June 4, 2011

Lens wide open: Minolta 28mm 2.8

A new member just joined my lens family! I'd always felt the need for a fast lens for indoor photography sans annoying flash strobes, and ebay found the right one for me-Minolta 28mm f2.8! And at a bargain at at that!

My first prime lens, Minolta 50m f1.7 was a great purchase and the quality of photos it took was commendable. But the tight angle of view made it a pain for indoor photography during family occasions. I found myself backing out of entire rooms to get everyone in picture! The crop factor of 1.6 was also to blame here. My kit lens starts at 18mm but at 3.5f and with the quality of glass it offers, I had to get a wider lens for my collection.

Interesting story about the purchase itself: I waited for an entire week to bid my price at the last moment and when I did, I was outbid in a few seconds. I logged off still grappling from the shock when my cousin texted me- He'd bought it for me! wow.

A few pics of the lens:

The glass is clear with no scratches or marks. The apertures look snappy too.

It's the sides which truly show the age of this thing. It's japan make so I'm assuming it hsould be more than 10 years old now.

The metal body can be seen here. The newer Sony lenses are plastic but outrageously priced.

There's a focus/distance metre which I'm still to figure out how to use. We're the autofocus generation....

Jumping straight to photo quality, I did see a tint of over saturation of colors in all the pictures.... It may a calibration issue on my monitor, or a camera settings issue. .. I donno.

The above images should give a fair idea of the lens' field of view over the 50mm prime lens. The colors came our well but except for the aforementioned doubt on saturation, there's nothing to complain.

Although I can't be very sure(I'm by no means a professional), I think the lens is sharpest at f4.5
Some are shown below:

The more advanced lens qualities such as purple fringing barrel, distortion, light fall off, focus distance are all beyond me. What I can vouch for is the auto focus speed; the size, which I think is really tiny; and the metal construction makes it rugged and durable. There's also a built in hood, which online reviewers usually call useless but I haven't personally used it yet.

Where this lens should truly excel is low light, night time photography. I took it out on Atir's birthday but didn't get a chance to play around much. And I'm yet to test the bokeh too.

A lot of people on forums rave about the "Minolta colors" the new sony lenses no longer give. Got a feel of that when I bought the 35-70 f4. This lens just reaffirmed that belief:

I even shot a plane with this tiny thing (should have tried with the 100mm though ) and the detail is ok if not great. Here's a 300% crop of the plane. Drop in a comment if you know the airline.

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