikon 'Holy Trinity' " I'd guess that the same applies to any Sony Alpha fit glass also along the same lines.

I know you are listing yourself as an enthusiast (like most of us here :) :? I;m guessing) but good advice is worth considering and working towards gathering 'good' glass.
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline REX (aka TG)

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2015, 11:31:47 PM »
..?....?.."Never give any head space to zoom lenses with a ratio greater than 3:1 .....?

This is what they used to say but today lens technology have change much. For examble the Sony 70-400 G is excellent lens.
The Canon 100-400 II is also an excellent lens and also the Tamron 150-600.

I tested the Sony FE 24-240 on a6000 with very good results. As you see the new generation of zoom lens are very good and can be compared to fix focal length lens
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 05:32:24 AM by REX (aka TG) »
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Offline chappo1

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2015, 11:39:28 PM »
Hi Ferin,
The only minilta lenses I own are the two kit lenses that came with the Minolta 5D and they have not been out of the cupboard for years.

On my A99 I really only use three lenses.
The 24-70 Sony/Zeiss which I regret now because of it's weight not quality
The 70-300 G which is my wildlife lens
The Tamron 180mm macro

My wife uses the Sony 18-250 on her A55.  She sometimes complains of image sharpness but offers to buy her better quality lenses are met with
1. I do not want to have to change lenses.
and
2. It must be no heavier than my 18-250.

What do you do ???

Sorry I cannot help but Rex is the guru on these matters....john
 
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Hector Berlioz

Offline AScot

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2015, 06:43:18 AM »
What i want to buy:
Minolta 28-135
Minolta 100-400 apo
and maybe later on Sigma 10-20.

PS. One more question, i use uv filters to protect my lenses, what brand you recommend?

With all due respect to REX, the Tamron 18-270 is a 15 times zoom ratio and although he is correct in saying that lenses have improved a lot, in my opinion this lens is not one of them. He was using an A6000 with the 18-250mm FE lens, not the same beast.

You have the Minolta 50mm f1.4 on order. It's a very good lens. I have the Sony version which has a few cosmetic changes but is otherwise the same lens (Latest coatings and 8 contacts vs 5 contacts). I use it a lot on my A77/A850 and on my A7 full frame with the AE4 adapter.

I also own the Minolta 28-135mm which is a very good lens (As sharp as the 50mm f1.4). It is heavy and has a reasonably good M/F Macro feature but for some reason Minolta never provided a hood. This can be rectified on eBay by buying one from China. It has an unusual rear internal focus ring which does not rotate the 72mm filter. I do not own the Sony 24-70 Sony/Zeiss which is even heavier than the Minolta, but when you consider the difference in price, and reports that claim it is almost as good as the very expensive 24-70 Sony/Zeiss, you must consider it to be a great buy. Be warned though that due to it's age (1985) it is advisable to buy from a dealer to avoid getting a hard used/damaged version.

The Minolta 100-400 APO is a fairly good lens although not as good as the 28-135mm which is sharper and a bit faster (f4-4.5 vs f4.5-6.7). Obviously they are not really in a comparable zoom class.

Sigma 10-20mm. I have no idea as I never buy Sigmas due to compatibility problems. They seem to have improved recently, so may be worth a try. I still will not buy one although I have a very old, rare and good one. My 21-35mm f3.5-f4 from my film days.

The latest from some pros are not to use filters, why put an extra layer of glass between your lens and sensor they say. I do it on my A77/A850 lenses to hopefully prevent damage to the lens front element but I admit that it is probably not required if you use a hood. I do not use a filter in front of my mirrorless A7 FE lens. I mostly use Multi coated Pro1 Digital Hoya's and B+W, probably all expensive overkill.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 06:57:32 AM by AScot »
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline Ferin

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2015, 12:29:32 PM »
Thank you for your replies, i will consider everything you said here,
100-400 is very tempting for its focal range capabilities, but from my
little experience i know now that all rounders have their issues. At least
from minolta's age. I can't afford new Gs or CZs lenses so i won't even
think about buying one, unless i hit a jackpot in euro millions ;P.

For the time being i will stick to my Tamron and Minolta and keep hunting
for good Minolta 28-135. Tamron 18-270 is good enough for recording movies,
sharp enough, quite fast and quiet AF, my 28-85 Minolta was noisy as a jet fighter.

Quote
Sigma 10-20mm... due to compatibility problems.
I didn't know that Sigmas are not quite compatible, would you give some more details?
That's not very important anyway, as that would be last lens to buy, and only if i got
some spare cash for it.

Regarding filters, i'll remove one from Tamron since it has hood, but i'm not sure if 50mm F1.4 Minolta's
hood is good enough to protect lens form damaging.

