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

reviewer#16311 date: Jul-16-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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 70-400G
price paid:$2000 CAN
positive:Very sharp
Still very sharp with Minolta 1.4 TCii
Much faster to focus than 70-400G.
Great Bokeh.
Great colours.
negative:Flare and very low contrast shooting into the sun. The 70-400G fares much better for this. (sometimes I like to shoot into the sun)
comment:Updated Dec 3, 2015

In short.. I am thrilled with this lens. I love the 70-400g and could not imagine that this lens would be sharper, but it is. I finally got around to doing some proper tests comparing them and have some conclusions I am satisfied with. On the A99, I found little difference in sharpness (the 70-400G is THAT good!), but on the A77ii with its much denser pixel array there were clear differences. The 70-400G is sharp, but the 400G is markedly sharper. Wide open its good, but stopped down to f5. the images gain a little sharpness and contrast and peak sharpness to my eyes was reached at f5.6.. and let me tell you, its razor sharp! The 70-400G did not reach this sharpness at any setting. There is NO loss of sharpness to my eyes with the Minolta 1.4 APOii attached when stopped down 2/3 of a stop to f8. Magic! :) (still markedly sharper than the 70-400G images at any aperture - again, this should not put anyone off the 70-400G - its excellent! but the 400G is a super, super sharp prime.) I find autofocus speed fine - better than the 70-400G, though it needs to be said that I have never used any other systems than Sony/Minolta for autofocus. One of these days I will get a Canikon friend to do some comparison images with me against their 400-500 primes - I am really curious of the result. See my comparison tests of the 70-400G against the 400G if you are interested in the lens section. (I tested only center sharpness.)

Note... when I did my tests, I also finally got my micro adjust dialed in perfectly for the autofocus, both with and without the 1.4TC. Its made a huge difference and I am getting fabulously sharp waterfowl shots with it now. My two body setup is A99 with 70-400G, and A77ii with 400G + 1.4TC. :)

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 46
  • sharpness: 4.92
  • color: 4.87
  • build: 4.87
  • distortion: 4.96
  • flare control: 4.80
  • overall: 4.88
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