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

reviewer#45700 date: May-7-2021
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.7
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Tokina AF 35-200 SD
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Tamron 70-180 F2.8 VXD
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
Sigma AF 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Quantaray 70-210 F2.8
Vivitar S1 70-210 F3.5 I & II
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Sony FE 70-200 F4 G OSS
Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Tokina 80-200 AT-X Pro
Vivitar 85-205 F3.8
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 135 F2.8
Canon EF 135 F2.8 Softfocus
Canon EF 200 F2.8 L USM
Minolta AF 200 F2.8 APO G
price paid:400 USD (used)
positive:Internal focus
Maintains focal length
Locking built-in hood
Heavy CA
Focus shift
Plastic sticker on hood
Warm color cast
Focus noise
Focus breathing
Mild pincushion distortion
Peeling paint
Awkward focus control
Straight aperture blades
No tripod foot
Lack of Lens Compensation
comment:I've been wanting to try higher end Minolta lenses and this one of the most highly regarded ones. I've been using the similar Canon EF 200 F2.8 L USM for the last year and have been fairly impressed with it. This Minolta cost me $100 more than my copy of the Canon. It looked to be in good shape with original caps and only a few small paint chips. "MAXXUM" is missing from the front trim so it was originally from a foreign market. "JAPAN"

Unfortunately this copy had an alignment issue that effects both the center and the right side of images. I don't see any obvious damage that could have caused the misalignment. I tried an even nicer looking early copy that had better alignment, but still had a lot of color fringing. There also seems to be some focus shift, and unfortunately Sony hasn't implemented stopped down focusing for A-mount lenses.

APO seems to be a empty marketing by Minolta along with the gold accents. It has much worse CA than the Canon L prime which causes significant degradation to image quality. The Canon is a later design with an additional lens element and is still being sold new. The Tamron 70-180 F2.8 VXD is much sharper at 180 mm.

The built-in hood is the nicest one I've used except for that sticker on it. It locks in place, is flocked, and has a nice rubber bumper. Comparing directly with the Canon either the better hood and/or superior coatings gave better contrast in some backlit situations. The substantial hood may add considerable mass to the end of the lens. I would prefer a lighter lens with more durable finish.

The sliding range limiter is an interesting design borrowed from the more expensive 300 F2.8. It also allows an infinity calibration, though you lose the calibration if you use the limiter for any other purpose. There are marks to indicate where infinity should be.

The focus throw is short making manual focus difficult. The internal focus is very low resistance like the 135 F2.8. The aluminum focus ring cover might be protecting fragile gearing. That cover is somewhat poorly implemented. Strangely it doesn't retract fully but covers the front of the focus grip when opened and doesn't lock open at all. It does lock closed but not solidly like the hood. It does seem somewhat quieter focusing than the 300 F4. It doesn't seem any quicker to focus than the non-HS version.

An overvalued but decent old prime very similar to the 135 F2.8 "Pocket Rocket." These may be better with other subjects where their high amount of chromatic aberration isn't so distracting.

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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