Even though Minolta cameras are great to own, you need to have a good lens to get them working at their level best.
With the right lenses, it’s possible to achieve outstanding contrast and even dare to bring that sublime bokeh home.
But as you know, now two lenses are made exactly the same. So, you need to be on the lookout for certain features and qualities that separate the best Minolta lenses from the rest.
Fortunately, that’s what the following few paragraphs are all about – to help you get the most from your next lens purchase.
Minolta Lenses – Comparison
It’s time to get a quick look at the 10 most popular Minolta lenses. The table below is just a snippet, scroll further down for more details about each lens.
|Ranking||Product Name||Lens Type||Maximum Focal Length|
|1||Minolta Maxxum AF 70-210mm||Telephoto||210 Millimeters|
|2||Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG lens||Telephoto||300 Millimeters|
|3||Minolta Rokkor-X 50mm lens||Wide Angle||50 Millimeters|
|4||Minolta Maxxum AF 100-200mm||Telephoto||200 Millimeters|
|5||Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.7 Mount lens||Standard||50 Millimeters|
|6||Minolta Maxxum AF 85mm||Telephoto||85 Millimeters|
|7||Minolta AF 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 lens||F3.5-4.5||85 Millimeters|
|8||Factory Reconditioned Minolta Maxxum AF 35-80mm||Zoom||80 Millimeters|
|9||Minolta Maxxum Dynax AF 28mm F/2.8 Lens||Wide Angle||28 Millimeters|
|10||AF 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Minolta Maxxum lens||Zoom||105 Millimeters|
1. Minolta Maxxum AF 70-210mm F/4 Zoom Lens
This lens is satin black and has a constant aperture of f/4, is long and does not extend out during zooming. It has an accurate autofocus operation while the manual focusing takes over 1/3 turn from close-in to infinity.
The color fringing is minimum at 70mm while it is stronger near the end of the zoom. The bokeh is also less at 70mm but is generally smooth over the entire range.
The barrel distortion is mild and is well controlled such that it is not noticeable in the images.
- Impressive autofocus operation
- Fantastic sharpness
- High-quality build
2. Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG lens
This lens is compatible with APS-C bodies as well as full frame DSLRs. It has a useful zoom range of 112-480mm on Canon APS-C cameras and 105-450mm in all the others.
It features 16 elements in 11 groups, one of which being a Special Low Dispersion (SLD) element. It weighs 610 grams and measures 77 by 117mm.
The body has a top-notch build and sturdy construction, while the zoom ring and manual focus ring function smoothly and efficiently.
Chromatic aberration levels are quite low that they are barely noticeable while the sharpness at 300mm and an aperture of f/5.6 are very impressive.
- Sturdy build-quality
- Effective 4-stop stabilizer
- Sharper and clearer images
- Noisy autofocus motor
3. Minolta Rokkor-X 50mm lens
To start with, this lens has an incredible build quality. It is all metallic and this coupled with the knurled focus ring gives it a solid feel.
Then, the vignetting is barely noticeable while the distortion is negligible too and can easily be corrected in a Lightroom.
It has pretty average chromatic aberration and effective flare resistance. The bokeh is also relatively smooth and will blow you away.
- Very affordable
- Sturdy build quality
- Has no Autofocus (AF)
4. Minolta Maxxum AF 100-200mm f/4.5 TELE lens
If you are looking for a lens which is affordable and yet of a very high standard, the Minolta Maxxum AF 100-200mm is just what you are looking for.
First, it has a simple yet sturdy construction which makes it feel good in the hands. Further, it has Minolta scales which give it a stunning and high-quality look.
Then, it has fantastic contrast and sharpness, and this results in visible and bright images. You will particularly be impressed with its performance outdoors in bright light.
It also has an impressive background blur that will let you focus on the intended image squarely.
- High-quality build
- Extremely sharp
- Minimal distortion
- Slow autofocus (AF)
5. Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.7 Mount lens
This model is the last of its kind to be produced by Minolta and was produced in large quantities, implying that it is easy to come by and is not expensive.
It weighs roughly 165 grams and so is very lightweight plus it feels good in the hands. The body is scratch and dust-proof while the focus is smooth, uniform and fast.
It is made out of 6 elements in 5 groups, and it has reasonable contrast. The aperture ring is made of plastic while the remainder of the body is all metal.
At f/2.8, the sharpness and contrast increase while the haze completely vanishes. Vignetting also disappears at f/2.8 while the barrel distortion is very low at -0.3%.
- Very affordable
- No distortion at all
- Compact body-build
- Slow aperture speed
6. Minolta Maxxum AF 85mm 1:1.4 Lens
The Minolta AF has a body with an incredible build. The zoom ring is made of plastic while the rest of the body is all metal.
It is longest at 28mm and fully retracted at 70mm. It also features a macro-switch which will give a maximum magnification of 0.25x at 28mm.
The lens has a focus distance window whereby five infra-red focus index marks match with the focal length index marks.
Lateral color fringing is moderate on APS-C cameras while the lateral distortion on the same type of camera is mild-moderate at the wide end and mild-moderate pincushion distortion at 85mm.
- Easy to use
- Fast focus
- Strong build
- Noisy focus system
7. Minolta AF 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 lens
This model was released in 1988, and the first thing about it that will capture your attention is its incredible finish. It has a metal mount and utilizes 55mm filters. You will notice that many parts are made of high-quality plastic, but this does not make it weak.
The autofocus operation is fast and accurate while the ghosting and color-fringing are adequately controlled.
