Minolta AF 100-200mm F4.5 A-mount lens review by KirkB

reviewer#11944 date: Aug-11-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:18-55 SAM, 18-70 Sony kit, Sony 55-200 SAM, Minolta 50mm f1.7RS, Minolta 28mm f2.8, Minolta 75-300mm II, Minolta 35-105 Macro original, Tokina AF 210II 70-210, Sigma 70-210 UC II.
price paid:$60 U.S.
positive:Sharpness, color (!), NO fringing, build, size and weight.
negative:MFD is long.
comment:When Minolta released this lens, they described it as a low-cost alternative to the beercan-NOT for portraiture, but for those needing a dedicated telephoto lens for the range of 100-200mm. That's why the MFD is allowed to be long. The designers let go of the need to be close and concentrated on other qualities of the lens strictly for bringing stuff that's over there to over here. If you look at Munger's review of the lens, you'll see the direct comparison with the beercan at the end. The 100-200 is consistently sharper at equivalent stops. The little lens exhibits LESS chromatic aberration than the beercan, and the color is the same delicious Minolta color that all the '80s vintage stuff produces. The beercan has nicer bokeh, but then it's more geared to do wonderful things at that range between 70 and 100. The 55-200 is somewhat sharp (although animal fur, even shot close, doesn't resolve as nicely as it does on my Minoltas even when the animal is very still) and resists flare better than the 100-200, but the colors are cold and flat, and at about 150-175mm, it goes soft. I don't know about you, but when I buy a lens that goes to 200mm, I care MOST about how it performs AT 200mm. This lens outperforms everything else I've had at 200, with the 75-300 II running a close second at 200. Of course, at about 275, it starts to go a little flat in color and ever-so-slightly soft. I don't care about the MFD of the 100-200 being long, after all, I love my 35-105 macro Minolta also, and its MFD is just as lengthy. If I want to get all that close, then they're both the wrong lenses anyway. There's a lot of hype and mythology surrounding some old Minolta glass, some of it deserved (although the "secret handshake" fable is just plain silly). The beercan is a very good lens, but if your needs are simply for telephoto and you've got something else for portraits (like a 50 on APS-C), the 100-200 is as much bang for the buck as you'll find. The 49mm filter size is the same as the 50 and the 28, so I'm all set there. Mine came without a hood, so a collapsible rubber hood works great. Mine suffers from a little bit of lens creep, but it's never been a problem in use. Some of my favorite shots have come from this lens, on film and on digital. I think the 55-200 SAM will go with my present camera as a bundle when next I upgrade, but for the price and the image quality, the 100-200 will probably never be sold, since it's so small, light, and easy to haul-and sharp. Let's face it, we're not talking about G-type pro glass here, and for A-mount cameras, there are not a lot of lenses that will give you sharp images at 200mm and afford you f4.5 in the process.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 128
  • sharpness: 4.37
  • color: 4.70
  • build: 4.58
  • distortion: 4.44
  • flare control: 4.04
  • overall: 4.43
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