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Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF Lens Review


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Background


I’ve really been enjoying this Minolta Maxxum 7D camera, especially when using these vintage lenses.

 

Having used the Minolta 20mm, 50mm, 70-210/4, the next lens that I think would be great along with this trio is the 135mm f/2.8.

Research lead me to believe that this would be a great lens to add, especially for portrait work.

 

Disclosure – images were post processed to my liking and in various styles. All were processed from RAW in Lightroom and sharpened in Lightroom and/or Topaz Photo AI.

 

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Handling/Size/Weight/Build

 

Most vintage 135mm lenses I’ve used have been f/3.5 or f/4. There was one f/2.8 Nikon in there as well. Those were all manual focus lenses.

The trend when adding auto focus to a lens has been that the lens gets bigger in size. I don’t believe that this lens is any bigger than those Nikon AI-S 135mm I’ve used in the past. In fact it may be smaller. Could also be a faulty perception on my part. 😜

 

Like most of the Minolta primes in A-mount, the handling is very similar to the 20mm and the 50mm. There is a rubberized grip area for securely holding the lens. A bonus is that the lens hood is built in. I was glad to see that as the Nikon lenses in similar focal length had the same. That is very convenient.

 

Weight, you do not really notice it. Even with the metal construction, I would not consider it heavy.

 

Handling, the 135mm balances perfectly on the Maxxum 7D. Very easy to engage the built in hood when needed.

 

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Weather Sealed


I could not find any indication that this lens is weather sealed, but I doubt that a small sprinkling or the cold would bother it. It never bothered my copy when I had it and these vintage lenses are really well built. I have been using if for a few weeks now in Ohio winter weather which includes rain, snow, and fluctuating temperatures from 50F down to the mid teens! No issues.

 

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Image Quality


Sharpness, contrast, colors and all top classic Minolta. Wide open there can be some aberrations depending on the lighting situation.

 

Despite that, the sharpness wide open is acceptable and nothing that cannot be enhanced, corrected with modern post processing software.

Even going down 1/3 of a stop from wide open and the lens gets better. You can shoot this thing all day at f/3.5 to f/4 and be happy with the sharpness.

 

As a portrait lens, even though it is a little long, it should work well if you have the space to use it. I used it for portraits of my dogs, as you can tell from the first image in the post above.

 

Checkout the sample images to see how well this lens and the Maxxum 7D hold up even today! Remember, these are from a 6mp sensor from 2004! A more modern a-mount camera could make this lens shine even more, most likely!

 

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Focusing


Focus is more than competent on this lens. It is accurate, way faster than I was expecting it to be. You’ll not be disappointed in the AF-S performance.

 

The only issue that I found was that this was not an internally focusing lens, so the front element moves during focus and I can feel it spin in my hand depending on the grip.

 

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OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)

 

This lens has no VR built into it. The a-mount bodies have in body image stabilization so not needed in the lens.

 

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Bottom Line

 

I love telephoto lenses for various reasons. I like the ease at which you can blur backgrounds, the compression and the fact that you can have distance to get those candid moments without intruding on the subjects space.

 

This prime lens has all those qualities that I like and is very special when paired with the CCD sensor equipped Minolta Maxxum 7D. The focus is fast and accurate, and the downsides go away when stopped down even by 1/3 of a stop.

 

I won this lens by shopping on eBay, and got a great condition copy for a reasonable price. Worth every penny, in my opinion.

 

Bottom Line = Highly Recommend!

 

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  • Like 1

See my content here:

http://www.visualohio.com | BESTLIGHTPHOTO BLOG | 500px Profile & Pics

 

I shoot Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Pentax and Leica.  Probably not enough!  LOL

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