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

reviewer#9118 date: Jun-10-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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:Minolta 75-300 New
Sony 55-200
Sigma 18-200
Sony 70-300 G SSM
price paid:190 EUR (used)
positive:Light for the focal range
Almost no CA
Sharp - see below compared to 70-300 G SSM
Focus hold button
Outstanding price/performance ratio
negative:Focus can hunt
Some zoom creep
Bokeh can be a bit nervous, although mostly OK
Starts at 100mm, but this allows it to be small and light
comment:Compared to Minolta 75-300 New:
- sharper
- CA negligible, no purple fringing (this was bugging me with the 75-300, so I sold it)
- a bit more contrast on close up shots

Compared to Sigma 18-200:
- the Sigma, like most "universal" zooms, changes the focal length depending on the focus distance. It reaches 200mm only at infinity, for closer subjects, the focal length is shorter. So for closer subjects, only a "real tele" gives real closeups.
- much better CA behavior
- reach

Compared to the Sony 55-200:
- range
- as far as I recall the Sony had a bit better micro contrast (newer digital coatings I guess), but sharpness wise, they were very similar

So to sum this up, this lens is the perfect tele lens for a hobbyist on budget. It is reasonably light, but seems built better than the newer cheap Sonys.
Sharpness upto 250mm is very good wide open, and excellent stopped down 2/3 stop. At 300 you need f7.1-8 for good results.
In CA/fringing department is on par with the 70-300G (I haven't owned that one, judging on review pics).
So, if you can get one around the price of the Sony 75-300 or cheaper, it's an obvious choice.
Edit: I got my A77II and I realized the perceived softness at 300mm was due to very slight backfocus. Now with AF microadjust, the sharpness at 300mm is better than at 100mm wide open.
Further surprise: I borrowed a 70-300 G SSM and the Minolta is sharper at 300mm wide open (at longer distances)! At F8, they are about the same.
At close focus - up to around 3-4 m, the Sony is much sharper (even stopping down does not help the Minolta).
Maybe this comparison is valid only for the copy I own, but the Minolta is an incredible value.

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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