Minolta MD 35-135mm vs. MD 28-85mm

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, May 16, 2016.

  1. I've been a fan of the Minolta MD 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for some time now, and have always gotten superb results from it. I had a chance to acquire a pristine MD 35-135mm and took the plunge (for a good price, to be fair), but I wonder if anyone has any comments on how these two lenses compare. I love the focal range of 35-135, but I know that the 28-85 has an almost legendary reputation among MD fans. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.
  2. http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20History.html has a history and other portions of the same site have reviews.
    Without knowing anything specifically about your lenses, many of these 20-30 to 85-135 earlier zooms have poor reputations. My own experience, like yours, was that some people are just too "picky" to enjoy themselves. :)
  3. I own both lenses and find them to be excellent performers. The 35-135 is sharp, contrasty, and is sharp even wide open. If you're happy with the 28-85's performance then you will probably like the 35-135. Both lenses, btw, were quite expensive when they hit the market in the early 80's. Dealer cost for the 35-135 was 300 USD when I bought mine through my family's camera shop. If you have access to a library with bound copies of Modern Photography you can find a test of both lenses. I based my purchase of the 35-135 on that report since it was too expensive to stock. I picked up a near mint 28-85 a few years back and I have been very satisfied with it as well.
  4. Actually I got the 35-135 for $250 as there was a $50 rebate. Here's a link to an earlier thread on this lens. http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00UStF
  5. I have the 28-85 and not too long ago got the 50-135. I still don't have the 35-135. I have used both versions of the 35-135 Tamron with good results. I have two of the 35-70/3.5 MD (last Minolta-made 35-70) and find them quite good. The 24-50 is not yet in my collection yet either.
  6. Thanks for the feedback everyone! Mike, thank you for that link. I'd forgotten about that conversation, but after reading it, I remember it now. 2009 seems like it was a long time ago, and I have bought and sold so many lenses and other gear in that time. I am excited about the 35-135 and am really looking forward to using it.
  7. Never used these Andy, but Leica rebadged Minolta zooms for use on the earlier R series cameras...some some praise there!
  8. I'm thinking the 70-210 f4 was one of the ones Leica used. Not sure if they used the original (without close focusing) 35-
    70 or not.
  9. I am pretty sure Leica used the predecessor of the 70-210 f4, which is the 75-200 f4.5. The latter is an awesome lens, which I bought new, used for many years, and still own today. It is often overlooked by Minolta fans, because the 70-210 f4 has better specs, is more common, and such an excellent performer as well.
    Regarding the 35-135, that's an excellent lens, but I always found the range of focal length of the 28-85 to be a lot more useful. If I recall correctly, there was also a 50-135 as well as a 35-105 - both with even less desirable ranges of focal length, but also good performers optically and very well built.
    Of the various versions of 35-70 lenses Minolta made, the one to shy away from is the one with variable maximum aperture. That lens truly is crap, or at least the copy of it I once had was.
  10. Frank- the one to avoid is the 35-70 f3.5-4.8. It was produced by Cosina or similar company. Originally sold as kit lens for
    X370. They also had a 28-70 f3.5-4.8 that was marginally better. In the manual Minolta even admits the lens has some
    light fall-off at 28mm at f3.5.
  11. This is why I used the expression Minolta-made. I have the Cosina-made 35-70/3.5-4.8 in many guises. To name a few - Minolta, Nikon, Vivitar, Olympus, Promaster. These are not actually terrible lenses. They are slow and difficult to use in anything but good light. I suspect that they were difficult enough to focus for many people that the results were bad for this reason alone. In bright light outdoors and when closed down even a little, they are surprisingly good.
  12. Jeff, I've been pleased with the 24-50. I have several images posted with it during the last few months.
  13. Tokina also made a few lenses to meet Minolta's specifications. The 35-105 f3.5-4.5 may have been one of them. If so,
    they did a great job as it is an excellent lens.
  14. Although the post deals with Minolta l34enses these wide to medium tele zooms cover a lot of desirable
    focal lengths and as many mentioned Cosina. Tokina Vivtiar and other makers had such lenses and you
    wonder as thee case with Leica if the pick of the production went to the name-brand vendors and the same
    glass etc was sold for less performing often as well. I wsould like something for the Yashica mount but the
    one 35-70 I have is only 3,5 and hard to focus in all but very bright light. Amazing what a bright finder can
    do sometimes...
  15. @Chuck- for the not-so-bright viewfinder one of the faster variable aperture zooms (typically an f2.8-4) might work. The Tamron Adaptall 35-80 f2.8-3.8) might be an improvement. Or the Vivitar 28-90 f2.8-3.5. Both of these are well-made and good performers. A less expensive (if you can find it) alternative is the Soligor 35-70 f2.5-3.5. I do not know anything about its performance, though.
    In regard to original post I plan some comparison tests with my 35-135 and 28-85 Minolta zooms at some time in the near future.

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