Minolta AF Reflex 500mm F8 A-mount lens review by jvsanchez

reviewer#11519 date: Dec-3-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP12MP12 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- Tamron 70-200 (Longest lens I own other than this one)
- Tamron 70-300 USD (Longest lens i've used other than this one)
price paid:450 USD (KEH - used)
positive:- Reach
- Size
- Weight
- AF!
- No CA
- Unique bokeh
negative:- Unique bokeh
- requires special filters that are expensive to replace if lost
- Poor hood
- Requires *huge* filters
- Fixed f/8 aperture, changeable only with the NDX4 filter
- Focus ring rotates during AF
comment:This is a very unique lens that takes a bit of practice to use well. It pretty much requires a tripod, or very steady hands. Any excess motion will noticeably degrade the sharpness of the final image.

The design is unique, and it's the only reflex lens that can AF, and the only sony or minolta lens that can AF at f/8 (f/5.6 is the normal limit)

Because of the unique design, there are some tradeoffs:

- Fixed f/8 aperture, changeable to f/16 with a compatible NDX4 filter.
- Donut bokeh
- uses expensive drop in filters ($100 to replace if lost, but not required to *use* the lens on a camera)
- Only allows the use of the center AF point

But for that, you get a super compact and light 500mm lens at a very affordable price (considering the Sony 500/4 G is $13k) that's plenty sharp and completely free of CA. Every sony user should at least try this lens. Donuts (and they're not *that bad*) aside, this is the only AF reflex lens in the world, from the mind of Minolta. Snag it for a good price, and don't look back.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 81
  • sharpness: 4.31
  • color: 4.36
  • build: 4.62
  • distortion: 4.80
  • flare control: 4.33
  • overall: 4.49