24-85mm Minolta

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Greg Beetham
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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:59 am

Here's part of a page of one my old brochures showing the AF24-85, and a couple of other interesting lenses.
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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:35 am

Hmm 17-35mm G so it's sharp even wide open at max WA and distortion free? That's a pretty wild claim! I've never seen any UWA sharp wide open corner to corner, with no distortion :mrgreen:

Not used the 20-35mm, saw a few on ebay at frankly bad prices (touching £400 odd), but it's not well known for being great.

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:22 am

Yeah, I don't know how good that 17-35G was first hand, either, but shortly before Minolta closed down it was on sale here (on a dealers web page, amongst a bunch of other lenses) for a paltry $2500.00, maybe I should have grabbed one... :lol:
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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:27 pm

I know a lot of 17-35mm G users swear that this lens is blessed by the hands of Christ himself, that it has unique and mythical qualities..and they are certain it was worth every penny they paid.

I am sure it's better than the 17-35mm Tamron design..but the considering the price difference it should be! But even then, some say it's really not that much better, and it makes the entire bang per buck fly out the window, but then not everyone works on that. Whilst we are on G lenses, I never understood why the 35mm f1.4 G was brought back to life..seemed a poor choice for a prime lens that could be a good seller (if it were half sensible price wise)

That 24-85mm should be here in the morning, I'll have a bash and see what the story is, I am kinda fussy..if I buy boxed minty, it would want to be! lol

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:20 am

Got mine, not much use yet due to light and weather, but it seems to have distortion I can live with and fairly strong but correctable CA. On first look, it is sharper wide open than suggested by some review ratings. The focus action is internal and tends to produce a small image jump, rather like some examples of the 16-80mm.

It feels very solid and focusing is extremely fast. The first time I used this lens was on the Dynax 9 film camera but I also had a 17-35mm G, 28-70mm G and 100-400mm APO at that time so the performance of the 24-85mm was not going to impress me!

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby 01af » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:38 am

David Kilpatrick wrote:I sold my AF 24-105 mm which had been a regular companion on the A100-700 models. [...] It simply was not good enough for full frame - really strong barrel distortion at 24 mm, and the worst CA of any lens I had.

David, I think your copy of the AF 24-105 (D) was below par. Maybe you should try another sample. I also have one, and I use it as my standard zoom on the A900 with fairly good success. It does have issues but it isn't half as bad as one would think from reading your experiences. The bad points are distortion and vignetting at the short end ... distortion doesn't bother me much with my kind of use (if it does then I can revert to other lenses) but the vignetting at 24 mm is strong, insistent, and annoying; it won't fully disappear even at f/11. On the other hand, the lens is sharp at all focal lengths and has fairly low chromatic aberrations.

Having read your favourable report on the AF 28-105, I acquired one from eBay for little money, to see myself. My sample is good but not significantly better than the AF 24-105 (D). I still prefer the latter for the wider short end.

Having said that, I am still not really happy with my standard zooms. The AF 24-105 (D) offers a good range at acceptable, but not really good, quality. I wish there was a better choice. The SAL 24-70 ZA sure is excellent but I'd badly miss the 105 mm at the long end and I don't really need the 1:2.8 lens speed; 1:4 or 1:3.5-4.5 serves me perfectly well. There once was a rumour about an upcoming SAL 24-105 mm 1:4 SSM lens which was supposed to replace the dated AF 24-105 (D) ... but I haven't heard anything about it in quite a long time now.


David Kilpatrick wrote:There is a second reasoning behind this - we may just move entirely to full frame in 2010, with an A850, and need an extra standard zoom.

If you need an extra full-frame standard zoom for little money then you may consider the old AF 28-85. The combination of range and speed is a bit limited by today's standards but for the money, it's hard to beat.

-- Olaf

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby Philip » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:07 am

Olaf, my experience with the 24-105 (in its Sony incarnation) on the A900 was the same as David's, so I got rid of it a year ago - maybe you've just got an exceptionally good example?

Greg and Barry, I've still got my 17-35 G but to be fair hardly use it - I tend to use the 12-24 Sigma for UWA and let the CZ24-70 take care of the rest. It is/was marginally better than the 17-35 Tamron design on the A700, but I got rid of it before I got the A900 so cannot comment on the full frame comparison. The G is not sharp corner to corner even by f8 on the A900!

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:31 pm

Thanks for that Philip, now I don't feel quite as deprived as I did before. :D
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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby InTheSky » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:04 pm

My Minolta 24-105mm was not good too ... and I have tried and tried to get good result with the A900 with no succeed. For the useful range this lens was and size the hope was really strong for it to become my day to day lens on my Camera ... but It was not :-(.

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:12 pm

Philip wrote:Olaf, my experience with the 24-105 (in its Sony incarnation) on the A900 was the same as David's, so I got rid of it a year ago - maybe you've just got an exceptionally good example?

Greg and Barry, I've still got my 17-35 G but to be fair hardly use it - I tend to use the 12-24 Sigma for UWA and let the CZ24-70 take care of the rest. It is/was marginally better than the 17-35 Tamron design on the A700, but I got rid of it before I got the A900 so cannot comment on the full frame comparison. The G is not sharp corner to corner even by f8 on the A900!

