Okay, so I broke my resolution to buy only one A-mount lens this year. Technically, this is the only A-mount lens I have bought this year, but I originally intended to buy another lens.
This is the Minolta 24-50mm F4 Original! What does it mean by Original?
They all look alike, with diagonal ribbed zoom rings, and tiny ribbed focus rings.
If you notice, the later Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) has a new styling, with a thicker focus ring and different zoom ring rubber design. The Minolta 24-50mm F4 Original was an external, extending focusing design while the Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) was an internal focusing design.
The Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) also has a focus clutch, and a very geary manual focus action of which I am not fond of.
You might ask, why have two lenses in a redundant focal range? Simply – the Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) had a minimum focusing distance of 50cm, while the Minolta 24-50mm F4 Original had a minimum focusing distance of 35cm. This was the [b]shortest MFD of any Minolta standard zoom at that time![/b]
The Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 SSM focuses to 34cm close, just 1cm better. The Konica Minolta 28-75mm F2.8 beat that at 33cm.
Everything else back then, like the Minolta 20-35mm F3.5-4.5, 24-85mm F3.5-4.5, 28-85mm F3.5-4.5, 28-105mm F3.5-4.5, 35-70mm F3.5-4.5, 28-135mm F4-4.5, 35-70mm F4, 35-105mm F3.5-4.5 – none of them focused to anything closer than 50cm (and the 28-135mm was a 150cm distant champion.) Some of them had a Macro switch which allowed them to focus closer, but in manual focus only! (I did not count the F3.5-5.6 zoom lenses because I was not looking for darker aperture lenses. I also did not consider F2.8 zooms because of the size and weight.)
At maximum extension.
My first outdoor shot with the 24-50mm on the A900! The vignetting is pretty spectacular, and an effect I’d like to leave in. The classic Minolta color is all there in all its glory.
35cm is showing its benefits.
Another 24mm F4.0 close range shot.
This lens supposedly has better bokeh than the Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D). I am just seeing a fair bit of barrel distortion, which always happens on the wide end of a zoom especially at close focus.
50mm F4, at MFD, giving a maximum magnification of 1:5.55x. While the Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) does slightly better, at 1:5.49x maximum magnification, I I would rather have the close focus capability at 24mm, than the magnification at 105mm. The 24-50mm is already very versatile when shooting at close range, like stuff on your table, or food on your plate – I don’t have to lean back excessively in order to focus anymore!
The lens has a decent amount of contrast, but not too much to kill it for the sensor. Then again, the A900 has always had excellent dynamic range.
And here’s a street shot.
Oh and of course, the shots of the Sony SLT-A33 and Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS were all taken with this lens!