Minolta AF 100mm F2.8 Macro D A-mount lens review by Phil Wood
|Phil Wood#44142 date: Oct-7-2018|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta 50mm f2.8 & f3.5 macro. Macro zooms (beercan etc). Sony 85mm f2.8.|
|price paid:||140 GBP|
|positive:||Sharp, Minolta colours, ADI, 1:1, f2.8, full frame|
|negative:||Focus can take a while.|
|comment:||I have many lenses which claim to be macro, but no lens at this focal length or close that can come close to the 100mm D in terms of sharpness apart from the Sony 85mm f2.8. The Sony is as sharp and is better in terms of size, weight, flare, and focusing - well worth considering as an alternative if you aren't interested in the 100mm's macro capabilities. But, if you aren't interested in the macro why are you reading this review?|
Many lenses have 'macro' in their name, but few macro zooms go closer than 1:4 - good for a flower shot but not so great for the bee on the flower, let alone the bee's knees. The 100mm is a great macro lens, it's focal length allows you to keep your distance (relatively speaking) from fearsome creatures like wasps - and they do look pretty fearsome at 1:1.
There are downsides. It's more difficult to use as a handheld macro than it's 50mm counterparts (also great ultra-sharp lenses). It's not as versatile as a 50mm (especially true on full frame cameras). It is a fairly hefty beast (though no worse than many others and not as substantial as many modern primes). The biggest problem I find is focusing, at the macro end I expect to be on manual, but I do like the convenience of autofocus on more distant subjects - most of the time it is fine, but I don't have many lenses that spend quite so often dithering about on my A77 before hitting the sweet spot. The lens does have a focus limiter to help with this, I really need to get used to using it!
To finish on a high - the build quality is excellent, built to last, and it is a great portrait lens, even on APS (but not ideal for the flattering soft focus look).
A definite keeper, this lens is going to get a lot of use.
PS. Mine came without a lens hood - thanks to advice on the Dyxum forum I purchased a JJC LH-007 hood via ebay for 8GBP. This is equivalent to the significantly more expensive Sony ALH-007 and fits the 100 D as well as the Sony 100mm macro (a rebadged 100mm D), the Minolta 75-100mm D and the Sony 75-300mm (another rebadging). The hood from the earlier 100mm/75-300 can be used but does not store reversed on the D as the D version is a bit wider in diameter.
Update (Oct 2019): I have now used this lens a lot on FF bodies (A900 & A99ii) - I did have some focusing issues on the A99ii, which I suspect were down to my ineptitude with the camera's absurdly wide range of focussing options! After a factory reset everything is fine and the 100D is again showing just how good a lens it is, well able to impress with the 42MP sensor. I am wondering if I have been harsh with my flare control mark.