I know that's maybe not good place to ask, since it's lens talk, but i wanted to ask you
what you think about cheap shutter release devices, that can be bought of ebay?
I mainly want to buy one for making time lapses, since sony for some reason didn't
include that capability in A77II. Are there any reasonable good ones that will not fall
apart after few uses?


Offline REX (aka TG)

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 03:34:52 PM »
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Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 04:05:59 PM »
Thank you for your replies, i will consider everything you said here,
...<SNIP>...
Quote
Sigma 10-20mm... due to compatibility problems.
I didn't know that Sigmas are not quite compatible, would you give some more details?
That's not very important anyway, as that would be last lens to buy, and only if i got
some spare cash for it.

...<SNIP>...

Hi Ferin

A few years ago there were issues with some of the Sony Alpha dslr cameras 'stripping' the gears of some of the Sigma lenses with them not being strong enough with the torque of the auto focus motors in the camera bodies especially if the focus speed was left on FAST.

I believe Sigma did do some repair work for some owners and therefore improved the gearing strength - but they didn't offer the service for the older lenses.

I do have a couple of Sigma lenses: the 85mm f1.4, the 105mm f2.8 which I've used on Sony a700, a77 and now a77ii with no issues - - - but like Charles (Ascot) I am wary and try to remember to change the internal Focus Speed setting to a lower one when using these.
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline Marked

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2015, 03:08:42 AM »
Hi ,Ferin,

Just thought I'd share my experience with the Minolta 28-135, I really lusted after this lens a few years back, at the time they were very expensive, up to $500 AU, I got one with a 9000AF for $250 and was over the moon, optically it lived up to all the hyperbole, IMHO a great lens keeping in mind I've never had G lenses to compare it to, please be aware it does has its draw backs, on my a77 the 28mm end equates to a 42mm equivalent, when you combine this with the close focus distance of 1.5 metres indoor shooting becomes limited, for me the focal length was also a problem for landscapes, not wide enough.
Before I start sounding completely negative if you shoot mainly portraits particularly head and shoulder shots you'll  probably love it, if you can't avoid low angle light you'll need a petal shaped hood, I've tried a 20mm deep round hood and that was useless and then a 35mm deep round hood but that vignetted at the 28mm end so a petal hood is the only way to go.
The one other problem I had is in the lens construction, it extends about 35mm when zoomed out and on my copy this extension was very loose (this is apparently a common fault although not widely published), I ended up dismantling mine and tightening up the internal screws, not a job that I would recommend, so try and resist buying online, try the lens, on your own camera if you can.
Sorry to be so long winded, I hope I haven't put you off completely, I still have mine and use it when the opportunity arises, good luck with your search and be sure to let us know how you get on.

Cheers, Mark C   
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 03:26:36 AM by Marked »

Offline Ferin

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2015, 02:39:28 PM »
You can not do interval but at least you have a remote.
http://www.dynaxdigital.com/nex-camera-discussion/wired-remote-control-for-a6000-and/
Thank you REX for a link but i was rather thinking about something like that,
do you or anyone else have any experience with these things?


Quote from: Frank [aka Wires
but like Charles (Ascot) I am wary and try to remember to change the internal Focus Speed setting to a lower one when using these.
Does it mean that Sigma did not change anything regarding strength and
durability of their new lenses yet, or it only their lenses up some point in the
past suffer from that complaint? Anyway thx for clarifying that.

Quote from: Marked
please be aware it does has its draw backs, on my a77 the 28mm end equates to a 42mm equivalent
Ha! I wasn't aware that it's FF lens. Thanks a lot for pointing this out.
Therefore and fact that i just got my 50mm F1.4 which is not very far
from 42mm, i will look for something wider.

By the way. After few shots with my old-new minolta i just love it,
i can't believe how sharp it is. Don't laugh, i've never had anything better.
It's a bit like when i have changed from my Cybershot to A290.
But there is one downside, now i will compare everything to it ;P.
And how tiny it is... i can put it in my pocket if i need to :D.

Thank you guys for all your help.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 02:41:26 PM by Ferin »

Offline Frank [aka Wires]

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 08:59:01 PM »
...SNIP...
Quote from: Frank [aka Wires
but like Charles (Ascot) I am wary and try to remember to change the internal Focus Speed setting to a lower one when using these.
Does it mean that Sigma did not change anything regarding strength and
durability of their new lenses yet, or it only their lenses up some point in the
past suffer from that complaint? Anyway thx for clarifying that.
...<SNIP>...
Thank you guys for all your help.

