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

reviewer#29630 date: Jul-17-2016
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 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:Tokina 100-300 f5 m42 (CA is horrible)
Tamron 70-300 KAF LD (CA and sharpness at long end unusable).
TAIR Photosniper 300 f4.5 MC. (Actually at f5.6 better than any other lens I tried) CA no problem at F5.6 and bokeh very nice.
Pentax SMC 135 f3.5 (nice compact, but more CA than the APO). Sharpness at f8 about the same.
Minolta 28-135 f4-f4.5. Lovely lens, but half a stop light transmission lost into a black hole. Same f stop has 1.5x faster shutter speed on the APO or any other lens.
Beercan 70-210 f4. love the built. Similar to 28-135.Sold it :(
Beercan 100-200 f4.5 (Sold it:(, but I am going to buy this one back. Works better at open aperture than classic beer can and the APO, and less CA than classic beercan).
price paid:120
positive:CA control in high contrast situations. It is not perfect, but miles ahead of my beercans (70-210, 100-200, 28-135) and various primes (pentax smc 135 f3.5, canon fd 85 f1.2L and some native E-mount lenses (when lens correction for CA is switched off!)
Important: this lens really needs to be stopped down at least half a stop! At 300mm use f6.3 and the result improve a lot.
Weight and size. So minuscule, there is no excuse not to have this lens with you.
negative:Needs to stop down at least 0.5 a stop for real improvement.
Auto-focus quite slow. (Compared to for instance the Minolta 28-135 which only has to move the rear element).
comment:It is amazing how much stopping down half a stop (from f5.6 to f6.3) makes a difference! Centre sharpness is almost maximum and corners are really lifted. The beercan 100-200 is probably the best for open aperture picture taking (f4.5) better than the APO or the classic beercan 70-210. But at f6.3, the APO beats them all in my opinion. And the high contrast CA control is miles better. However, I prefer the built and feel of the beer cans and want to purchase the 100-200 again. (Only cost 70 euros secondhand). I love the 28-135 and use both with the LA-EA4 adopter for when I need fast auto-focus. (Plenty of manual focus jewels in my collection).
NOTE: This lens has a back-focus issue on my camera (like the other Minolta lenses I have !) I need to dial in -3 micro AF adjustment on the LA-EA4 adapter. Initially the pictures wide open looked a bit soft until I started comparing manual focus and autofocus pictures on some small font writing. I adjusted the correction until the result of Manual focus and autofocus were about the same. Still, I recommend stopping down at least half a stop if you are going to pixel peep :)
Compared to Minolta 28-135 at f6.3, the results are very similar between 100-135). Obviously the "secret handshake" can go down to f4.5 (which is actually f5 in terms of light transmission), Both lenses can do with stopping down half a stop.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 69
  • sharpness: 4.20
  • color: 4.58
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 4.51
  • flare control: 4.26
  • overall: 4.31
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