Minolta AF 400mm F4.5 HS APO G A-mount lens review by danny001

reviewer#9936 date: Feb-15-2012
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 500mm Reflex
Sony 70-400g
Tamron 70-200/2.8
price paid:1900€
positive:tack sharp
fast AF
good build
negative:loud AF
comment:Having owned a 500 Reflex for almost 2 years, I wanted to try another lens. I took some great pictures with the 500, but the performance at min. focus distance (4to5m) was not so good. Because I sometimes use a camouflagetent, I can get really close to the birds. So I found a Minolta 400/4.5 in good condition, and gave it a try.
And the lens performs outstanding. In the range of 4to5m it is quite a bit sharper. Even at longer distances (and upscaling to match the 500), it has better IQ.
So, it's an easy choice. This is my main wildlife lens from now on.
The Reflex I shot always out of hand. This one, you better use a swinghead for the best results. I bought a Jobu Jr-3 swinghead, which is designed for lenses smaller than a 500/F4. And it is a perfect match.
It has a sexy white color, and together with the lenscoat it looks like a real wildlife lens.
Af is very fast, together with the A77 it is just fantastic.
I also had the 70-400g for a while, and it comes really close to the Minolta in terms of sharpness. Minolta is still a little better, produces cleaner images and AF is faster. But somehow I don't like a zoom lens for wildlife. So I sold it.
F5.6 seems to be the sharpest, but F4.5 is still very good. So if you need to open it up, you should not worry. But because I need the dof, I am mostly between F5.6-F8.0.
Conclusion, if you don't have the money for a Minolta 600/4 or the new Sony 500/F4, this is the next best thing you can get.

For pictures with this lens and A77, take a look here

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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