Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro lens review

  • Official classification: New-MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD

This MD 28-85/3.5-4.5 usually is hidden behind the shadow of much more famous MD 35-70/3.5 but about me personally – I prefer to take this 28-85/3.5-4.5 instead of 35-70/3.5 in any case. Real convenience in using is better than a tiny better resolution in some positions.

This has been tested by Great and Powerful Antony Hands in his The 35mm Shoot-out – as a zoom which can compete with wide-angle primes.
Tests for this review are divided for: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm groups.

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro + Sony A

Minolta MD 28-85mm F3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro specifications:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index256
Name engraved on the lensMD ZOOM
f[mm]28-85
A max [1/f]3.5-4.5
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]13
Lens design [gr.]10
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]55
Lens Shadeclip-in
closefocus[m/ft]0.8/2.75
Dimension Ø x length [mm]65.5×86.5
Weight[g]470
Year1983
StyleMD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.2503-110
Notes2-Touch w/ macro mode

More data

Floating elementsYES
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesEnough
Reviewed lens SN:1057812

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro lens exterior:

The reviewed copy is in excellent condition except for slight white bloom on the rubberized ring of sharpness.

Mounted on Minolta X-700

This is a very suitable set – the camera and lens have the same design (1981 – camera, 1983 – lens)

Lens shade:

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 28mm

28mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview

Test results

28mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview

Test results

28mm – Vignetting

28mm – Geometric distortion

28mm – Coma aberrations

28mm – Chromatic aberrations

28mm  – Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.8m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

28mm – Light bubbles bokeh:

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.8m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 35mm

35mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview

Test results

35mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview

Test results

35mm – Vignetting

35mm – Geometric distortion

35mm – Coma aberrations

35mm – Chromatic aberrations

35mm – Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.8m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

35mm – Light bubbles bokeh:

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.8m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 50mm

50mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview

Test results

50mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview

Test results

50mm – Vignetting

50mm – Geometric distortion

50mm – Coma aberrations

50mm – Chromatic aberrations

50mm – Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.8m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

50mm – Light bubbles bokeh:

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.8m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro TEST RESULTS on FOCUS DISTANCE = 85mm

85mm – Sharpness – short distance

Scene preview

Test results

85mm – Sharpness – long distance

Scene preview

Test results

85mm – Vignetting

85mm – Geometric distortion

85mm – Coma aberrations

85mm – Chromatic aberrations

85mm – Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.8m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

70mm – Light bubbles bokeh:

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.8m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro Other resources with reviews:

Minolta MD 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom Macro – final conclusion

This zoom covers the wide diapason of most popular focal distances and fast enough for an inexpensive zoom lens. Additionally, it is well built, two-touch, lightweight has a macro mode, and looks beautiful. Nice fit, yes. Don’t miss it on the auctions, it still underrated.

Optical design with aspherical and floating elements – sounds cool, even for modern times. Definitely, corners aren’t ideal, but there are no reasons for pessimism, because, firstly, it is the semi-fast 3x-zoom started from 28mm – very powerful and wide, of course, it should have a weakness and this weakness looks very insignificant if to compare with more famous 2x-zooms MD 35-70/3.5 and MD 24-50/4, or maybe 1.5x MD 24-35/3.5. Secondly – center and middle(!) parts of the frame are really amazing on any focal distance, contrast is great and, finally, bokeh is unexpectedly nice from 50mm to long-end.

As a result, it can be named as another one masterpiece of the optic by Minolta – absolutely convenient universal zoom-lens which covers all photographer needs – from landscapes in travels till portraits everywhere. It may be the winner of ‘one lens in the bag’ award.


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