Minolta AF 600mm F4 APO G HS A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 16   
reviewer#44276 date: May-3-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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:SAL500F4G, SEL400F28GM, SAL300F28G2, Tamron 150-600 (first version), SAL70400G2, Minolta 400 f/4.5, Sony 500 f/8 reflex
price paid:4000 EUR in 2016
positive:It is a very sharp lens, it can compete (under certain conditions...) with modern lenses such as SAL500F4G for A-mount or SEL400F28GM for E-mount. It is a tank, I believe it will last for centuries! AF speed does not look bad at all when compared to SSM technology.
negative:There are mainly two flaws in this lens when you analyze it in 2019 and compare with modern lenses: Purple Fringing and weight.
comment:In 2019, you can still think of buying a lens that old instead of a much more expensive modern one. If you have limited budged, it is a no brainer. If you can afford a more modern lens, it really depends on what you need and your style of shooting.

My main complain about this lens is purple fringing and, to a certain extent, chromatic aberrations. If you shoot a high-contrast subject, you will certainly have to deal with purple fringing. Wide open, it will kill you. If you stop down to f/5.6, you reduce it a lot (and get a boost of sharpness) but it is still there. You can alleviate the problem in postproduction, but it is extra work. Backlit subjects can very easily let you give up and delete a picture that could have been a keeper if shot with another lens.

If the overall contrast and tonal transition is low, you can safely shoot at f/4 (better off f/5.6 if you need to crop a lot or if you use an APS-C camera) and love what this lens can still produce, even with a high-megapixel camera such as A99II. The 1.4x teleconverter also does a good job when paired with this lens, no real need to stop down for sharpness, but it amplifies the purple fringing issue. Therefore, when using the TC, I end up closing to f/8 most of the times to get acceptable level of PF -- without eliminating it.

The other problem is weight. Forget about handholding it. If you walk around while carrying the lens in your hand or in your (huge) backpack, you get tired pretty quickly, also because you have a sturdy tripod attached to the lens that you cannot get rid of. This lens makes sense only when you carry it from your car to the hide -- and it should not be too far away.

If you can live with the problems above, you do not really need to upgrade to a much more expensive lens. It competes with Sony 500mm f/4 wide open, the 500mm gets slightly sharper (which compensates the shorter focal length...) with a bit more contrast at f/5.6 -- plus, of course, no PF, faster AF and 2kg less to carry around.

If you want to play in a completely different league you have to use the new Sony 400mm f/2.8 (even with a 1.4x teleconverter, to do a fair comparison). Lighter, sharper at any aperture, faster AF than both Minolta 600 and Sony 500. But it is E-mount, and you have a waaaaay higher price tag.

If you are on a budget, Minolta 400 f/4.5 is a good alternative. Sure, you are comparing 400mm with 600mm, but it works well with the 1.4x teleconverter and purple fringing is way better. Since you have to stop down with the Minolta 600mm anyway, the comparison is not that crazy. I would exclude the Tamron 150-600 as an alternative, at least the first version, since we are talking about another category of sharpness (a level down). Better off seeking for a good deal to buy a used Sony 70-400 and crop the pictures taken at 400mm to 600mm equivalent. The Sony 500mm f/8 reflex is also another alternative to consider, but mainly for its incredible portability. Sharpness is not bad at all, but not at same level of the other lenses that I mentioned.
reviewer#18368 date: Oct-5-2015
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 200mm HS G, 80-200 HS G, 300mm apo, 400 HS G, SAL 70400G,
price paid:$3000
positive:After micro-adjusting for front focusing, the lens is extremely sharp, much sharper than the 300mm f2.8 apo. It has the best bokeh of all the white minolta lenses that I have owned. It gives you the reach for bird photography. I have not had the need to use it with a TC.
negative:As described elsewhere....the weight is a problem and is therefore not suitable for long hikes. Compared with my other HS G lenses HS G, the AF is slower. Co$t. It takes a while to learn to use this lens properly.
comment:Fantastic lens. The best purchase that I have do so far from a photography point of view. It is highly recommended, as is a good gym membership. It is not at all practical for hiking. The size of the lens may make it difficult to travel with.

