Original and Restyled Lens Differences - Photo Jottings

Original and Restyled Lens Differences

Minolta AF 35mm F/2 new or “restyled” version and the Minolta AF 35mm F/2 original version comparison

These two lenses have identical optical designs, but there has been some upgrading to the new or “restyled” version.  The new version gets a better coating on some of the lens glass surfaces to reduce flare and ghosting.  There is a circular aperture installed in the new version instead of the old straight bladed design.  Last but not least are the wider focus ring and duller finish on the new version.
I think the same upgrades were made to the Minolta AF 20mm F/2.8, 24mm F/2.8, 28mm F/2 and the 50mm F/1.4.  Other lenses were upgraded with the new coatings, but didn’t get the circular aperture, like the 28mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.7.  There may be others that I’m not currently aware of that had some changes too.
May2010/35mmsdcmp700b.jpg
35mm F/2 restyled, and 35mm F/2 original
May2010/35mmftcmp700b.jpg
35mm F/2 restyled, and 35mm F/2 original

 

Top image: on the new version the black finish is slightly duller or egg shell.  The focus ring is wider, and the rubber grip area around the lens has a different pattern.  Also, the distance window no longer has orange numbers indicating feet, or the infra-red index dot.  Bottom image: the coating are a different color, now green for the new version, as opposed to the magenta hue of the original version.  I also see the “AF” written around the lens glass is no longer red.

 

Quick facts;  the serial numbers for the original and new versions are not sequential, because my copy of the original version starts with 372046, the new version starts with 348020.  The original version dates from about 1987, the new version from about 1999 according to Michael Hohner’s site.  Also, contrary to popular belief, coma is unchanged as compared to the old version.

 

Aperture shape
Minolta AF 35mm at F/2.8 restyled
Minolta AF 35mm at F/2.8 original
May2010/35mmrsap1.jpg
May2010/35mmoldap2.jpg

 

The aperture shape is clearly circular in the new version, and is most apparent at f/2.8-4.

 

Center crops directly below.

 

Minolta AF 35mm F/2 restyled                                      Minolta AF 35mm F/2 original

          F/2
          F/2
May2010/rs35nf20ctr.jpg
May2010/35f20ctr3.jpg
          F/2.8
          F/2.8
May2010/rs35nf28ctr.jpg
May2010/35f28ctr3.jpg
          F/4
          F/4
May2010/rs35nf40ctr.jpg
May2010/35f40ctr3.jpg
          F/5.6
          F/5.6
May2010/rs35nf56ctr.jpg
May2010/35f56ctr3.jpg
          F/8
          F/8
May2010/rs35nf80ctr.jpg
May2010/35f80ctr3.jpg
          F/11
          F/11
May2010/rs35nf11ctr.jpg
May2010/35f11ctr3.jpg

 

The crops look nearly identical if you don’t factor in the shadows from the trees creeping in.

 
Now for some corner crops.

 

Minolta AF 35mm F/2 restyled                                      Minolta AF 35mm F/2 original

          F/2
          F/2
May2010/rs35nf20cn.jpg
May2010/35f20cn3.jpg
          F/2.8
          F/2.8
May2010/rs35nf28cn.jpg
May2010/35f28cn3.jpg
          F/4
          F/4
May2010/rs35nf40cn.jpg
May2010/35f40cn3.jpg
          F/5.6
          F/5.6
May2010/rs35nf56cn.jpg
May2010/35f56cn3.jpg
          F/8
          F/8
May2010/rs35nf80cn.jpg
May2010/35f80cn3.jpg
          F/11
          F/11
May2010/rs35nf11cn.jpg
May2010/35f11cn3.jpg

 

Same here for the corner shots.  I did this just to see if there were any differences.  It looks like I wasted my time, but at least I know.

 

Flare and ghosting.

 

Minolta AF 35mm at F/2 restyled
Minolta AF 35mm at F/2 original
May2010/35f2gstrs.jpg
May2010/35f2gsto.jpg
Minolta AF 35mm at F/5.6 restyled
Minolta AF 35mm at F/5.6 original
May2010/35f56gstrs.jpg
May2010/35f56gsto.jpg
Minolta AF 35mm at F/11 restyled
Minolta AF 35mm at F/11 original
May2010/35f11gstrs.jpg
May2010/35f11gsto.jpg

 

In the top row I don’t see any difference in flare or ghosting when the aperture is at F/2.  In the second row you can see a bluish blob in the original version, which gradually gets worse as you stop down, and is just noticeable at F/2.8-4.  The third row shows a couple of nasty bluish blobs at F/11 on the original version.

 

Bokeh comparisons below.

 

Minolta AF 35mm F/2 restyled                                       Minolta AF 35mm F/2 original

          F/2
          F/2
May2010/m35f20bok.jpg
May2010/mold35f20.jpg
          F/2.8
          F/2.8
May2010/m35f28.jpg
May2010/mold35f28.jpg
          F/4
          F/4
May2010/m35f40.jpg
May2010/mold35f40.jpg
          F/5.6
          F/5.6
May2010/m35f56.jpg
May2010/mold35f56.jpg

 

The bokeh differences are subtle at any aperture but F/2.8.  Obviously there isn’t any difference with the aperture wide open.  If you look closely at F/4, you can see the aperture shape in the original version, and by F/5.6 the shape is almost indistinguishable between versions.

 

Conclusion.

 

Do you really need to update to the newer version?  Here’s the short answer; if you shoot at small apertures with the sun in the shot, or with very bright lighting, light halogen or spot type lighting etc, then maybe the extra ghosting control of the new version may be worth it.  Do you shoot in low light at F/2, or use mainly large apertures?  The only differences between the two at large apertures is the bokeh, and F/2.8-4 are really the only apertures where you’ll notice the differences in blur shape when looking closely, and there isn’t much, if any difference in flare or ghosting control at large apertures.

 

If you use the lens stopped down without the sun or really bright lights in your image, there is no practical advantage in upgrading to the new or “restyled” version.

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