Minolta AF 200mm F2.8 G APO HS A-mount lens review by awa54
|awa54#45749 date: Aug-27-2021|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Mino 100-300/3.5-5.6 APO|
|price paid:||$450 USD|
|positive:||Battleship build with moderate weight|
Awesome built in hood
Versatile focus limiter (though it will puzzle many users the first time they use it)
Focus hold button (I use for DOF preview)
Fast, positive focus even in low light
Sharp, contrasty, Minolta colors, great bokeh and overall image feel (as expected)
Very little IQ reduction with 1.4x teleconverter (2x OK too)
|negative:||Quirky focus limiter (can be mis-adjusted without this fact being obvious)|
Under-damped manual focus ring
Sliding focus ring cover isn't the best design
Paint doesn't hold up to abuse
|comment:||Lots of people here love this lens, I love this lens too, but even so it has faults, especially compared to newer designs.|
First the picky stuff:
I'm not a fan of the focus ring cover, it doesn't fully retract and the latch is not very positive, plus it doesn't actually seal dust out, just discourages it slightly.
In terms of absolute chromatic aberration, this lens gets very close to being apochromatic, but doesn't quite make it there, as there are traces of all the chromatic artifacts present in many images, though very minor compared to non-APO optics (and less than many third party "LD/APO" designs).
However these artifacts are usually only visible when pixel peeping; I recently printed a shot from this lens (shot w/ a900) at 20"x30" and even at that size you would be hard pressed to spot any color fringing.
My example came to me in battered, but optically excellent condition, the biggest casualty of the heavy use it had received was the paint, which has been scraped, or flaked off in many places, revealing raw aluminum underneath... if the barrel metal had been etched, sandblasted, or primed before painting, I doubt that this would have been as big an issue. The standard Maxxum black finish also seems to hold up much better than the "G" white on this lens.
Now the raves:
As has been said many times before, this lens has a great balance of attributes that add up to a really versatile package. The reach is enough for close range nature shots (extended slightly with the excellent 1.4x TC), aperture is big enough for use in dawn/dusk, sharpness is excellent in the center even wide open, colors, contrast and flare are all well controlled and it hardly ever misses focus, even in poor light.
Like several other top of the line Maxxum era lenses it renders a 3D quality to many images that isn't common to see until you get into medium format photography. This in combination with the harmonious color, contrast and bokeh make it an excellent portraiture lens as well, especially for those of us who aren't bold enough to get in close for those great street/people shots.
The focus limiting system in this series of lenses is great, if used correctly. It allows you to create an adjustable limit between MFD *or* INF and a selected mid point, while I have never needed this, due to the fast focus traverse on the a900, it was probably a life saver when shooting with a film body that had just a few sensor points and slower screw drive. If you set it incorrectly you can lock the lens out of MFD or INF focus though...
If you have an A-mount body, you should eventually get this lens!