Minolta AF 400mm F4.5 HS APO G A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 37    1 2 >>
reviewer#11912 date: Jul-19-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:Minolta 300/4
Minolta 200/2.8
Sony 70-400G original
price paid:2400 USD used
positive:Very good wide open
Light and cheap for what it offers
Focus limiter allows for fast focus
Lovely old-fashioned mechanical feel - a lens with soul
Produces photos with a certain look
Very effective focus limiter system
negative:A bit slow to go through the full focal range (use the limiter if you can)
Produces photos with a certain look (can be a negative too if that's not what you want)
Rather noisy focusing - but that is a charm too - it isn't a loud noise and I like it.
Obviously the coatings are state of the art for when it was made.

comment:Being able to use this lens is a wonderful bonus for Sony users. No system can offer 400mm at this quality at this price, with the option to add a TC and shoot at f/4.5. If you are coming from that system, this will replace a Canon 400/5.6 nicely, with bells on. It produces soft looking shots, but is a sharp lens... a bit if a contradiction and also it's charm. Work it out if you can, or just enjoy shooting. Not sure how it would go on 36MP but users seem happy, Anyway, the optics are great and any weaknesses are simply because this was designed more for the age of film, when it must have been a truly awesome lens. Up to 24MP it is still just about holding it's own and there is simply nothing else like it.
reviewer#11837 date: May-20-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Minolta 200mm 2.8
Minolta 300mm 4.0
Sony 70-300 G
price paid:2400 USD
positive:1. For a 400mm prime lens, the weight is reasonable and does not limit hand holding for BIF.
2. Sharpness is superb wide open
3. Autofocus is good
4. Overall quality vs cost is very good (used market, good-excellent sample)
negative:Drop in filters expensive and hard to find, but fortunately not required for wildlife and bird photography.
comment:The copy that I purchased is in excellent condition, virtually mint. I have had great results with this lens in shooting shore birds in flight. Learning good hand-holding technique was an important step for me to get the most out of the 400/4.5. Yes, it is more comfortable on a tripod/gimbal for standing birds, other wildlife, but for BIF, the total freedom of movement handholding is hard to beat. I found the AF fast enough to get plenty of "keepers", even using a 1.4x teleconverter shooting at f=6.3 in early morning light.

I am very happy with this lens for nature/bird/wildlife photography. I recommend it highly for this purpose.
reviewer#11836 date: May-20-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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:SAL300F28G2
price paid:£1,300
positive:Mega sharp, wide open.
Light.
Low price, second hand.
Works well with 1.4 converter.
negative:Colour not up to modern lenses.
Build, also old fashioned
comment:I would always recommend the lens is calibrated to the camera.
There are times when I think this is sharper than my 300mm prime.
Because of modern coatings,this lens ( made for roll film )is left behind.
I easy capture kingfishers in flight, and they are very sharp, so focus not too slow for me.
Compared with the Canon 400mm F4, In my opinion, Its sharper, lighter and cheaper.But the Canon focuses faster.
Sony need an A mount prime 400mm, But it would be about £7,000, and beyond some peoples budget.
reviewer#11599 date: Jan-11-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Minolta 35mm f2
Minolta 85mm F1.4 GD
Minolta 100mm f2.8 Macro RS
Sony ZA 135mm f1.8 Sonnar T
Minolta 200mm f2.8 HS
Sony 300mm f2.8 SSM
Sony 70-400 F4-5.6
price paid:2675.00 mint
positive:Sharp, Color, Build
2x faster focusing speed than the Sony 70-400 f4-5.6
negative:None
comment:Well Minolta really built a gem here, its razor sharp across the frame and not to big, I have good success hand held as long as I keep the shutter speed at 1/500 and up, but I use a monopod with a tilt head most of the time and would highly recommend getting one when using this lens! at sunrise and sunset or when using a 1.4 teleconverter I try too use a tripod the quality is just amazing. If you like wildlife shots or if you need some reach for outdoor portraits or at the beach this is the lens to have . (better than the Sony 70-400 f4 as good as the Minolta 200 f2.8 and Sony 300 f2.8)
reviewer#11233 date: Jul-2-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:70-300G Sony
200-400 Tamron
200 2.8 Minolta
price paid:2900 USD (used)
positive:incredibly sharp,
hand holdable (short periods),
great colours
negative:nearly impossible to find filters,not ssm
comment:Crazy sharp lens if you nail the focus (thin DOF). Sharp wide open and amazing at f5.6. Sharpness equal to or better than the Minolta 200 2.8 and way better than the Sony 70-300G.Focus limiter very useful. Auto focus is pretty quick and accurate considering it's not SSM. Able to be used hand held but would recommend using a monopod.My only beef is the filter size. No one other than Minolta has ever made 42mm filters. If you can find filters for it on EBay you will have to pay an outrageous price.
reviewer#10242 date: May-27-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:500 F8
price paid:
missing
positive:Really sharp!!
Hand holdable
Fast AF
negative:No SSM...
comment:You really need to nail the focus, but when you do so, it's REALLY sharp starting from F4.5! I'm using this lens for over a year now and generally shoot wildlife with it.
Recently, I got tired waiting for some kingfishers ever to appear, therefore I started shooting dragonflies with this lens. You would be amazed how sharp this lens is at MFD and F4.5! I shoot raw and only apply the same sharpening I apply to all my photos. I was amazed with its sharpness wide open!

