Minolta AF 400mm F4.5 HS APO G A-mount lens review by AlanS

reviewer#12210 date: Mar-26-2015
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:Sony 70-400 G2
Tamron 150-600
price paid:2300 (USD)
positive:With the 1.4x TC, this is the best compromise available to supplement the 70-400G1/2 with extra reach. Super sharp! 560/6.3 with the 1.4x, at half the price of a Siggy 500 or Minolta 600.
negative:Only one slight disappointment: Although focus speed is very fast (on par with the 70-400G), when adding the Sony 1.4x TC the AF gearing reduction does reduce the keeper rate for BIF in all but the brightest of sunlight.
comment:I've had this lens for about a month and it is definitely a keeper! As an owner of the Sony 70-400G2, I was looking for more reach for wildlife, not as a replacement, but to supplement that zoom. After trying and rejecting two copies of the Tamron 150-600 (the big T is a good value for the 150-400ish range, but simply did not deliver the pixel-level sharpness at the long end that I was seeking -- cropping the 70-400G's 400mm shots produced sharper images than uncropped 600mm files produced with the Tamron), I decided to try this old Minolta. I had read reviews claiming it is sharper than the Sony 70-400G, which I found hard to believe. My own extensive comparisons confirm that is true! And with the Sony 1.4x TC it maintains great sharpness that blows away the Tamron's long end.

It felt risky dropping $2.3k for a 20-yr old lens, but was comfortable purchasing it from KEH.com with their return policy. They also provided a 2-yr parts/labor/replacement or refund (if unable to repair/replace) warranty for a very reasonable price.

I am very satisfied with this purchase. My wife and I both enjoy shooting wildlife and now that we have this one she no longer has to settle for shooting with the 70-200G (which is my favorite FF portrait lens, but that's another review)... now she can use the 70-400G2 while I handle the Minolta 400, usually with the TC for 560mm, for 840mm equivalence attached to the a77ii.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 44
  • sharpness: 4.92
  • color: 4.86
  • build: 4.89
  • distortion: 4.95
  • flare control: 4.82
  • overall: 4.89
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