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

reviewer#44212 date: Jan-22-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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 own this lens
compared to:Contax 70-200 f/4
Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS
Tamron FE 28-75 Di III RXD
Sony FE 28 f/2
Sony FE 35 f/2
Minolta AF 17-35D f/2.8-4
price paid:USD 20 used
positive:After buying the A7iii, the first I tried in the 70-200 range was the Contax 70-200 f/4. Manual focus at 200mm was a pain. I also did not want to carry around something that heavy. So I tried the APS-C Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS, small and easy to carry, but images were soft even at f/8. So I decided to try the Minolta.

I have been using the Minolta on an A7iii with LA-EA4. At first I thought my copy was soft, but after calibrating the LA-EA4 images were consistently sharp. At 200mm and f/4.5, the images have a "glow" and contrast is lower, but stop down to f/5.6 and the frame is evenly sharp. Sharper than the Contax 70-200 and Sony E 55-210.

I wouldn't say that the Minolta AF 100-200 is as sharp as the modern FE Tamron and Sony FE primes, but images are sharp to my taste and colors are just as wonderful. Plus it's small enough to always have room in the bag. For the life of me, I don't understand why Sony can't make a small full frame zoom in this range.
negative:Using this with the LA-EA4, I have to focus/recompose. But this is a deliberate limitation baked by Sony into the LA-EA4 so as not to cannibalize sales of E/FE lenses. Still, beats manual focus any day.
comment:I paid USD 20 for this lens after some haggling (make an offer in eBay). Both the Contax and Sony go for around USD 200 used. I would pay more than that for this Minolta.

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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