It's a quick focussing lens in good light, it's handholdable and affordable.

It's quite a dilemma to choose between this lens and the 70-400...This lens is 2/3 stops faster, sharper but does not have the MFD of the 70-400, no SSM (focusses less precise...) and is heavier.
The 70-400 is more versatile, but this prime has some amazing optics!
reviewer#9974 date: Feb-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Minolta 600mm F4
Sony 70-400mm
price paid:
missing
positive:Excellent sharpness, beautiful colour and very fast when used without lens extenders.
negative:The one minor complaint is how easily the paint gets marred, so I put a lenscoat cover on my copy before I took it into the field. PS the scuffs and marks are easy to remove and cleanup.
comment:The Minolta F4.5 auto focuses with the Sony A900 and Sony A77 at moderate speed and excellent image quality with Minolta Lens Extender 1.4X Type II. It also auto focuses with the Sony A900 and Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 2X with good image quality. The Sony a77 will auto focus with the Minolta 400mm F4.5 and Kenko 2X teleconverter but only under ideal conditions of bright light and good contrast. The usefullness of this AF combination would thus be limited to exceptional circumstances.

This is my second copy of this lens and I purchased it in near mint condition. I compared the Minolta 400mm F4.5 with the Sony 70-400mm in considerable detail(many cropped and enlarged images). The Minolta is sharper and interestingly the Minolta is a longer focal length. Either the Sony 70-400mm is not 400mm at the long end as advertised or the Minolta 400mm F4.5 is closer to 425-450mm. This lens in excellent to mint condition will appreciate considerably once the $14K Sony 500mm F4 hits the street in numbers. It is one of the best if not the very best prime lens that Minolta made.
reviewer#9936 date: Feb-15-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sony 500mm Reflex
Sony 70-400g
Tamron 70-200/2.8
price paid:1900€
positive:tack sharp
fast AF
good build
negative:loud AF
comment:Having owned a 500 Reflex for almost 2 years, I wanted to try another lens. I took some great pictures with the 500, but the performance at min. focus distance (4to5m) was not so good. Because I sometimes use a camouflagetent, I can get really close to the birds. So I found a Minolta 400/4.5 in good condition, and gave it a try.
And the lens performs outstanding. In the range of 4to5m it is quite a bit sharper. Even at longer distances (and upscaling to match the 500), it has better IQ.
So, it's an easy choice. This is my main wildlife lens from now on.
The Reflex I shot always out of hand. This one, you better use a swinghead for the best results. I bought a Jobu Jr-3 swinghead, which is designed for lenses smaller than a 500/F4. And it is a perfect match.
It has a sexy white color, and together with the lenscoat it looks like a real wildlife lens.
Af is very fast, together with the A77 it is just fantastic.
I also had the 70-400g for a while, and it comes really close to the Minolta in terms of sharpness. Minolta is still a little better, produces cleaner images and AF is faster. But somehow I don't like a zoom lens for wildlife. So I sold it.
F5.6 seems to be the sharpest, but F4.5 is still very good. So if you need to open it up, you should not worry. But because I need the dof, I am mostly between F5.6-F8.0.
Conclusion, if you don't have the money for a Minolta 600/4 or the new Sony 500/F4, this is the next best thing you can get.

