Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 No Macro vs Macro Zooms New-MD – comparison

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison – No Macro vs Macro

  • Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 Zoom No Macro (New-MD, MD III)
  • Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5Zoom  Macro (New-MD, MD III)

In this world, there are many stories about dragons, mermaids and that the versions of Minolta with and without macro have a different IQ. Or maybe these are not fairy tales. Need to check.

MD 35-70 1:3.5 Without Macro
MD 35-70 1:3.5 With Macro
Optical Condition:Near MintNear Mint
Mechanical Condition:Near MintNear Mint
Cosmetic Condition:Very GoodNear Mint

This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can differ if any element is changed.

Tested lenses reviews

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison – No Macro vs Macro – sharpness/resolution

Long-distance test description

  • Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) – RAW (ARW), tripod, A-mode, ISO 100, WB fixed, SteadyShot OFF, manual focus correction for every shot
  • Targets (buildings) – fixed by gravity power on the distances in more than 200 meters
  • ARW post-processing – Capture One, default settings, 100% crops 300×200 px

35mm focal distance

35mm – Scene preview

35mm – Test results

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison - 35mm infinity

50mm focal distance

50mm – Scene preview

50mm – Test results

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison - 50mm infinity

70mm focal distance

70mm – Scene preview

70mm – Test results

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison - 70mm infinity

Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 comparison – No Macro vs Macro – final conclusion

As you know, Minolta released three versions of the 35-70 / 3.5 lens. The first was called Rokkor MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 (some of them were labeled as Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70mm f/3.5). Usually, no one of the reviewers doubts that this first incarnation was not as sharp as the next two. But these next two are exactly the lenses that are compared in this article – both have New-MD design (or MD-III), both have the same optical schemes and the difference is just in the macro mode – earlier lens hasn’t it.

Many sources believed that the difference in resolution between these two is either the same or the macro version is slightly better – just slightly. Some sources are the opposite.

OK, let’s see – Middle and Center positions are really very similar for both lenses. But, on the diagrams above it is clearly shown that the lens with Macro mode is much better in the corners – especially on the 35mm and 70mm, and on the 50mm also noticeable.

Possible, the stories about the similarity of these lenses were based on tests were done on cameras with an APS-C sensor, it becomes clear why these lenses are considered almost similar – the corners simply did not fit into the frame.

Of course, I must make a statement that the reason may be due to deviations in quality control during production. But I advise you not to hope for this – the difference is quite large, and the lenses do not have any damage or traces of disassembly. For those who have doubts, I suggest sending a copy for comparison and Romantic test.

The winner is clearly visible – Minolta MD 35-70mm 1:3.5 with Macro mode. So, dragons and mermaids exist.