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Minolta MD Zoom 35-135mm/3.5-4.5
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:33 pm    Post subject: Minolta MD Zoom 35-135mm/3.5-4.5 Reply with quote

Another vintage Minolta zoom: MD zoom 35-135mm/3.5-4.5. This one shocked me. I was expecting an unwieldy behemot of a lens but it turns out it's actually quite compact and feels very nice in the hand and on the camera. Also the pictures in the ebay listing weren't very flattering (and the BIN price was very reasonable) but what I got in the end was a lens that's practically like new. As if it was barely used. Smile

I only took it out once so far and didn't actually shoot even one photo wide open so can't comment on IQ but as far as I can tell it seems quite good. The only thing working against it is the not so amazing MFD (1.5m) and quite bad flaring and ghosting against strong light.

The lens:



A few (industrial) test shots:

1.
NEX6_0003_3879 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

2.
NEX6_0003_3881 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

3.
NEX6_0003_3886 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

4.
NEX6_0003_3890 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

5.
NEX6_0003_3897 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

6.
NEX6_0003_3898 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

7.
NEX6_0003_3902 by Miran Amon, on Flickr

I didn't record focal lenght and aperture (mostly around f/5.6-f/8 or so).

And a few more in the flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskDxw5VX


Last edited by miran on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats


PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks pretty good! Like 1 small

I didn't even know about this one, but I LOVE the MD Zoom 35-70 f3.5 (the one with the macro). It's like prime territory in terms of sharpness, in a zoom


PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

devinw wrote:
Looks pretty good! Like 1 small

I didn't even know about this one, but I LOVE the MD Zoom 35-70 f3.5 (the one with the macro). It's like prime territory in terms of sharpness, in a zoom

Thanks. This lens was the predecessor of the 28-135/4-4.5 AF which apparently is known among Minolta enthusiats as "the secret handshake". Wink

The 35-70/3.5 is probably the best Minolta MD zoom, I have one and it's a top performer.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:



The 35-70/3.5 is probably the best Minolta MD zoom, I have one and it's a top performer.


It's true, but you HAVE to get the right version of it. There is at least one version of it without the macro that is massively optically inferior to the "good" ones. Like 1 small


PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm impressed, that's a very nice lens - and a good photographer using it. Pictures like #2 and #3 have a beautiful tonality to the soft evening light colours, and then #4 has the strong red and white on the pylons against the sky, and the detail in the dark foreground, what's not to like?

A few people have mentioned the wonderful 35-70 f3.5 Macro, which I adore; Is this in the same league? I'd like to find out.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never mind the lens....

That's just good photography !


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all. Smile

Lloydy wrote:
A few people have mentioned the wonderful 35-70 f3.5 Macro, which I adore; Is this in the same league? I'd like to find out.

I'll make a direct comparison of all the Minolta zooms I have one day soon. We'll see but I doubt it will be as good because the 35-70 really is as good as or better than eqivalent primes at the same apertures (at least on my crop camera). But nevertheless there are good and not so good zooms and this is one of the better ones as far as I can tell from a quick look. I mean IQ is very good, it's just the 1.5m MFD and the fact that it's not a constant and not very bright aperture (4.5 at the long end) that puts it on the backfooot compared to primes. And as I said ghosting and flaring is a bit problematic but in all other respects (sharpness, contrast, aberations, etc.) it seems very good.

Also I haven't mentioned it, but it has a pseudo macro mode at the long end which I haven't tested yet. It comes handy on the 35-70 and it should even more on this lens.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:
Thanks all. Smile

Lloydy wrote:
A few people have mentioned the wonderful 35-70 f3.5 Macro, which I adore; Is this in the same league? I'd like to find out.

I'll make a direct comparison of all the Minolta zooms I have one day soon. We'll see but I doubt it will be as good because the 35-70 really is as good as or better than eqivalent primes at the same apertures (at least on my crop camera).
...