For pictures with this lens and A77, take a look here
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3480416386/albums
reviewer#9876 date: Feb-2-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sigma 12-300mm 2.8
Nikon 300mm 2.8
Nikon 500mm f4
Canon 400mm DO IS
Sony 70-400mm
Sony 500mm F8
price paid:2850
positive:Sharp wide open
Versatile focus limiter
Weight
Fast focus
Prime
negative:None yet
comment: I recently picked up a Sony a77 and wanted some good glass for it. I picked up the 70-300mm SSM but not enough reach for my purposes. The next step was the Sony 70-400mm and while it is the best in this zoom class vs the Nikon and Canon versions I am not a fan of this type of lens due to the amount of extension required to get to 400mm. I shoot wildlife so always need more reach so can live without the shorter focal length zoom.
While I have only owned the Minolta for a few weeks I am extremely happy with it. The weight is reasonable for a lens of this range and speed. For sure it is a very solidly built lens. The only other option for me was a Sony 300mm 2.8 with a 1.4x but it weighs more and costs more.
The AF is very accurate and quick on the a77. The focus limiter is actually more versatile than any others I have used because you can limit from the minimum focus distance to less than infinity as well as from minimum distance to infinity.Of course beyond mfd to infinity is also adjustable.
I did not find the motor to be very noisy and based on other reviews I was expecting it to be louder.
I may have paid a little more but the one I bought was actually new in the box.
I have not yet decided it I will try a 1.4x because of the cropping leeway of the a77.
If you like primes and have the opportunity to purchase one of these gems you won't regret it.
reviewer#8435 date: Dec-21-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, Sony 70-200mm f2.8, Sony 70-400mm f4.5, Sigma 300mm f2.8, Sigma 500mm f4.5.
price paid:2200 USD (used)
positive:The best lens I have, as of 2010-12-21.
AF, Sharpness, Color, Build, Distortion, & Flare are fantastic!!
negative:Heavy, but not really, considering all the lens out there.
comment:
missing
reviewer#8167 date: Nov-2-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sony 70200 F2.8G
price paid:2750 USD (Used)
positive:SuperSharp
focusing AF / MF accurate
Manual focus hold buttons
Quality glass
Manual focus shield
Large Metal Hood
Padded Metal carry case
negative:Can become a bit weighty after sometime, recommend tripod / monopod
Drop in filters can be hard to find
Could do with another focus hold button on underside of lens for easier focus hold
comment:When I purchased this lens no drop in filters came with it, due to the rarity of these filters, I purchased an adaptor ring to suit the set of Lee filters I have.

Manual focus by minor rotation of the focus ring is required to alter the focus

Apeture lock is really not required, unless you require constant apeture and wish to prevent accidental change, this is a feature probably rarely used.

Focus hold in AF 2 buttons located at 90° on top of the lens

Highly recommend this lens. Also recommend storing with silicagel packs in the case.
reviewer#7931 date: Sep-3-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 500mm F8 Reflex
price paid:2000 CAD
positive:Lightweight (For the focal length and F Stop)
Relatively easy to handhold
Sharp wide open
Focus Limiter
negative:Focusing speed (Extremely fast on my Minolta 7, slow [bearable] on my a700 and KM 7D)
comment:This is one of the few affordable lightweight super telephoto lens on the market. Most other companies opt to build a fast 400mm F2.8 or F4 which end up being quite heavy or expensive, or a slow 400mm F5.6 that is quite lighter.