The prices of this lens have been coming down steadily in 2015. Bargains do come up.
reviewer#15260 date: May-28-2015
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:Minolta 300 mm HS G 2.8 with 1.4 and 2.0 TCs
Tamron 150-600 4.5-6.3
price paid:an arm and a leg!
positive:1) Sharpness. Sharp wide open, very, very sharp stopped down to f5+.
2) Incredible reach on APS-C, especially with 1.4 TC - essentially a small telescope, equivalent to 1260 mm on full frame, 900 mm without 1.4 TC.
3) Color and contrast are also superb, especially if stopped down just a bit
4) Value for the money – if you can put up with this somewhat noisy and slightly slower autofocus compared to newer SSM lenses from CaNikon and Sony, this lens delivers amazing value.
5) Built like a tank – probably would withstand a direct hit from a cruise missile.
6) Great focus limiter and focus lock buttons conveniently placed.
7) Smooth bokeh at 4-5.6 (where you probably will do most of your shooting) with a razor thin depth of field, if that's what you're looking for, at f4. Sharper if stopped down just a bit.
8) Cachet value?
negative:1) Since it's built like a tank, it weighs like one too.
2) Some vulnerability to chromatic aberrations especially wide open, and particularly compared with newer lenses that have newer coatings.
3) noisy autofocus system that can hunt considerably, making focus limiting essential – and between the massive weight and the older autofocus system, birds in flight are a real challenge, but not undoable. My technique may be the main problem!
4) Given the weight, a special gimbal type tripod head is essentially mandated as you don't want to risk your lens, or for that matter, your orthopedic health. I recommend the Opteka (essentially a clone of the $600 Wimberly unit).
5) Cost and of course, ultra low WAF (wife acceptance factor). After all, you are spending more $ on a lens than you did on your first, second and third vehicles for Pete's sake!!
6) Wafer thin DOF wide open and at any F<5.6, requiring very good and careful MFA. Back focusing and front focusing cause more missed and blurry shots than any other factor aside from poor technique.
comment:This lens is unique, and although I'm just starting to use it, I can really appreciate many of the thoughtful comments from other users of this magnificent optic on this website.

There's really nothing like it in the Sony Alpha mount world. If you're a wildlife photography junkie, and you've tried to get by with zoom lenses, even Sony's very good 70-400 G2 SSM, it will be a revelation (both in positive as well as negative ways) the first time you shoot with a lens like this. It requires a lot more dedication to the craft and to your setup, and handholding beyond a very brief period is really not feasible (unless you are a weightlifter). In fact if you try to support the weight of the lens from the camera itself you'll break your mount in half in 2 seconds.

You have to be very careful even unpacking this lens because it's so heavy, and you better not be in a rush while you're shooting or while you're using it, or while you're setting it up, because rushing leads to mistakes and those lead to the lens going to ground, and corresponding amounts of massive grief.

The lens is a beast to transport, but once you've shot wildlife with something like this you can never go back to slow zoom lenses, or anything less than this level of truly professional quality.

Unfortunately, these lenses are probably going to become very hard to get. There is a limited supply of them, and one in excellent condition is still worth approximately $5K (I was fortunate to get mine for significantly less, but that was a deal). While this sounds like a backbreaking amount of money to go with the backbreaking weight, consider that the equivalent in the Nikon universe is almost twice that money ($9000), while Canon's equivalent 600 mm F4 is more than twice that ($11,000). Admittedly those lenses have SSM and newer coatings, but for the slight increase in vulnerability to flare and chromatic aberration, you get a roughly 50% or more cost-reduction. Seems like a good deal to me.

After shooting wildlife with compromise solutions, and then stepping up to this lens (the true 'Bigma' with all due respect to Sigma's puny girlie man 50-500 :-) ), you can never go back. If you're serious about wildlife photography, you owe it to yourself to shoot with a lens like this. Buy one if you get the chance and can afford it. You won't regret it.

Postscript:

Having had this now for several months, I can see that the vulnerability to PF is really affected by the MFA accuracy. There is still some strange PF appearing in areas of bokeh, but the classic Minolta bright edges PF is really reduced by accurate MFA. When it does appear, it is easily removed in OP 10, so I regard this as a really minor liability. Some feel that this vulnerability to PF/CA (and flare!) spoils all the Minolta legacy glass, but they obviously aren't doing careful PP. In retrospect, this is probably the best purchase in DP I've made, although I may change that impression if Sony dumps real support for A mount screw drive lenses from its next group of bodies (either by dropping all future native A mount or not providing adapters on FE Mount that support screw drive tech).

