Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8 on an A7R II - lens cap off

Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8 on an A7R II

We visited Antwerp in Belgium and walked by a photography store. I saw some used lenses and one especially caught my eye. A Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8 macro lens. I was a little confused about the price. The tag said 5 EUR. I went a little closer and it still said 5 EUR. Hmmm. I saw a guy taking a picture of the lens with his smartphone. When I saw his interest in the lens, I jumped into the store and asked in a rushed manner: “Excuse me, please!” to one store vendor.

Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8 - lens cap on

Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8 – lens cap on

I asked him if that was the real price of the lens and if he could please take it out of the window, because I wanted to buy it. He asked me then:”Which camera do you have?”
– “The Sony A7R II“…I knew something was coming but did I not expect that reaction.
He didn’t want to sell it to me because it wasn’t the right mount. I had to convince him that the lens could be adapted. And even if he were right. What would I have lost buying this lens for 5 EUR?
Not much, because it sells for more on eBay. He then told me that they sold the lens with that price tag because it is an old one an no one would care about those lenses anymore. I thought:”Well, if you knew…There’s a new breed of photographers out there. They call themselves Sony shooters and they do care about older lenses.”
Why? Because they can.

Hood pulled out on Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8

Hood pulled out on Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.8

The the first iteration of the lens has been made in 1967. It has an integrated lens hood and has been created for several lens mounts. You can get the adapter here. It weighs 900g (32oz). You can see more info about the lens here.

Of course it is not as sharp as modern lenses. Nor can it be compared to Sony’s latest native lenses, especially in terms of resolution. But it does a rather good job. (I found that my copy is sharpest at f16).
See for yourselves in the image samples below. All in all it’s a fun lens that cost me almost nothing, so of course, I do not regret buying it. And I am pretty happy owning a telephoto zoom lens since there are not many for the FE mount (we’re eagerly waiting for Sony to release some in the near future).

SAMPLE IMAGES

Ponte de Lima - © Yannick Ciancanelli

Ponte de Lima – © Yannick Ciancanelli

Ponte de Lima (zoomed in a little more) - © Yannick Ciancanelli

More sky – Ponte de Lima – © Yannick Ciancanelli

Sunny day

Sunny day

Macro mode - Crop of my keys - Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.5 Macro lens

Macro mode – Crop of my keys – Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.5 Macro lens

Cattenom nuclear plant from afar (30km) - © Yannick Ciancanelli - Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.5 Macro lens

Cattenom nuclear plant from afar (30km) – © Yannick Ciancanelli – Minolta Vivitar 85-205 3.5 Macro lens

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