The Minolta 400mm F4.5 is the perfect compromise, being the same weight but 1/3 of the cost of Canon's 400mm F4 DO IS lens, and 1/2 the weight of the 400mm F2.8 L lens. Minolta decided to make the 400mm F4.5 1/3 of a stop slower then Canon's lightweight 400mm F4 DO IS lens in order to lower the cost to make it more assessable to the public.

The lens is very sharp wide open, the build quality is very high on this lens like every other G lens. The optics here are top notch, having great control over flare and distortion, while providing a sharp contrasty photo.

My main issue with the lens mainly has to do with the AF motors on the Sony Alpha line (And KM 7D). On my old Minolta 7 the AF speed is phenomenal, while when its mounted on and DSLR I own (and tried in stores) the AF speed is NOTICEABLY slower, taking twice as long to travel through the focus range. Though its not really a negative on the lens but a negative on the body its an issue that bothers me. Though it is bearable and still plenty fast when the focus limiter is used.
reviewer#7008 date: Mar-5-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Min 200 2.8 G HS
Sigma 100 300 F4 EX DG macro
price paid:1990 € ebay
positive:Sharp at open aperture
High performance at full frame
High build quality
negative:This quality level has its weight
comment:This is the translation of the Min 200 2.8 G into a 400 mm lens
The lens is sharp at full aperture on the FF sensor of my A900. If you take a picture (using the A900) of a object from 10 m distance you will see approx. the same detail as if you would inspect the object from 20 cm distance with the naked eye. My version requires a micro focus adjustment of +5. For birding I use it most time with the Sony 1.4 TC giving a 560mm F6.3 with good focusing performance. Using the 1.5 crop mode of the A900 I have an effective focal length of 840mm. I was very surprised that it's possible to use this combo handhold. The bokeh is very nice even with the Sony 1.4 TC. When I bought this lens I did not expect to purchase an optic of such high performance.
reviewer#6244 date: Oct-19-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:200 f/2.8
500 f/8
price paid:2900 USD
positive:Sharpness
Color
AF-Response
negative:None
comment:I would like to kick my ass for selling this one. A beauty in its own, great to handle, sharp, very pleasing colours, wonderful. If I'll have funds again, I'll buy that one again, as it's amazing, what Minoltas Engineers put there together...
No negatives, none at all (if you worry on the price, go for the rule, that you cannot afford if you have to ask for the proce...)
reviewer#5627 date: Jul-2-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sigma 400 f4,5
Minolta AF80 200 f2,8G +1,4T KENKO
price paid:e bay germany 2200€
positive:sharpness
low weight can be used without tripod
boked
negative:noise AF
comment:Perfect lens for wildlife,boked scenery
Speed AF perhaps is the limit ,you must adjust the mechanical limit screw,after it is acceptable
The low weight premits the u
sing in a lot of situations
The best of my MINOLTA Lenses.
reviewer#5291 date: Apr-25-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:KM 100-400mm
sony 70-400mm
sigma 70-200 f2.8
price paid:1800 euros (used)
positive:Super Sharp!!
Bokeh
AF very accurate and fast
Image quality amazing
negative:price
comment:I just got this lens and am very pleased.
This lens produce very, very sharp pictures. Even with 1.4x converter
Can be handheld, but is a bit heavy. Mono/Tripod is recommended
reviewer#4725 date: Jan-22-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 used to own this lens
compared to:70-200G SSM
4/70-210
price paid:
missing
positive:Super Sharp
Compact 400mm, but not slow
Light weight for high quality 400mm
negative:Very touchy Manual focus,
Bad hood design
Oddball filter sizes
Doesn't have real Lens Cap
comment:This is a dream lens, but one with quirks.