Let's hope that Sony's talk about continuing to develop A mount isn't just blowing smoke. This is too good a lens for the money to abandon it. Viva la screw drive!
reviewer#12154 date: Mar-3-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
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:Sigma EX DG 500 f4,5, Sony 70-400 II, Minolta 500f8
price paid:4700€
positive:A very sharp lens, fast focus speed, reach
negative:I could mention weight. But you can not flight without wings.
comment:This lens is a real beauty when it comes to bird photography. It is really sharp. It is essential to controle the back focus since the dof is slim,
I used a A4 black test paper with white lines and smal numbers 1 to 30 on it, positioned on a 80meter distant building.With this lens the lines are needle sharp maximum cropped on the camera monitor and the numbers are clear like a macro. The camera is also very important for a micro sharp result with this lens. The best sofare I achieved with the 77II (in goed light) suprisingly the A7II is a little less but beats the 77II if the light get less and the ISO increases, while the 99 is just blurry you can not read any number. The Sigma 500 4,5 is close in sharpness a bit less.
while the Sony 70-400II also showed little blurry numbers.
the nice thing is that with a 1,4 converter on the 600 you do not see any major sharpness reduction (used Sigma EX DG 1,4). I would like to have the Sony 500 f4. But even when had the money the present price is just robery and a disrespect for Sony customers.
reviewer#12152 date: Mar-1-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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:SAL-300F28G-SSM, SAL-500F80-Reflex, MinAF 400/4.5G-HS, (SAL-500F4G-SSM)
price paid:not cheap
positive:reach and "speed"
negative:very heavy and very top-heavy, hefty longitudinal CAs, low contrast (compared to 400/4.5 or 300/2.8-SSM), slow AF (compared to 300/2.8-SSM), hood doesn't lock retracted and is to short
comment:This lens is uniq in any respect. Its reach and speed is unrivalled.
It is heavy but hand holdable with some practice for a few minutes. The new and expensive 500/4-SSM is much lighter and more balanced.
It suffers from longitudinal CAs, they may be somewhat corrected in post processing. The 400/4.5 has a lot less loCAs, the 300/2.8-SSM or the 500 Reflex do not have any CAs at all.
It's flare resistance is low to todays standards, using a longer hood may help. The 400/4.5 is better, the 500 Reflex not.
The AF is "slow" using a A900. The 400/4.5G-HS or the 500 Reflex is faster, not to mention the SSMs.

It makes pictures possible that are impossible with any other lens, but you have to plan for its use as it is bulky, nothing for walk around use.
reviewer#11686 date: Feb-11-2014
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 SAL 70-400SSM G. Not sure it's fair to compare a 600mm f4 to this 400mm f5.6. The 600mm provides much better results.
price paid:$5700.00 USD (used)
positive:Fast and Accurate AF on Sony A77. No Slower than my Sony SAL70-400G. In fact it seems more accurate as it seems to hunt much less if at all. Provides fantastic detail and color. Love the Tripod color with handle above and below. Needed as this is so big and heavy.
negative:Heavy but to be expected as it's an all steel 600mm.
comment:I have always shot JPEG as the Sony A77 processes very well when set up correctly. With this 600mm I have found that I now do none or much less post process in PS 10 to provide an image I am happy with. Could be in part to being forced to use a Tripod with this beast of a lens. Using an Induro CT414, very light and stable and an Opteka Gimble, smooth and more than capable. This is the second/third (High Speed G) version of this Lens produced after 1989. Note that it is anywhere from 19 to 25 years old and functions perfectly. All lens after 1989 have a "1989" year printed on the rear element housing and there is no way to decipher actual build date from serial number. I shoot wildlife, mostly birds, and am thrilled with my purchase from Japan through ebay. A bit risky but ebay allows for recoup if what you've bought is not what you expected. Get one of these if you can. I saved for 2 years.
reviewer#9387 date: Sep-4-2011
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:Minolta 300 f4 apo G HS
Minolta 500 f8 reflex
Sony 70-400G
price paid:$1700 as is+$250 fix
positive:Sharp with fast AF and wide aperture. Tank-like construction, top handle essential for carrying & for aiming at subject, built-in hood, 2 x 2 mounting threads for QR plate in bottom of mount, focus ring with cover, mechanical focus limiter.
negative:Heavy, heavier, heaviest: isn't just built like a tank but also weighs like one. Takes a lot of practice to learn how to handle & move around with it efficiently. Will easily tip a poorly balanced tripod or turn a leg + center column into a knuckle-cracker if you put your fingers in the wrong place while picking up or setting down the pod. Slight but noticeable CA wide open. Needs a longer QR plate than any other Minolta/Sony lens I've used. Every passer-by will stop and ask you what kind of lens you have there.
comment:Saw this lens up for bid in as-is condition with stuck aperture and focus. Decided to lowball it on the assumption that (a) I would not win, (b) if I did win and it turned out to be unfixable then I could still sell it on as a for-parts item and presumably recoup most of my $$, (c) even if it could be repaired this could not possibly be a practical lens unless you happen to be a weightlifter, so even in that case I'd sell it on within a few months after having tried it out and (d) I'd never get another chance again to see let alone try out one of these - even with broken mechanics - and thus prove to myself once and for all how unworkable this size tele really is.

