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

reviewer#45661 date: Mar-11-2021
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-55 dt SAM II
Sony 18-250mm dt
Sony 55-200 dt SAM II
Sony 55-300mm dt SAM
Sony 30, 35, 50m and 85mm SAM primes
Minolta 18-70mm
Minolta 24-50mm f4
Minolta 24-105mm
Minolta 28-80 (several)
Minolta 28-100mm (several)
Minolta 35-70 f4
Minolta 35-70mm f3.5-4.5
Minolta 35-105mm
Minolta 50mm f1.7 (orig. and RS)
Minolta 50mm f2.8 macro
Minolta 70-210mm f4 Beercan
Minolta 70-210mm f4.5-5.6
Minolta 70-210mm f3.5-4.5
Minolta 75-300mm f4-5.6
Minolta 100-200mm f4.5
Minolta 100-300mm
Minolta 100-300mm APO
Minolta 500mm f8 Reflex
Sigma 28-105mm f2.8-4 and a few other Sigmas
Tamron 90mm f2.8 Di LD macro
Several other AF and lots of MF lenses, and now a few E-mount too.
price paid:£40?
positive:Solid build, lovely appearance, one of the early Minolta designs.
Sharp wide open
negative:MFD is just too long for most of my uses
Not f2.8, not f3.5, not even f4.
Can't understand why Minolta insisted on a 49mm filter thread for so many lenses when 52mm or 55mm would have improved the corners.
comment:The Minolta 100-200mm f4.5 is one of those lenses that leaves me conflicted. It's a very good example of the beautiful early Minolta designs that were solidly built, attractively styled, and great to hold. It's the kind of lens you pick up and want to play with, to stick it on your camera and take it for a spin.
And when you do, it still feels right. It's constant aperture like all the best zooms, though a disappointing f4.5 instead of f2.8 or f4, but on the other hand it's a useful size, being much shorter than the original beercans and more toward the size of the lovely 135mm f2.8. It gives a clear image, very sharp wide open, and with lovely Minolta colours and smooth rear bokeh. But it has its downsides too.

I picked it up cheaply some time on my travels with the A58, and though I liked it a lot, it stayed in the cupboard because on APS-C the Sony 55-200 was always the more sensible choice - valuably wider zoom range, much closer MFD and useful magnification for nature pics. Also shorter and faster (f4) to 100mm. When I wanted a good long-ish prime the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro did the job, or the dinky little 85mm f2.8. And when I did relent and take out a Minolta tele zoom, it was usually one of the 70-210mm or 100-300mms.

On the A7Rii the lens makes a lot more sense, and on the right subjects it is an excellent lens to have, but the range of subjects are so few because the MFD is just too long. Weddings? MFD and not wide enough. Portraits? MFD again and it's too slow. Honestly? An f2.8 prime in the 90-100-135mm range is so much more useful most of the time, which is a pity because it's a nice lens.

Looks great in the cupboard, though, and when I take it out to play with it.

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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