Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 – vintage manual lens test and review

  • Official classification: New-MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD III

This lens is much more powerful than it seems at first glance. One of the most underrated wide-angle babies which were designed and produced by Minolta.

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 + X700

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 (MD III, New-MD) specifications

minolta.eazypix.de index 62
Name engraved on the lens MD
f[mm] 28
A max [1/f] 3.5
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 5
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.3/1
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×40
Weight[g] 170
Year 1981
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 591-810
Floating elements NO (full support by autofocused adapters)
Aperture blades number 6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies 100%
Reviewed lens SN: 8010626

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 exterior

Lens wasn’t in good condition when I got it. It was cleaned and lubricated but signs of use still presented. Anyway, it works fine and even more – see the resolution tests, it looks like a hidden hero among other Minolta’s 28mm. Later I purchased another one in “like new” condition, but both lenses show the same results.

Another copy in better condition – mounted on Minolta X-700

This is a very suitable set – the camera and lens have the same design

Minolta MD 28mm 1:2.0 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance:10% longer than minimal focus distance marked on the lens
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions)

Test results (full version – all 9 positions)

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 aberrations


Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.3m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (0.5m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance + 10% of scale, diodes were fixed in 2m distance

Minolta MD 28mm 1:3.5 (or Minolta MD 28mm F/3.5, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

This is the cheapest 28mm lens, or maybe even the cheapest lens by Minolta. But it works much better than faster 2.8 sisters. Even more – it can compete with rare and expensive Minolta MD III 28mm 1:2.0 – from F3.5 (!). No doubts – it is a real gem even from the modern point of view and it works fine with all these over-megapixeled cameras. Small, lightweight, durable, cheap, with small aberrations and great IQ. Grab it.


Rafa · 2018-11-05 at 10:32

Do you know if there are optical differences between the MD(II) and the MD(III) version of this lens? MD(II) lenses have better build quality for what I’ve seen.

    Tony · 2018-11-05 at 11:44

    This is quite old optical design, I think that differences are mostly in the coating, so lenses are the same at least or MDIII is better. And about build quality – I agree that MC I/II is built like a rock, but I don’t see advantages of MDII against MDIII, need to disassemble one for confidence

      Rafa · 2018-12-02 at 14:43

      Tony, I’m aware, it’s just that this review didn’t state as clearly as this one that the 28 f3.5 is superior to the f2.8:

      \link removed by admin, just one site aren’t welcome in links on LensQAWorks\

      I already had the 28 f2.8 MD(II), but I was willing to try the 28 f3.5 in case it had less flare issues on the A7mk1; it wasn’t the case. Both lenses are severely affected sometimes by having the sun at around a 75 degree angle from the lens even with the original hoods attached. Maybe the 28 f3.5 is more resistant. It is not an adapter problem, but I don’t rule out that it’s just the camera sensor. The 28 f3.5 has an advantage though. The hood is clipped outside the filter thread.

      Regarding build quality, they changed the material of the focusing threads if I remember correctly. The MD(III) series focus rings feel often cheaper. There is a metal friction sound. It happens at least on my 24-35, 35-70 (feels cheap, but no sound), 28 f3.5,, 50 f2 and 50 f1.2. My MD(III) 135 f2 doesn’t have that feeling though.

        Tony · 2018-12-02 at 15:12

        Thanks, it is interesting. Just want to say that the results from this review have been verified with two different copies of New MD 28mm F3.5, and compared with two different copies of New MD 28mm F2.8 5×5. So, the question about advantages of New MD 28mm F3.5 is closed for me. But of course, there many other articles in internet, mostly very accurate and correct, but some of that drove me to makes my own reviews – for to find a truth

    J.C. · 2023-12-27 at 12:44

    All MD or MD Rokkors 35mmf2.8 have the more modern 5/5 lens design.
    But : the MC Rokkors always have the older 7 elements design !

      Tony · 2023-12-27 at 13:58

      No, MC-X and MC Celtics were available with the new 5×5 lens design

Phild · 2020-11-03 at 20:07

excellent review

Mikołaj · 2021-01-11 at 23:40

Just wanted to say I absolutely adore your site and the work you put in. Thanks to your reviews I recently purchased the New MD 28/3.5 and 50/2.0 for my SRT100b. Greetings from Poland

    Tony · 2021-01-12 at 18:22

    You are welcome and thank you a lot for your support! Enjoy these lenses – both are really fine

Kevin Arscott · 2021-04-21 at 19:34

Thanks for all of the work you put in reviewing lenses. I’ve got the MD 35-70 macro and it is great and based on your review I have just ordered a 28mm f3.5 as well to use with my A7rii.

    Tony · 2021-04-21 at 20:27

    You are welcome, I’m happy to help

Pierre · 2023-01-12 at 17:19

I find an Minolta MD W.Rokkor 28mm 1:3.5 49mm… is it the same ?

    Tony · 2023-01-12 at 20:05

    Optically – yes, the same, or very close at least, the only difference is in the bodies

      Pierre · 2023-01-12 at 20:23

      Merci ! I buy it immediately 🙂

Rolando Perrin · 2023-05-30 at 15:01

The Minolta MD W.Rokkor 28mm 1:3.5 49mm is very good, have one,very sharp

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