Minolta AF 200mm F2.8 APO A-mount lens review by havoc315

reviewer#11766 date: Apr-14-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan 70-210 f4
Tamron 70-300 usd
Minolta 135/2.8
price paid:$600 usd (used)
positive:Low distortion, sharp across the frame. From f4, tack sharp across the frame, very high resolution. Great colors and contrast.
Not as large and heavy as a zoom 2.8 lens.
Built-in hood
negative:Chromatic aberrations and purple fringing
Hood doesn't lock when retracted.
Focus ring hidden by cover
Focus can be very slow
Expensive considering it is nearly 30 years old -- but worth it
comment:This lens makes me wish I could get away with shooting at 200mm all the time.
The lens is about the same size and weight as my beercan 70-210. So not exactly a petite lens, but manageable. Much smaller than a 70-200 2.8 lens would be.
Image quality is nearly perfect. The only complaint is some purple fringing, particularly wide open. Not as bad as the beercan, but definitely noticeable and definitely needs post-processing correction in some images.

The built-in hood is overall a nice feature. A nice big hood to eliminate flare. The minor quibble is that the hood doesn't lock when retracted, but a lens cap will keep it from creeping open. The other unusual thing about the build is that the manual focus ring is hidden behind a cover that needs to be slid open. On the positive side, it keeps you from accidentally changing the focus when handholding the lens. But on the downside, it adds an extra step to using manual focus or DMF.
Focus can be pretty slow on this original version of the lens, particularly if the focus wasn't already "close." But if you use the built in focus limiter (or the limiter on the A99), it does speed up the focus a lot.
Despite these complaints, I still need to rate the build quality as 5. My copy was a bit of a bargain price because the focus limiter knob is broken off. Yet, this 28 year old lens still actually works perfectly with totally solid build.

As a footnote, this lens does require very very careful micro adjustment if you intend to shoot wide open at 2.8. The Depth of field is just so incredibly narrow, that any error in focus will cost IQ. I had to try re-adjusting my microfocus 4 times before I was fully happy with the results.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 38
  • sharpness: 4.96
  • color: 4.92
  • build: 4.79
  • distortion: 4.95
  • flare control: 4.82
  • overall: 4.89
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