Philip



What about f11 ?? lol

Being honest, UWA is punishing on FF, I would expect to have to hit that if not even f13 at times, to get the best corners.
Even oldies such as the 28-85mm, need to be taken down just past F8, and that's not really that wide. My 19-35mm ok cheap lens, but f11/f13 are the best bet, but it's variable..depends on how low down and close you are..the closer, the harder it is in extreme corners.

If the 24-85mm needs f11 to get good corners on FF, that's ok for me..no sign of it yet, must be xmas post delays. Obviously APS helps out here, as it crops a fair bit off, that's why some APS lenses or FF lenses on APS are good even before f8 sometimes.

I considered getting a 24mm prime, but felt current prices are a bit steep..to get a good one that is.

Stopping down WA is no problems for me, as I often do that for tripod or landscape work. The problem with the G lens is, I am not sure it's performance justifies the price..though I admit I have never used one..it would be hard to hang onto a lens like that, as it's sale could generate enough cash to get a number of very good lenses.

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby Philip » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:07 pm

LOL Barry. No even at f11 and f13 it still isn't bittingly sharp in the corners. I hunted high and low through my test shots to try and find some example, but I appear to have delete them so am unable to post any pictures. If I get a chance and the weather is ok over the next couple of days I'll try and take a picture or two to show what I mean.

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:23 pm

Well mine arrived today. It's as new..unmarked.

Obviously I don't intend to blow a roll of 35mm just to test it. On APS I note the following though.

24mm end, it's performance is very good, even from f4.5, very sharp from there on, not even that bad at f3.5.. 50mm and up, f4.5 is kinda "dreamy/ghosty" By that I mean lacking contrast, and somewhat soft/misty etc and CA more notable, all is good from f5.6, and gets better stopping down even more, though at f5.6 it's very decent. This is similar to the 28-85mm tele end, which really needs a stop down to get good, though it's better at f4.5 85mm than this..WA wise the 24-85mm gets sharper quite a bit quicker than the 28-85mm does. The 35-70mm f4 is best of the lot tele end..IMO anyway the 35-70mm kills any zoom in that range. (that I have used!)

Not sure how that fits with other samples, but that what I get from it so far. I would say, I don't expect tacko sharp at 24mm, but decently sharp, corner wise..clearly it's not a CZ optic, so my expectations are price v performance. I suspect you get a tad picky with higher prices, as you should.

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:37 pm

I'm looking at my first tests now - pleased so far. Here is Maxwell Place at 3.10pm today - getting dark, huge snowflakes, had to rush out and grab two or three pix then get the camera in for drying. The 24-85mm is fairly waterproof...
snowdecember19-maxwellplace.jpg
snowdecember19-maxwellplace.jpg (397.94 KiB) Viewed 3376 times

24mm, f/7.1, 58 flash on the A900, in-camera JPEG.
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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:52 am

I have done a couple of days shooting with the 24-85mm, including some difficult into the light stuff, some maximum close ups, and some full aperture. The lens is extremely high in resolution - very sharp indeed - and that applies to 85mm, even at full aperture. However, there is serious veiling glare at 85mm f/4.5 which pretty much destroys trees against sky (etc); it is removed by f/5.6. The corners shows a softening which is not especially strong, even wide open, but is also not fully removed when stopped down. Vignetting is stronger at 85mm than at 24mm. CA is extremely well controlled and is about 50% of the level shown by the 24-105mm, distortion is also much lower at 24mm.

Overall, the results assuming one half-stop down from wide open are comparable to the 28-75mm or the 28-105mm, with better bokeh than either of these. Around f/6.3-f/9 resolution is exceptional across the entire range, and what is unusual is the field flatness and high sharpness for close-ups. Over half my shots require no CA correction at all. Sharpness is superior to the 70-300mm SSM G, which is saying something.

The real problem with the lens is contrast. It's by far the lowest contrast late period Minolta lens I have ever used (much lower contrast than the 28-105mm which is of a similar date). Flare spots form very easily and it's the absolute reverse of a CZ T* coated lens in 'look'. However, this is easily overcome in raw conversion. I had to shield the lens many times to prevent low sun ruining the shots.

David

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Re: 24-85mm Minolta

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:14 am

I would agree tele end it really needs stopping down, massive difference from f4.5 to f5.6, and it gets even better going down more, very sharp. WA on APS it's surprising good even wide open, and just dropping down to f4.5 is very decent, which makes it useful for flash at WA, where more exposure is desired etc.

Not shot it on FF, so cannot comment on fall off or performance wide end. But no doubt I will do so shortly. CA noticeable tele end wide open (and the ghosting effect), and low contrast again at full aperture. But the contrast looks very good when stopped down, least when I shot in on the A200. Noticed flare spots in some shots too.

Overall, at ist I thought it was a bit iffy tele end (others confirm tele end is weak wide open), but it does get very good moving away from wide open. For the outlay, it would seem a decent buy for a standard zoom. 24mm is more useful than 28/35mm on APS, wide enough for some tasks.


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