Minolta 85mm f1.4 (3 of 3)

If you are looking to save a little bit of money on glass for your Sony a7s or a7s II body, you always have the option of buying older A-mount or Minolta glass. After all, Sony’s A-mount was purchased from Minolta years ago, which means all you really need is the proper adapter.

In this case, I have the Minolta 85mm f1.4 which can be had for under $5oo. With the correct adapter, in this case, the Sony LE-EA4, you can get this and other lenses (how does a 50mm f1.4 for under $200) up and running on your A7 camera.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (1 of 3)

If you aren’t familiar with the Minolta line of lenses, you’ll find that they are very small compared to other brands with the same focal length and f-stop. This is because there is no internal motor, which is why the Sony LE-EA4 has a built in motor driver. This isn’t the end of the world, but it also isn’t ideal if you are looking for the fastest focusing system on the planet. That said if you are looking for fast focus and you’ve landed on Sony, you might need to reset your compass and start again.

Is a body-driven focus system like this as fast as an internal motor? No. Does Minolta glass focus faster and more accurately than adapted Canon glass? Absolutely. I would argue that Minolta glass with a Sony LE-EA4 focuses just about as fast as my native Sony 24-70mm f4 lens on the a7s II body.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (2 of 3)

As for the Minolta 85mm f1.4, it’s an oldy but a goody. Here are a few sample DNG images you can donwload. Bokeh is nice and smooth, there isn’t much light fall off in the corners and center sharpness is great. On the downside, the focus ring is that tiny little thing in the middle so if you want to use it for manual focus you’ll need tiny fingers. Build quality of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 is mostly plastic with a metal mount and metal focus ring, the quality of materials is very similar to Canon 50mm f1.4.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 Test shot (1 of 1)

As you can see (Sample image of Hero above), the Minolta 85mm f1.4 wide open provides a very pleasing image. Center sharpness is great and corner sharpness is as soft as you’d expect from a lens of this age. I think the low price of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 reflects the build quality and lack of internal motor drive. Overall it is a great lens for the price, provided you plane to buy a few Minolta lenses to cover the cost of the Sony LE-EA4 adapter.

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