I have compared a few Minolta MC/MD lenses at f=50mm in 2012, using the 16MP Sony NEX-5N:

http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/321-nex-5n-und-minolta-50mm-objektive-teil-i
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/322-nex-5n-und-minolta-50mm-objektive-teil-ii
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/323-nex-5n-und-minolta-md-zooms-bei-50mm-teil-iii

In part 3 (" .... teil-iii") you'll find the MD-II 24-50mm and 35-70mm, as well as the the MD-III 35-70, 35-105 and 35-135.
All three MD-III are very good, at least at f=50mm.

At f=135mm, the MD 35-135mm can't really compete with 135mm, however:
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/327-nex-5n-und-135mm-teleobjektive

Stephan


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Your site is an absolute treasure! Smile

I got to the same conclusions, many if not most zooms tend to struggle at their longest setting. But nevertheless nearly all Minolta MD zooms seem to turn out a good performance, at least in a good part of their range. I haven't found all of them yet but of those that I have, the 35-70/3.5 macro, 75-150/4 and 35-135/3.5-4.5 stand out. I should get the 35-105/3.5-4.5 too. I had the AF version of that lens (two of them actually) and it was excellent.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:
Thanks. Your site is an absolute treasure! Smile

Thanks ... there's lots of information sitting in my laptop waiting to be published ... and even more lenses on the shelf waiting for systematic tests.
...
miran wrote:

I should get the 35-105/3.5-4.5 too. I had the AF version of that lens (two of them actually) and it was excellent.

There are two versions of the MD-III 3.5-4.5/35-105mm:

1) First version from 1982, [16 lenses /13 elements] computation. The computation obviously was produced in cooperation with (or even bought from?) Tokina, since their Tokina 35-105mm has the same number of lenses as well as the same lens sizes and -radii (identical shape of reflections!). Of course the mechanical construction is different to some extent, and coating is different as well. It seems that also manufacturing precision is different, since my to samples of the Tokina are distinctively inferior to my two samples of the Minolta!

2) Second version from 1983, a [14/12] construction.

The overall performance of both Minolta MD 35-105mm (but not of the Tokina!) constructions is very similar, and both are as good as the MD-III 35-70 or the MD-III 35-135mm, if not better. One of them is slightly better at f=35mm, the other at f=105mm, but i don't remember which one ...

Likely the first metal version of the Minolta AF 3.5-4.5/35-105mm has the same computation as the second MD 35-105mm. I know for sure the both the MD as well as the AF 3.5-4.5/28-85mm share the same optics (see books of Josef Scheibel), but i'm not absolutely sure about the 35-105 MD/AF versions.

Stephan


PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you again. I think I'll eventually try to collect them all and see for myself how they perform. I mean they're so affordable right now, so why not. Smile


PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would be great if someone could add the 50-135mm 3.5 to their tests as I find this compares favourably to the 35-70mm 3.5 macro. Never gets mentioned and has a constant aperture to boot.

Most probably know it.. excellent resource.

http://minolta.eazypix.de/lenses/index.html

Cheers


PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have it but haven't actually put it to use yet. Although at first glance it doesn't seem quite as good. We'll see.

Once I get some free time I'll do a side by side comparison of various long(ish) Minolta zooms and primes at different focal lengths from about 70 to 200mm. Might take a while though. So far I have 35-70 (3rd version), 35-135, 50-135, 75-150, 70-210 and 100/2.5, 135/3.5 and 200/3.5. Should be a big test, especially if I manage to add a few more to the lot. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lukias wrote:
Would be great if someone could add the 50-135mm 3.5 to their tests as I find this compares favourably to the 35-70mm 3.5 macro. Never gets mentioned and has a constant aperture to boot.

Most probably know it.. excellent resource.

http://minolta.eazypix.de/lenses/index.html

Cheers


The MD-II 3.5/50-135mm has a similar performance as the other MD-II Zooms (4/24-50mm, 4.5/75-200mm, 3.5/35-70mm); it's a bit inferior tho the following MD-III generation (3.5/35-70, 3.5-4.5/35-105, 3.5-4.5/35-135, 4/70-210).