The background blur is fantastic while the barrel distortion is mild at 70mm and moderate-heavy pincushion at 210mm with a full frame camera.
When it comes to an APS-C camera, the distortion is non-existent at 70mm and light-moderate pincushion at 210mm.
- Sturdy and high-quality finish
- Smooth focus operation
- Clear images
- Noisy autofocus
8. Factory Reconditioned Minolta Maxxum AF 35-80mm
This lens is compatible with Minolta Maxxum AF Cameras and is constructed out of 8 elements in 8 groups. The construction is a mix of metal and high-quality plastic making it sturdy and durable.
The lens has a top-notch precision and a fantastic bokeh which will leave you with sharp and clear images.
To top everything up, the lens comes with a 6-month factory warranty on parts as well as on labor.
- Very affordable
- Sturdy finish
- Does not come with a lens cap or hood
9. Minolta Maxxum Dynax AF 28mm F/2.8 Lens
This model is a small and compact lens with impressive build quality. It has a stunning gloss black finish and is multi-coated to give it a fantastic flare and ghost resistance.
The circumference has rubber inserts around it to add to its stunning outward appearance.
The lateral color fringing is barely noticeable while you can quickly correct the minor distortions via photo-imaging software.
- Outstanding image quality
- Fast autofocus
- Bokeh is not that good
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10. AF 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Minolta Maxxum lens
This lens has been popular since the 1980s and is very short and light, with a constant aperture of f/4. It is satin black and has a focus distance window with three red infra-red focus index marks at 70mm, 50mm, and 35mm.
The lens has fast and accurate autofocus while the color fringing is very well controlled. The distortion too is kept at a minimum.
The barrel distortion is mild at 35mm while at 40mm, it turns to mild pincushion. This shows that it is very well controlled.
- Small and lightweight
- Impressive build quality
- Very affordable
- Noisy autofocus
The Buying Guide For Minolta Lenses
Whether you’re looking for some cheap Minolta lenses or don’t mind forking out a few more cents for quality, the following guide is for you.
The first thing you need to consider is the overall build quality of the lens. It’s always ideal to settle for a lens that’s built to last.
Besides that, you want to decide whether you want a prime or zoom lens. Go for a prime lens if you’ll be photographing nearby objects or if looking for the best low-light performance. Stick with the zoom lens if looking to make long-range shots e.g. documentaries, journalism and so forth.
Another factor to consider is whether the lens is compact enough for everyday use. You basically want to have a compact lens which should also be easy to handle and light in weight if possible.
The focal length is simply the distance between the center of the lens and the sensor when the subject is in focus. It is indicated in millimeters (mm) and a lower number means the lens is best for taking wider shots. A higher number, on the other hand, means a bigger zoom.
Generally, a Minolta lens with a focal length lower than 30 to 50mm will capture images in a wider view. However, lenses with a higher number than 50mm mean that focus will be just on a small aspect of your view.
Therefore, if you want to be as close as possible to your subject, a telephoto Minolta lens is what you need. Also, it should have a focal length that ranges from 50 to 100mm. However, make sure the lens has at least an f2.8 aperture for ease of use in low-light conditions.
Quality of Coating
The coating of your Minolta lens is yet another factor worth considering when purchasing this type of lens. Generally, the coating should be made of high-quality materials. One of the common material used is magnesium fluoride.
Besides, some of the best lenses are actually made of multi-layer materials which helps reduce ghosting and flare. Flare and ghosting is a common issue with most digital cameras. Also, the coating ensures an optimum color balance throughout the whole zoom range.
Is it Compatible with your Camera’s Sensor?
With digital cameras, the sensor is simply the part designed to record the image once you press on the shutter. However, sensors in DSLR cameras are built to be bigger compared to those of point-and-shoot cameras.
Overall, there are two types of sensors including CMOS and CCD. CMOS is larger compared to CCD hence can capture more light. Therefore, with the CMOS sensor, you can expect sharp and better quality images than CCD.
So, before settling on a specific lens, make sure it fits your camera’s sensor.
Style of Photography
Last but not least, you need to consider your style of photography. This is because the lens plays a major role in determining the outcome of your photos. Therefore, you need to think about the kind of photos you would like to shoot.
For instance, if you plan to take landscape photos, a wide-angle lens would be a perfect choice. However, if you’re more into portraits, then you should invest in Minolta prime lenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still not sure which is the best Minolta lenses for your camera? We hope this FAQ section can help you make the right choice.
What camera models are Minolta lenses compatible with?
Minolta lenses are compatible with most digital SLR cameras including the majority of Nikon models like the D80, 3100, and D3200.
What is the highest aperture on a Minolta lens?
Any lens with a maximum aperture of around f/1.4 or f/1.8 is considered to be a fast lens. Such a lens can allow more light to pass through than a slow maximum aperture of f/4.0.
Are sigma Minolta lenses as good as they claim?
In a way yes as they are known to be lighter, quieter, and faster. However, they are quite expensive compared to other brands.
Which One Is The Best?
So, which Minolta lens qualifies to be called the best of the best? Well, choices may vary depending on who you ask and the style of photography preferred.
But if popularity is anything to go by, we’d vouch for the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG lens. It’s a well-made lens which is also relatively popular. However, it’s a zoom lens and, therefore, if you’re after a prime lens, the Minolta Rokkor-X 50mm lens is the one we’d vouch for.
Quality is the name of the game whenever it comes down to choosing the best lens for your Minolta camera. And as we have seen in the review above, you don’t need to overthink.
You simply need to understand your unique needs. And upon doing that, progress to make a choice that perfectly suits those needs.