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Minolta 35-70 F4 Macro vs F3.5-4.5 or other decent zoom?

Gleb Baida , Sep 29, 2004; 10:47 p.m.

Hi Minolta users, recently I bought and briefly tested Maxxum 5 with 35-70/4 Macro lens for my friend in Russia (it is much more expensive there) and I got very positively impressed with Maxxum 5 metering (I used slide film) and the lens sharpness. I know there is another Minolta 35-70 lens: F3.5-4.5, but nothing else about it. Can you comment on it and compare it with 35-70/4 Macro? Sharpness, flare, distortion, vignetting, build quality, front element rotation? Can you recommend any other good zoom from Minolta? I never used any Minolta before. Thanks!

Responses

Joseph Allen , Sep 29, 2004; 11:01 p.m.

Gleb, I was considering the 35-70/4 lens as my first zoom lens when I got my Maxxum 70. However, after reading on the forums here I decided that the 28-85/3.5-4.5 might be a better choice, so I asked about this lens, and here is the response I got:

http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=008rXy

I think it might be helpful to you since you are asking for other recommendations. I bought mine very cheaply on KEH.com, but I'm sure they could be found cheaply on eBay or other places.

Manuel Garcia , Sep 30, 2004; 12:38 a.m.

Joe,

How do you like your Maxxum 70? What did you upgrade from? Thanks!

Joseph Allen , Sep 30, 2004; 01:34 p.m.

Hey, Manuel, you asked me that once before in a previous thread, but I guess you never got back to it to follow up. Anyway at the time I said:

"Manuel, I like the 70 just fine, but I don't think it's very much different from the 5. In terms of features, they're almost identical really. In fact, I actually wish that my 70 had two features that the 5 has: 1) eye start and 2) 1/125sec flash sync (and 1/60 sec wireless flash sync I believe). That eye start feature was really cool, and as someone who has always used manual cameras, it's a little bit less natural for me to have to press the button to "wake up" my 70 before I can start to focus, meter, etc.

Anyway, despite those two features, the reason I went with the 70 was basically just cosmetic. I liked the black camera better and also the 5 felt too small for my hands. The 70 is a little bigger. For some people that might be a plus or a minus depending on your hands or just what feels comfortable to you. So basically, I'd say just save up for the 7 if you want a different camera, because the 70 is just too similar to the 5 to justify the move."

So my humble opinion is...if what you want is the 7, then just keep saving for that, because if you already have the 5, then it's just too similar to the 70 to justify buying that instead.

Georg Kern , Sep 30, 2004; 03:53 p.m.

I like the 35-70/4 very much. It is extremly compact, and the build quality is very good - better than anything produced these days. The zooming is just gorgeous. I also have the 35-70/3.5-4,5 and it is also a nice lens, but it is a little bit longer (but also lighter) and has a plastic mount (and is more "plasticky" in general). I once made a rather rudimentary side-by-side comparison, and in general the f/4 was sharper wide open (especially the corners at wide angle), but stopped down the differences seem negligible. The 3,5-4,5 has a bit more color contrast, and the AF is quicker. All in all, I prefer the f/4.

The 28-85 is also a fine lens (I only know the optically identical MD-version), and might be a better choice as an all-round travel zoom, or anytime when you need 28mm instead of 35mm. But as a snapshot-lens for pictures from peoples, the 35-70 can't be beaten, because you can't do anything wrong (IMHO, 28mm snapshots are often weak). The 28-85 is also much bigger and heavier, and zooming is a little bit stiff. Aditionally, 85mm is not a big step upwards from 70mm. I sometimes tend to try out other zooms in such occasions, but I always came back to the 35-70.

Regards

Georg

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