Minolta AF 70-210mm F3.5-4.5 A-mount lens review by flyingscot4

reviewer#7183 date: Mar-28-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
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:Minolta 70-210 f4.0 Beercan
Minolta 70-210 f4.5-5.6
Minolta 75-300 f4.5-5.6 Big Beercan
Minolta 100-300 APO D
price paid:60 USD (used)
weight (light)
negative:hunts a bit in low light
Slightly soft wide open at both ends
comment:Every manufacturer, including Minolta, was in love with the 70-210mm concept and made a number of different versions, of which this one is the best. I feel that it is as sharp as the Beercans (I own 4) and much sharper than the f4.5-5.6 models of which I have one each. This lens has the lovely saturated colors of Minolta fame and the best bokeh of most of the lenses in this designation. I think that it is cheap because the poorer quality versions look identical to this version. I know that my lens is not just an isolated "good" copy as I have two and can distinguish no difference between them as far a sharpness, color, and bokeh are concerned. I carry this lens and my 100-300mm APO D whenever I travel to Europe and weight is is a concern. I own all four Beercans and they stay home.

I am from the "old school" (so is the lens) that says that a lens is sharpest when stopped down 2 stops from wide open. That gives me one stop less light needed than with my 100-300 APO, and that is a big thing. I don't think that one can go wrong with this lens. Just make sure that it is the 3.5-4.5.

Update: 08/13 - Having used this lens for some years now (I seem to be getting older, or maybe it's just my eyes), but I sometimes think that the contrast ratio in this lens is a little low. The colors reproduced are wonderfully subtle, but sometimes need to be "bumped up" a little in PP.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 64
  • sharpness: 4.29
  • color: 4.69
  • build: 3.98
  • distortion: 4.34
  • flare control: 3.89
  • overall: 4.24
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