KM5D's reviews

  • Konica Minolta 50mm f/1.4 AF

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Fast. lightweight, tack sharp, good build, portable, fast focus.

    Hi, I am writing this review as I think an injustice has occurred by the review that is first on the list. This especially because there is only one other reviewer who had problems with his Minolta 50 F1.4 autofocus and down rated it.
    I have used my copy of the 50mm F1.4 for 25 years as I purchased it when the first Maxxum came out with the crossed xxs. It is and has always been my favored lens either with film or the APS digital sensors.
    I find that it is tack sharp and is in fact the sharpest lens that I have and equals the two 50mm F2.8 macros (one the old Minolta and the other the new Sony) at the same aperture and at same distances. I have had the 28mm F2.0, 28-135 F4.0-4.5 (which is basically a G lens but was produced before the G designation was first used). I also have the beer can 70-210 F4.0. In addition I have three 50mm 1.7 (picked up on ebay with oil and repaired with help from Peter Gantz and the pbase site). And I have a sigma 18-200, 75-300 APO, and several smaller zooms. So when I say that it is the sharpest lens that I have that is compared to the others above.
    It gives beautiful bokeh and at 1.4, where it is centrally tack sharp, everything outside of what you are focused on is nicely blurred. A lot of people don’t understand lenses well and state that this or that lens is soft at 1.4 and downrate it for that. But in fact all lenses are softer at 1.4 or wide opened than they are stopped down two to 4 stop where performance is maximal. So the comparison should be which manufacturers lens is softest at 1.4. Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Olympus also have the same softness and even more than the Minolta. Every site that I have been to that has done formal testing (like as well as several others) routinely rate the Minolta 1.4 above both the Nikon and Canon varieties. Even this site rates the Sony 1.4 very high. And the coatings on the Sony 1.4 appear to be the very same as on the older Minolta models – I have personally looked at that and see no differences in the colors of relative intensities of the reflections by looking into the front and rear of both lens.
    The reason that the prior reviewer did not like the lens was because of flare wide open with a strong light – such as street lights. I have tried taking pictures in this mode and see only barely visible images of the lights 180 degrees away. But once again any lens this fast and wide open is prone to this aberration as well as the fact that some sensors may accentuate this.
    So my rating of the lens is a 10, but that takes into consideration the alternative lenses available as well as the stopped down performance. I feel you have to compare apples to apples. And you can’t derate a lens because the performance at 1.4 is not as good as at F5.6 as that is a given fact with any wide – fast lens.
    Another consideration, in regard to the old Minolta and new Sony version is that the Minolta’s exterior is all beautifully finished metal and the Sony has this soft rubbery stuff and is partly plastic. As some of you know this coating deteriorates in time and the lens will look terrible. The older version is a better value in my humble opinion as 100 years from now the case of the lens will look the same as it does today. I feel the rubber coatings on the Sony stuff will have peeled, flaked, and fallen apart in ten to fifteen years. Then see what the resale value becomes.
    And lastly, I have used this lens frequently and hard over the past 25 years. I must have more than 25,000 shutter actuations on it and it has never given me the slightest hint of a problem. Nothing else speaks as well for its reliability and endurance. You will not be disappointed with this lens either for the APS or full frame sensors to come.
    I hope this review was helpful to you. If you agree and have used this lens please write a review giving your accurate appraisal.

    reviewed April 12th, 2008