Minolta AF 200mm F2.8 G APO HS A-mount lens review by joestealthmode

reviewer#10814 date: Jan-4-2013
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta Beercan 70-210 f/4
Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA
Sony 300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM
price paid:1100 USD (used)
positive:Smaller than expected
Built-in lens hood
Fast focus
Built in 1989!
negative:Vignette apparent from f/2.8-f/4
Back-focus issues
Chromatic Aberration wide open through f/4
comment:I got this lens on a whim as it was one I have heard a lot about and most of the reviews are positive. I have used this lens on the A99, A77, and A900. Mounted on all three, this lens just looks like it belongs. It is smaller than I expected it to be. with the built-in hood retracted, it is only about 2 inches longer than my 85mm f/1.4 ZA fully-extended. With the hood on, it is only about an inch longer than the 85mm f/1.4 ZA with its hood on. The barrel of the 200mm lens is skinnier until it reaches the hood.

Right off the bat I could tell my copy backfocused on the A99. It was difficult to calibrate but I was able to get much closer after a -10 AF Micro Adjustment. I found I get better results on my A99 if I use DMF with this lens, and peaking cranks on when it releases focus, so I don't really see an issue with any back-focusing.

This copy has a heavy, yet pleasing vignette at f/2.8 and it is apparent through f/4 and disappears completely at f/5.6. The hood does not appear to help or hinder the vignette.

The color reproduction is nothing short of outstanding and lives up to the hype. Wide open, this lens is fairly sharp but really shines at f/4 and beyond.

This lens has CA issues wide open and through f/4 which is unrivaled by any of the lenses I have used so far in high contrast situations. Most of the time the CA is fixable using Lightroom, but the largest purple band I've experienced to date. A polarizer seems to help in the situations I experience CA in, but it may be placebo.

The focus ring is hidden with a little door on the side panel, which is different.

On the A77 the lens has a good reach and the vignette isn't as apparent at f/2.8 and clears up around f/3.5. On the A900, the lens just works. Nothing special and over the top.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 81
  • sharpness: 4.96
  • color: 4.98
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 4.95
  • flare control: 4.88
  • overall: 4.91
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