Was mighty surprised to win it. Was all the more mighty surprised that Kurt's Camera Repair in San Diego succeeded in fixing it for a relative pittance, without needing any (no longer existing) replacement parts. Was even more beyond mighty surprised that ospreys and hawks would just happen to pose relatively obligingly when I first took it out for action. Many months (and a lot of extra callus on my hands & fingers) later it finally dawned on me that this lens was not really absolutely impractical. Although it did (still does) require continuous revising & adapting of my photo habits in terms of what other kit to bring, which locations to visit at what time/day, how to go about exploring each shooting location & how to choose subjects photo habits. In due course it becomes more doable to work around the challenges of handling & carrying this massive lens & at the same time I've found myself more and more working in a self-imposed assignment like manner, revisiting the same location multiple times to try approaching one or more particular bird species (or even particular individual birds) repeatedly, until I've more or less clued in on its habits and behavior & figured out how to get the particular shots I'm hoping/aiming for.

Excellent for shooting through open car windows, although it's hard to handhold steadily even with your elbows propped against the windowframe. Very difficult to acquire a target quickly in the viewfinder, especially if it's moving. This is not only because of the very narrow angle of 600mm focal length, but also because the huge diameter of the front element obscures most of the FOV of your other eye if you're trying two-eye technique. Because of weight and size the lens needs to be handled methodically and slowly under all circumstances, so as not lose your grip & your balance, nor bump into adjacent obstacles with the lens itself or with the attached camera body.

Can be used with 1.4x TC, but I do so only rarely because it noticeably slows down AF and makes precise focusing even harder, both for the AF module and for my own eye. With both my a500 and a700 I find myself adjusting the focus limiter very often so as to optimize AF speed & especially to quickly acquire birds in flight or hopping-in-the-bushes. The compressed perspective and narrow DOF is especially challenging for the AF sensors when shooting birds that are bobbing on water (AF will often pick ripples just before or behind the bird) or sitting less than perfectly still in trees moving in the breeze (AF will often pick twigs and branches instead).
reviewer#8986 date: May-1-2011
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:
missing
price paid:lots
positive:Sharp throughout, beautiful bokeh
negative:
missing
comment:What a pleasure this thing is. Image quality is amazing. I wish I'd have bit the bullet BEFORE my trip to South Africa.

