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

reviewer#18370 date: Oct-8-2015
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-200 RXD
Tokina AF 35-200 SD
Sigma 50-150 F2.8 EX DC HSM II
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Tamron 70-180 F2.8 VXD
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Vivitar S1 70-210 F3.5 I & II
Sony FE 70-200 F4 G OSS
Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF 80-200 F2.8 APO G
Tokina 80-200 AT-X Pro
Vivitar 85-205 F3.8
Canon EF 200 F2.8 L USM
Minolta AF 200 F2.8 APO G
price paid:22 USD (used)
positive:Size and weight
Flat focus plane at 200 mm
Hood is also useful for the 35-70 F4
negative:Poor performance at close focus
Curved focal plane at 100 mm
Pincushion distortion
Busy background bokeh
Cheap build, especially the focus mechanism
Sunken, hard plastic focus ring
Rotating + extending barrel/filter threads
comment:I've bought 4 copies of the Lite Beer Can on eBay. The bottom of one copy had some scratches and the shiny enamel is chipping/peeling in one spot. The second copy is in much nicer shape and came in the original packaging with a price sticker from 1988 for $153.00. The third copy looks much the same.

This lens was half the price of the 70-210 f/4 or 35-105 and one fourth the price of the 28-135. It was the second cheapest lens in the entire Minolta AF lineup after the 50 f/1.7.

At close focus the wide 100 mm end is longer than the 105 mm ends of the shorter, internal focus zooms. The 16-105 in particular is much wider at its 105 mm setting. However it matches up quite well with the DT telephoto zooms at their 100 mm marks.

It has noticeably pincushion distortion, though less than the 55-300 and 55-200 SAM lenses. Unfortunately, it doesn't match the center sharpness, contrast, or AF accuracy of the SAM zooms or the older 70-210 F4 or even the slightly newer 70-210 F4.5-5.6. Surprisingly, the focal plane at 200 mm is actually flatter than the 70-210 F4. Unlike the 70-210/4 the background bokeh at 200 mm is quite busy, but foreground bokeh is quite smooth. I notice some aliasing at moderate distances of fine detail.

The more worn lens noticeably wobbles at full extension. AF accuracy was poor at close distances, but at least better than the 28-105. The AF reduction gears are visible inside the mount side of the lens when the lens is zoomed out. Lens wobble, short focus throw, and general looseness of the focus mechanism makes precise focusing more challenging. At least the focus control ring remains in one location on the lens instead of extending out with the barrel as on the 70-210 f/4, and it doesn't have slop like the DT 16-105.

This is obviously not a lens designed for close focus. Closer to infinity it works pretty well. Background bokeh is quite harsh. It is a nice size and weight to carry around, and the zoom mechanism is nicely weighted and smooth.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 129
  • sharpness: 4.37
  • color: 4.71
  • build: 4.57
  • distortion: 4.44
  • flare control: 4.04
  • overall: 4.43
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