Minolta AF 100mm F2 A-mount lens review by tobyjay

reviewer#4169 date: Oct-1-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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 85mm f/1.4 G RS
Minolta 135mm f/2.8
Tamron 90mm f/2.8
price paid:Ł600 in case, hood
positive:A1 sharpness/resolution
A1 colour/contrast
A1 autofocus accuracy
Satisfying build
Compact & discrete
negative:Minimum focus distance is a pretty long number
comment:I've had this lens less than 48 hours and already know it is everything it's cracked up to be.

Sharper wide open than an 85 G. But still gives the option of a very slightly softer picture (for portraiture) at f/2. It's about as sharp at f/2 as the 85 is at f/2.2, I'd say. Much sharper than the lovely 135 is at f/2.8, but at the expense of bokeh. The out-of-focus is very attractive though, if less abundant than in the 85 and 135. This is subjective, of course, and could be down to minimum focus distances being different, or it could be down to the natural compositions I found for different focal lengths. I haven't ever used a 100mm macro, but compared to the Tamron 90, this is a cigarette paper less sharp at 2.8, in my opinion. The Tamron gives a less artistic rendition in some way.

Contrast is sensational under artificial light. Reflective surfaces like glass, water, cellophane wrapping etc look liquid and glossy beyond belief. Colours are vivid Minolta but retain plenty of microcontrast and only the reds begin to look too solid in some (rare) cases. All this can be controlled in camera of course.

Autofocus on the A700 is fairly quiet and absolutely instant, as rapid as a 35 f/1.4 and very much quieter and faster than when shifting the 85mm glass. Much more accurate than either in achieving lock too. It gives the most accurate autofocus of any tele lens I've tried - down to good build or just down to accurate contrast transmision?

It's the same size and weight (near-as-dammit) as a 35 f/1.4G so they can swap case, filters, caps, screw-in hood, and take up the same spot in a bag - they make a great duo.

It's very discrete next to a beercan or shrieking macro but not quite as inconspicuous as a 135/2.8. Either way it packs a punch for its size and is very nicely built indeed.

Conclusion: I miss the creative possibilities of the 85 and 135 I once had, but this is a nice focal length for me and its sharpness, speed, focus accuracy and image character all conspire to seal the deal.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 75
  • sharpness: 4.93
  • color: 4.97
  • build: 4.87
  • distortion: 4.99
  • flare control: 4.59
  • overall: 4.87
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