Minolta AF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 APO A-mount lens review by awa54

reviewer#44063 date: May-20-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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:Min 100-200 4.5
Min 75-300 4.5-5.6 RS
Min 100 2.8 macro RS
Min 135 2.8
Tamron 200-400 5.6
Sigma 300 4 APO macro
price paid:$70 USD
positive:very little C/A
extremely light and compact
great zoom range
useful and easily available hood
only subtle differences in performance from short to long ends
as expected, this lens has typical Minolta color rendering
negative:doesn't have zoom "creep" so much as zoom "plunge"
I wish it was just a tiny bit sharper
might actually be *too* light
as with many tele-zooms the bokeh could be better
comment:This lens has a lot going for it, but is enough of a compromise that it leaves me wanting more...

Praising with faint damns:
It's *almost* C/A free, but not quite... extreme conditions coax a bit of fringing out of it
It is certainly acceptably sharp and has very respectable edge and corner sharpness on FF, but the 135 prime, 100 macro and 300 prime are definitely sharper at their respective focal lengths.
While construction is typical Minolta "new" or RS quality, it would certainly be a nicer lens if the barrel was a bit heavier and the zoom ring had better tension.
While I have yet to see colored blobs from intense light sources, the 100-300 APO does suffer some contrast reduction when shot into very bright scenes.

Compared to the primes, it's lighter than all but the 135 2.8, though the 135 and 100 are both shorter by a little (and quite a bit compared to its fully extended position).
The color is better than the Sigma 300 macro and the Sigma macro only focuses about a foot/30cm closer.
It has more C/A than the Sigma 300 and the 100 macro, but less by far than the 135 2.8.

Compared to the zooms, it has less C/A than either the 100-200 or 75-300 RS (especially in terms of PF, which plagues the 75-300) and compared to either one, has equal or better sharpness depending on the focal length. In terms of size it falls almost exactly between the 100-200 and the 75-300. The Tamron is much larger, heavier and has significantly worse performance on sharpness and C/A fronts, though it does have more reach...

All this said, it's hard to be serious about criticizing a twenty-five year old, sub $100 compact tele-zoom for not providing the same results as multi-thousand dollar pro zooms and primes.

Despite it being frustratingly on the cusp of greatness, it's still a well above average performer and a keeper for me, as my go-to walk-around long tele.

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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