Minolta AF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by Miranda F

reviewer#34756 date: Jan-17-2017
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
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:Minolta:
50mm f1.7 (both versions)
35-70mm f4
35-70mm f3.5-4.5
28-80mm f3.5-5.6
28-100mm f3.5-5.6
24-105mm f3.5-4.5
75-300mm f4-5.6
100-300mm f4.5-5.6 APO (non-D)
30mm f2.8 macro
35mm f1.8
50mm f1.8
18-55mm kit
55-200mm f4-5.6
55-300mm f4-5.6
Vivitar 70-210mm
Cosina 60-300mm
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro
Various Tamron adaptall primes & zooms
Various MF primes 300-500mm
Several mirror lenses 400-500mm
price paid:45 UKP
negative:soft at 300mm
CA, PF if you pixel-peep
comment:If you’ve swapped your kit lens for a hyper-zoom and find the performance is disappointing at both ends and not that great in the middle, consider getting yourself a real telephoto! There are lots available, so why choose the 100-300mm Minolta?
Firstly it is a good lens, well made, and with Minolta quality glass and colour, and although it wasn't a cheap lens new, it can now be found amazingly cheap today. Like many of Minolta’s later zoom lenses, it is also very compact and quite light – around half the length and weight of the much-talked about Beercan, with more focal length and not that much slower in aperture. It’s shorter and lighter than either the Sony 55-300mm or Tamron 70-300mm (all versions) and the big beercan too which is useful.
Sure it’s not as good as either of the more modern lenses, and if you’re looking to get those bird feathers really sharp look elsewhere, for it’s a little soft at the long end and 100% crops show CA and PF. But if you stop pixel-peeping and frame your pictures fully, it’s a nice lens to have; it’s also good to use in MF with a decent rubber ring to grip and a reasonable 1/3 turn.
The bokeh is nice too, and because it’s an FF lens those OOF circles really are circles and not squashed lemon shapes near the edges like most APS-C lenses. And it’s useable on FF and on film too. On film, contrast, sharpness, and colour are all fine and it makes a good partner to any of the 24/28-70/80/100/105mm normal zoom lenses, giving real reach with not much extra weight to carry about. About the only irritating thing is the MFD which is a typical (for the period) 1.5m rather than the 1m or less of more recent lenses, so if you're photographing ducks on the local lake you make find yourself backing up a bit when they come close, but for the more shy ones you won;t have a problem.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 31
  • sharpness: 3.73
  • color: 4.23
  • build: 3.77
  • distortion: 4.13
  • flare control: 3.81
  • overall: 3.93
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