Optically, it's a stellar lens. And it still works great with teleconvertors. I have both the 1.4x and 2.0x TC. With the 1.4x AF is maintained and the lens gets the job done. The 2.0x is manual focus only, optically this is fine, but usability, not so good.

The size and weight of this lens for its speed and focal length is a great compromise. But it's still big lens. Mainly due to the hood. I really don't like the design, its similar to trying to install a christmas tree in it's stand for those who have done that. You have to get the right peg, pull it back, get the 2 other fixed pegs into the right groove on the lens, than push the first peg back in and tighten. It's rather annoying and not the easiest thing to do in a hurry. Instead of a real lens cap, it has a boot that fits over the hood, which makes for something that is hard to carry as you can't just put it in your pocket.

It has drop in rear filters, which is good since they are small, but they are not a standard size. The design works, just wish they were a more common size.

Manual focus is tricky no matter what. If you are use to focusing a 50mm prime, or your macro lens, this is not the same. The focus ring is very light, and the slighted touch will go out of focus. With the 2x TC you have to manual focus, which makes it hard to use for anything buy on a tripod shooting a fixed object. Of course you are getting 800mm of focal length, so it can be worth it. In the end, don't buy this lens to manual focus, it's just not easy to manual focus. Also just opening the sliding door and such is awkward.

This is a great lens, just use AF and stick to nothing other than the Sony-Minolta 1.4x TC and you are good to go. The quality is great. But you basically have to get ready with the lens before beginning your hike with it. Get the hood on, and leave the case, lens boot and so forth in the car and you are good to go. You can hand hold shoot this lens, as it's not that heavy. You cannot manual focus and hand hold this lens, especially if you are shooting a moving animal.

Similar to other early minolta tele lenses, it's a bit squeaky by default in operation, it's not a new SSM lens. You hear it working, and when you turn the focus ring you know you are moving parts inside.

No issues with this lens can trump the overall great package it is though. It's a great oddball.
reviewer#4534 date: Dec-12-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:
missing
price paid:2,624 USD (used)
positive:Super sharp, fast and light weight.
negative:
missing
comment:One of my most favorite lenses to use out of my telephotos. Great for sports and nature.
reviewer#4403 date: Nov-18-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:100/2
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp
color
...
in fact almost everything
negative:It is eavy (but who can make a ligther one for that focal and quality)
comment:A lens not to test

Don't test it or you will buy it ;-)
reviewer#4347 date: Nov-10-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 (also with 1.4x and 2x TC)
CZ 24-70mm
price paid:2700USD (Used)
positive:Sharp!
Bokeh
AF very accurate and fast
negative:For that price I would like it to be new...
comment:In one word - WOW!!!
I wasn't planning to buy this lens. I was looking for Minolta 300mm f/2.8 HS (I still think 300mm will more useful to me, especially with TCs), but I found this one and decided to go for it.
After few weeks of not finding time to use it properly (I don't have time to go out to nature, and shooting indoor is not a proper use of this lens...), I was already ready to sell it.
Then I had chance to go for birding. The first shot, wide open, left me amazed! That lens is great!
It is sharp wide open, amazingly sharp when closed a little, down to ~f/11 when image becomes bad (at f/16 it is not very useful).
reviewer#4189 date: Oct-9-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:70-200 SONY 2.8 SSM
price paid:2700 USD
positive:Build quality
Bokeh
Good compromise between size, weight and aperture (compared to 2.8 lenses with same focal length)
AF ring protected when using a beanbag
Image quality amazingly preserved with 1.4 teleconverter
negative:Needs a bit of colour post-processing
AF too old and noisy, hunts in low lights, even with A900.
comment:Another excellent G lens. Superb build quality. Beware of the small DOF. Easy to use handheld, but for moving objects, tripod or beanbag recommended. Colours not as faithful as 70-200 2.8 SONY. Works GREAT with alpha 900 ; better stabilization than alpha 700 and super I.Q.; I really hope that Sony will keep this original lens and produce a SSM version.
reviewer#3842 date: Jul-12-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:
missing
price paid:Ł1450 (mint)
positive:sharp, great colours, fast AF, heavy but not that heavy
negative:
missing
comment:I bought it on ebay in mint condition and although I paid alot for it, I'm very happy with my purchase and with the results I'm getting from this lens. It won't let you down. This is what a G lens is all about!
reviewer#3837 date: Jul-11-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Minolta 300mm f/4
Minolta 300mm f/2.8
price paid:2900 USD
positive:Built like a tank
2 focus hold buttons
Nice large hood
Fast and manageable weight
negative:None except for the fact that you can't find 42mm filters for the rear filter.
comment:I have been waiting to finally upgrade to this lens as well as find a mint copy. I originally had been using the 300mm f/4 and really liked it, but need more lens. I thought by getting the 300mm f/2.8 with a 2x TC, I could satisfy my need. I just didn't get the sharpness I desired from that combination and that lens combo is HEAVY. This is my second day with the 400mm and WOW!!! I absolutely love it and wish I would have just taken the hit and purchased one last year. The color and sharpness are fantastic and the AF is very good with my A700. If your hobby is nature photography, specifically birds, and you can't afford a 500mm or 600mm, get this lens. I have used it with the matched 1.4x TC and it works wonderfully and is nice and sharp.