Stephan


PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miran.. that would be fantastic, great to see these older zooms put to the test.. even though stevemark has already done that comprehensively already!
Thanks for your site stevemark, spent a lot of time on there over the years. Yes the later MDIII 35-70mm seems to have more clarity than the earlier 50-135mm. However its still my go to travel zoom and imo excellent performer(even with internal fungus). Might try the MDIII 35-105mm for the better manual focusing as the AF version(identical optically?) which I have is just as good if not better than the 35-70mm.

Cheers


PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:

There are two versions of the MD-III 3.5-4.5/35-105mm:

1) First version from 1982, [16 lenses /13 elements] computation. The computation obviously was produced in cooperation with (or even bought from?) Tokina, since their Tokina 35-105mm has the same number of lenses as well as the same lens sizes and -radii (identical shape of reflections!). Of course the mechanical construction is different to some extent, and coating is different as well. It seems that also manufacturing precision is different, since my to samples of the Tokina are distinctively inferior to my two samples of the Minolta!

2) Second version from 1983, a [14/12] construction.

The overall performance of both Minolta MD 35-105mm (but not of the Tokina!) constructions is very similar, and both are as good as the MD-III 35-70 or the MD-III 35-135mm, if not better. One of them is slightly better at f=35mm, the other at f=105mm, but i don't remember which one ...

Likely the first metal version of the Minolta AF 3.5-4.5/35-105mm has the same computation as the second MD 35-105mm. I know for sure the both the MD as well as the AF 3.5-4.5/28-85mm share the same optics (see books of Josef Scheibel), but i'm not absolutely sure about the 35-105 MD/AF versions.

Stephan


Hi Stephan, I can confirm that the Minolta AF 35-105mm is the same optically as as the MD-III version. I had disassembled both before and the optical elements/ lens groups can be swapped with no issues. I believe I had the 1983 version of the MD-III. How do you differentiate the 1982 and 1983 versions by the way?


PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Velectron"]
stevemark wrote:


Hi Stephan, I can confirm that the Minolta AF 35-105mm is the same optically as as the MD-III version. I had disassembled both before and the optical elements/ lens groups can be swapped with no issues. I believe I had the 1983 version of the MD-III. How do you differentiate the 1982 and 1983 versions by the way?


Thank you for this information - i did assume it, but didn't have the proof!

Size and wight of the two MD 35-105mm lenses are different:
http://minolta.eazypix.de/lenses/

They also look different:
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektive/189-minolta-35-105mm-f35-45

Stephan


PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

reviewed Minolta MD 35-135 1:3.5-4.5 Zoom
The result is typical for Minolta - better than expected, even for modern times


PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's a well-respected lens.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Additionally:
comparison of Minolta 35-135/3.5-4.5 with MD 35/2.8 - 50/2 - 85/2 and 135/2.8
Zoom is the good fighter Smile


PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good comparison, even if it only compares sharpness. Probably it will also show weaknesses in other aberations, distortion, vignetting, etc. But anyway, the zoom of course lags behind, especially in the corners but it's really a matter of convenience. If you know you will need multiple focal lengths and don't want to change lenses all the time and you know you'll stop down anyway, the zoom is easily good enough. And although it is bigger and heavier on the camera than any of the primes individually, you actually save size and weight in the bag with it instead of carrying three or four primes. The only thing it can't do is wide apertures.

I must use mine more often.

A few more old photos:

1.


2.


3.


4.


5.


6.


7.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:
A few more old photos:


Beautiful shots, thanks for sharing!
nice demonstration of what we all know - best lens isn't means the best shots and vise versa Smile


PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Minotla 35-105 AF version, I think the 'problem' with this lens is the MFD. At 1.5m that's huge!
That's way I am looking for an another 35mm lens to use indoors for example or in some situations where you have only a few centimeters between you and subject to take the shot...


PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All these zooms have terrible MFD, some more than others. Both 35-105 and 35-135 have 1.5m. But there is a sort of "macro" mode at the long end at least. Better lenses in this regard are 35-70 and 28-85 which both go down to 0.8m. The 28-85 interestingly has the macro mode at the short end.