I'm looking back to around 2008 when I got my first a700 and had the problem with an old 600mm Sigma - purchased 2nd hand off ebay. I hadn't been aware of the issue until it happened to me and I researched through the forum and other places about it. Sigma did replace/repair the gearing on some of their 'newer' lenses back then but mine was too old. They learned from the issue and now have, I believe, put things right with their lenses produced after 2008 onwards - but don't hold me to that 'statement'. If buying Sigma glass just make sure you buy from a reputable source :)
Frank (aka Wires)
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Offline AScot

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2015, 03:31:19 AM »
Yes the 28-135mm does have some drawbacks, mostly due to some people on other websites making exaggerated statements about it. :D  In addition, some bright spark found a way to make the manual focus macro feature into an auto focus macro feature. Unfortunately this entailed dismantling the lens and modifying it. There are very few amateurs capable of doing this intricate surgery, resulting in a fairly large number of 28-135mm lenses going on eBay in very poor condition, claiming to be in perfect working order. I know, it happened to me! Caveat emptor! However, I got all my money back as I could prove the lens had been doctored. Why didn't these people realize that if AF was a good idea, Minolta would have done it themselves.

I failed to mention to Ferin that the 28-135mm was a full frame lens. My apologies. However I personally do not see that as a drawback as 42 to 202.5mm is still a very good range, although perhaps not if you really need 28MM on an A77 camera. Remember also that your 50MM is 75mm on the A77, half way between a standard lens and a portrait lens. What some do not realize is that a Full frame lens on an A77, is only using approximately half the light coming to the sensor and therefore cuts off most of the out of focus areas that are present around the corners and edges of almost all lenses. This can make some average FF lenses into quite good lenses on an APS-C camera.

In addition to the problem of stripping gears on Sigma lenses that Frank [aka Wires] mentioned was that Sigma did not obtain a license from Minolta/Sony/Nikon/Canon to manufacture lenses for their systems. This meant they had to Reverse engineer the lenses and did not always get it right. subsequently, when new models of cameras came out the lenses often failed to work correctly.
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.

Offline Ferin

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2015, 09:58:18 PM »
I failed to mention to Ferin that the 28-135mm was a full frame lens. My apologies.
That's absolutely fine, i should know that by now.

Quote from: AScot
However I personally do not see that as a drawback as 42 to 202.5mm is still a very good range
Yes that's true, i'm wondering how 28-135 preforms in comparison with 70-200 F4, not in focal length of course but
general image quality.

Ok, so conclusion is that every minolta's lens focal length has to be multiplied by 1.5 on Sony's ASP-C camera, or are there
specific ones for crop sensor bodies? That means that even 11-18 will be in fact 16.5-27mm. Therefore i will have to
reconsider Sigma's 10-20, unless there is something better you can recommend.

Offline AScot

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Re: Minolta lenses - some advice needed.
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 12:27:51 AM »
I have the Sony 16-80 ZA which is a DT lens. All DT lenses are optimized for APS-C cameras and produce an image circle large enough to cover an APS-C size sensor only. If used on a Full frame camera the DT lens photo will be cropped to the APS-C size, using only 50% of the sensor. If used on a APS-C camera at 16mm it will produce the same Aspect ratio as a 24mm lens on a FF camera. Therefore we could assume the Sigma 10-20 will be the same/similar to a 15-30 FF lens.
Does that have you confused? If not, can you explain it to me? :D

I have both the Minolta 28-135 (complete with it's idiosyncrasies) and the 70-210 f4. They appear to be about the same weight with the 70-210 being about 33% longer. The 28-135 increases in length when zooming with no front element rotation when focusing, a very good feature (the focus ring is located close to the mount, awkward when manual focusing). The 70-210 increases considerably in length when focusing and the front element rotates (not good). Quality wise I would say the 28-135 has it, both in build and optically, although I admit that is a very subjective statement. I seldom use the 70-210, but that may be because I own the Minolta 200mm f2.8 HS APO, a superb lens. For you the 70-210 would be a good buy as it is cheaper ($150 vs $350 approx), there are lots more out there and it is rated quite highly, but only If you get a good one. :| Both are Full Frame lenses and subject to the 1.5 crop factor, as are all Minolta's. For me the crop factor is of no consequence, you quickly get used to it.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 12:06:23 AM by AScot »
Sony A7, A850, A77, A700 || Sony>> 70-300G, 28-75 f2.8 SAM, 16-80CZ, 50 f1.4, FE 28-70 OSS, FE 24-70CZ f4 OSS, LA-EA4 || Minolta>> 300 f4 G HS, 200 f2.8 G HS, 100 f2.8 (D) Macro, 50 f1.7, 28 f2.8, 28-135 f4-4.5, 70-210 f4, 500 f8 Reflex, TC x 1.4 HS, TC x 2 HS. || Sigma 21-35 f3.5-4.2. || Tamron SP 24-135.