The nice thing about this lens is it is not nearly as bulky in the field as the 300mm f/2.8 and actually not much more to handle than the 300mm f/4 IMHO. I also suggest getting a gimbal head. I use the Manfrotto 393 (Bogen #3421) and the combination is great and affordable.
reviewer#3737 date: Jun-19-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Tokina 400/5.6
price paid:$1300.00
positive:Super Sharp
Size and Weight
easy to use in field
great with Minolta 1.4 TC
4.5 aperature
negative:none
comment:I love this lens...it is my workhorse wildlife lens. I usually shoot it wide open and it is SHARP. Love the size and weight, easy to use in the field. Crop factor on a700 makes it a 560/4.5 with Super Steady Shot !!

This lens works beautifully with Minolta's 1.4 TC...minolta engineers really designed great teleconverters, I dont see image degredation !

I have shot thousands of pics each year with this lens and it never fails to astonish me how good this lens is. Rugged build and fast accurate focus on my a700. Easy to use in the field due to it's size and weight. I LOVE this lens.

I had a Tokina 400/5.6 and this Minolta 400/4.5 makes that Tokina look sick.

Another awesome Minolta G lens....superb in every way.

reviewer#3601 date: May-15-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sigma 500mm APO
price paid:2000 usd (used)
positive:Fast AF
Sharp wide open
Great colors
F4.5 aperture
negative:getting heavy after carrying for two hours
comment:If you can find one and have the budget, buy it!
This lens is amazing. It's heavy, but not too heavy to walk around with it.
The autofocus is fast (on my A700) and spot on in most cases. Sharpness is excellent, from the widest F4.5 up.
Build like a tank and in sexy white colors to make all the others jealous when you shoot next to them in a zoo... 8-)
reviewer#3158 date: Jan-9-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:80-200 HS APO G
200-500 Tamron
Min 500mm Reflex
price paid:Too Much
positive:Can Hand Hold
So Sharp Wide Open
Focus Limiter
negative:Price? Size/Weight? No - you understand all this before you buy it. No negs.
comment:What a wonderful lens! There is a learning curve to get the best from it. I have not had it on a tripod yet, and have shot about 3000 handheld images with it - all those that are not usable are my fault, not the lens. I think this is a perfect BIF, Wildlife, Sports lens as it performs with the 1.4X APO TC about as well as without, and still AF's. Very fast AF (using A700 & A100 is quite good as well). I recently bought a 2X APO TC, but have not had a chance to use it yet - will not AF, but I suspect that IQ will be pretty good. I will report back on that. I must say that if you can find one, buy it. You may have to pay dearly for it, but yes, it is absouletly money well spent.
reviewer#3008 date: Nov-30-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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:AF APO 80-200, AF APO 4/600mm and AF 100/2.8 macro
price paid:2900 Hfl in 1999
positive:Very sharp, decent opening, weigth is well manageable (compared to 2.8/300 or my 4/600mm for instance).
negative:Slow AF on most bodies (except the Dynax 9 and the A700)
comment:I have used this lens for some 8 years now and can only say I love it. My passion is bird photography and with the Minolta 7D (due to SSS) it also works well without a tripod, which greatly enhances the possibilities for mobile "birding" (rather than dragging a heavy tripod around and sit and wait for the bird to come close one can now actually dynamically roam the environment). On the 7D the AF is quite slow and in low light it exhibits unreliable AF, frequently leading to hunting. On the A700, however, it is a delight, much faster and very accurate AF. Rarily any trouble with hunting.