I'm certain that, if you're in need/want of a lens such as this, you will not be disappointed. It is what it is, it's too heavy to go hiking with for a day, you really should be accompanying with a high quality tripod and head, etc. If you are looking at one, you know what you're getting and the only surprise you'll find is the absolute quality of the photos it produces.
reviewer#7538 date: Jun-6-2010
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 300SSM
Minolta 300HS
Minolta 400HS
Sigma 400
Tamron 200-500
Sony 70-400
price paid:
missing
positive:It's really a killer, I use it about six months a year on small bird, and always on bean bag, and so fast than don't need the use of range limitation, I say fast as my 300SSM at least.
The superior handle is really a superb idea when you're on moving subject, BIF is totally possible too with the AF performance.
negative:Heavy and long when you hang it on a long trip, I'm not a fon of the retractable hood, but it protecs perfectly the front filter.
comment:For me the ergonomic design is really perfect when I compare it with friends on Canonikon 600, they don't have the possibility to help the search with the superior handle.
The results are really astonishing for a so old lady, FO at short range as I'm using it most of the time is not usable, the dof is near nothing, but it's really sharp and usable at F4 up 9-10 meters.
I use it most of time between F5 and F5,6, sometimes F6.3, never more closed.
It's just a limitation when used with sun in front which comes from the glass not so optically improved as now on the 300SSM ot the 70-400
reviewer#6039 date: Sep-12-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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:sigma 300/2.8
price paid:4500
positive:sharp nice colors fast af when used with limiter
negative:weight
comment:it is a very good lens it took me more than 1 yaer to learn
and make good pictures first had a manfrotto 055b and a393haed the pictures where not sharp now a have a gitzo
GT5561SGT with a wibbley 2 head now its ok.
i used this lens on my dynax9 film 7d and now the a900
with the a 900 you can crop the images its wow.
in low light its very good.
reviewer#5828 date: Aug-7-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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 300f2.8G
sigma 300f4 apomacro
sigma 400f5.6 apomacro
price paid:
missing
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:
missing
reviewer#4993 date: Mar-10-2009
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:Other lanses from my lineup
price paid:4500 €
positive:Very sharp;Fast focus speed;Good IQ with 1.4x Tc
negative:
missing
comment:It's a fantastic lens,I like the results I have gotten with this lens.Mostly I use it on Gitzo GT3540 carbon fibre tripod with Cullmann 40200 ball head on it,but it's possible to hand held (not for long time)!
I really love the focus accuracy.
reviewer#4835 date: Feb-11-2009
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:Min300mm f2.8 APO
Tam200-400mm F5.6
price paid:5500USD (used)
positive:Sharp
Great colour
fast focus
negative:Big MFD, thankfully not using for closeup work... :)
Big and heavy, but that was expected
Expensive, but expected that also... :)
comment:Very sharp, even wide open, I would say a bit sharper than the Min300/2.8APO. Much sharper than the Tam200-400/5.6.

Requires a heavy tripod/head to get best results. Can use SSS when hand held or monopod use, but not when on tripod.

Focus is fast, but can hunt sometimes in poor light. Good bokeh. Havent had any flare issues with hood extended.
reviewer#4535 date: Dec-12-2008
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:
missing
price paid:3,000 USD (used)
positive:Another superb performer. Tack sharp.
negative:
missing
comment:I got a steal of a deal on this one. I frequently use on a monopod for sports at higher ISO. When I have the space, I use a carbon fiber Gitzo with Wimberley head. A little pricey but you cannot beat the action it allows. Quite an attention grabber.
reviewer#3009 date: Nov-30-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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:AF APO 4.5/400, AF APO 80-200,
price paid:4900 Euro in 2002
positive:Very good sharpness from one stop down (f/5.6). Very nice contrast. Nice color rendition, but a bit nice less than the APO 4.5/400 I also own
negative:Of course weigth is an issue, but what else can you expect if you want f/4 at 600 mm. So no complaint here, just a remark. Only usable with a tripod, have made shots without, but rarily leads to nice results (still have to try this with the A700 though)
comment:Have used this lens for over 5 years, with good success. It is not as often used as the 400mm APO I own though. Can be nicely combined with the 1.4 converter (but stop down to f/8 at least), with the 2 times converter limitations such as opening (stopping down to f/11 is required for optimal sharpness and contrast) and vibration are evident, limiting versatility. It is anyhow quite difficult to use make pictures totally free of vibration blur. And unfortunately the SSS function of 7D and A700 does not work well (it is a bio unpredictable as also stated by minolta and Sony for use of the SSS with tripod).
reviewer#2669 date: Aug-29-2007
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:Minolta 300 f2.8 + 2xTC is no match in image quality, except in a close range.
price paid:
missing
positive:Excellent optical performance.
3D-ish images.
negative:Need a very strong tripod/head combo to acheive its best performance & a Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW to carry it around; budget them when you plan on buying this lens.
comment:I'm still learning to squeeze better images out of this heavy beast.

Use mostly with a 1.4xTC, the performance is just superb. 2xTC is extremely difficult to manual focus; almost impossible to work with.

With a Minolta 5D, it's fast enough to focus slow birds; tracking moving subject is far from reliable. A better camera would be desirable.

However with the Sony A700, tracking bird in flight is amazingly easy. Continues AF is very accurate even in dim light; simply set it to AF-C and Wide AF area mode.
reviews found: 16   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 16
  • sharpness: 4.88
  • color: 4.88
  • build: 4.94
  • distortion: 4.94
  • flare control: 4.63
  • overall: 4.85

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