Minolta AF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 APO A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#18364 date: Oct-1-2015
sharpness: 3
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.6
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Tamron 18-250
Sony DT 55-300 SAM
Sony 70-300 G SSM II
Tamron SP 70-300 USD
Sony 70-400 G SSM
Minolta AF 75-300 "Big Beercan"
Minolta AF 75-300 D
Sony 75-300
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 100-300 APO
Minolta AF 100-300 APO D
Minolta AF 100-400 APO
Sigma 150-500 EX DG APO OS HSM
price paid:79 USD (used)
positive:Small fully retracted
Fast AF
55 mm filter diameter
Slightly better lateral CA control
No purple fringing
Flatter focal plane than 100-200 F4.5
negative:Low contrast
Zoom creep
100 mm
Bokeh rather busy
comment:I purchased two of these from eBay a year apart both from Japan. The first for $125 included the original clip-on hood and caps and a Minolta carrying case. The second copy didn't include the case or original back cap, but seems to be in better condition. This copy also performs identically to the newer D version.

The 100-300 APO was $550 when first released. About the same price the original Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6 when it was released in 1986. The street price seemed to have dropped pretty quickly down to $330 within a couple of years. There is one picture of a 100-300 APO with a smooth focus ring.

The aperture has 9 blades like the original 75-300 and unlike the later 75-300 lenses. Unlike the original 75-300 and like the 24-85, 28-105, and 75-300 D the blades are more curved and keep a more circular shape stopped down.

It is smaller and lighter than the DT 55-300 SAM. The zoom action on the second copy is very nice with very little zoom creep even when hanging straight down. The newer 100-300 APO D had a stiffer zoom action that didn't operate as well, but also didn't creep at all. I used a wide rubber band on the zoom ring to control the zoom creep on the first copy.

This lens operates just like the DT zooms and cheap Minolta kit zooms. The lens extends but does not rotate while zooming. The front element extends and rotates while focusing.

This lens just doesn't render fine details wide-open. Both the Minolta AF 70-210 F4.5-5.6 and 100-200 F4.5 have more center sharpness. The original 1985 Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6 blows it away, not to mention the DT 55-300 F4.5-5.6. Even at f/8 all the other lenses are sharper, but the difference is reduced. APS-C corner performance is very similar to the 55-300 and not as good as the original 75-300.

CA control is decent, but not perfect. The lateral fringing is indigo/yellow instead of magenta/cyan. The lens doesn't show much purple fringing unlike the older/cheaper Minolta lenses.

I often find the 100 mm minimum focal length limiting on my APS-C camera. The softness wide open makes it a rather poor choice for the movie and fast burst AF modes on SLTs. The compact size and light weight is nice. This lens should be a nice companion to the 24-85, 24-105, and 28-105 normal zooms.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 70
  • sharpness: 4.19
  • color: 4.59
  • build: 4.01
  • distortion: 4.51
  • flare control: 4.26
  • overall: 4.31
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