I have used it with both the APO 1.4 and APO 2 converters. The 1.4 converter still allows working without the tripod in reasonable lighting conditions, but for good sharpness and contrast stopping down at least 1.5 stops is required (i.e. f/9.5 or smaller). With the 2 times converter the optimal f stop for good contrast and sharpness is about f/13. Going lower and one starts to see diffraction effects. So with the 2 times converter this lens is not versatile, but still better than nothing.
reviewer#2880 date: Oct-28-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:SAL 75-300
price paid:2200 USD (Mint)
positive:Fast Focus
Good Range
Feels Sturdy
Can Be Hand-held
negative:Heavy?
comment:I just got this lens and am very pleased so far.
Much faster auto focus than on my zoom. (Especially when sunny)
Seems to hunt a bit on overcast days. The Focus limiter will probably help once I figure it out.
Excited to get 1.4 TC and try that out.
Takes great shots with my A-100.
Did I mention very pleased?
reviewer#2336 date: May-21-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:300mm f4
price paid:2500 US (used-mint)
positive:One of the best telephoto lenses i've ever used. Super sharp, very solid and joy to use.
negative:Big and heavy, but then its better that way, than the smaller plastic ones. Expensive
comment:This is by far my favorite long telephoto lens. My soul sings every time i use it and i love taking it out, mounting on the camera and snapping away.

It is breathtakingly sharp, quite fast, has great color and resolution. Many shots taken with this lens don't need any sharpening or color adjustments. This is definitely a keeper.

While it is noticeably bigger and heavier than 300mm f4, it is sharper wide open (imho). 400mm HS G APO perhaps is the best choice for safari, as it is not going to be as heavy as 600mm f4, but will be better than any other Minolta telephoto for long distance shooting. This one never stops amazing me.
reviewer#2314 date: May-14-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:300/4 & 70-200 SSM
price paid:$2400 US (used)
positive:Nothing but good things to say about this lens. Sharp wide open, lovely bokeh, fast AF...sort of. Very nice nuetral colors, but rich nonetheless
negative:The honkin hood! Dare I complain about the weight??
95mm front filter, no CPL to use with it right now
comment:SWEET piece of glass...I said glass!

So far, besides the fact that you really should use a monopod to keep this thing steady, althought I used it in bright sunlight handheld to catch some flying birds. I love the fact that I can't find any CA in the wide open shots! Just less post processing for me. :) The AF is just a notch slower than my SSM, and it was difficult to track flying pelicans, but managed to hit and miss about 50% of the time.

Very few options for a CPL, unless I buy a 95mm Heliopan for $250. I'll wait for the Sony drop in later.

Check out the sample images for a few of my pics using this treasure.

Never saw any flare with the hood on. Never pointed it into a light source yet either. :)

It has the classic minolta build...tough and durable!
reviews found: 37    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 37
  • sharpness: 4.99
  • color: 4.89
  • build: 4.92
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.95
  • overall: 4.95

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