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

reviewer#7931 date: Sep-3-2010
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 500mm F8 Reflex
price paid:2000 CAD
positive:Lightweight (For the focal length and F Stop)
Relatively easy to handhold
Sharp wide open
Focus Limiter
negative:Focusing speed (Extremely fast on my Minolta 7, slow [bearable] on my a700 and KM 7D)
comment:This is one of the few affordable lightweight super telephoto lens on the market. Most other companies opt to build a fast 400mm F2.8 or F4 which end up being quite heavy or expensive, or a slow 400mm F5.6 that is quite lighter.

The Minolta 400mm F4.5 is the perfect compromise, being the same weight but 1/3 of the cost of Canon's 400mm F4 DO IS lens, and 1/2 the weight of the 400mm F2.8 L lens. Minolta decided to make the 400mm F4.5 1/3 of a stop slower then Canon's lightweight 400mm F4 DO IS lens in order to lower the cost to make it more assessable to the public.

The lens is very sharp wide open, the build quality is very high on this lens like every other G lens. The optics here are top notch, having great control over flare and distortion, while providing a sharp contrasty photo.

My main issue with the lens mainly has to do with the AF motors on the Sony Alpha line (And KM 7D). On my old Minolta 7 the AF speed is phenomenal, while when its mounted on and DSLR I own (and tried in stores) the AF speed is NOTICEABLY slower, taking twice as long to travel through the focus range. Though its not really a negative on the lens but a negative on the body its an issue that bothers me. Though it is bearable and still plenty fast when the focus limiter is used.

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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