Minolta AF 70-210mm F4 (beercan) A-mount lens review by jgiles

reviewer#2921 date: Nov-9-2007
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:18-70 kit
Minolta 50mm 1.7
Tamron 28-300XR
Tamron 17-50 2.8
price paid:225 USD
positive:Sharpness
Build
Color
negative:AF speed
comment:I looked at beercans forever before purchasing one, then paid a premium to get a pristine copy. I'm so glad I did, because I'll be using this lens for many years to come. I'm using it to shoot football, which I previously had to attempt with the Tamron super zoom. With the Tammy, I could only get good shots in full daylight, when I could be very selective about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. With the beercan, I get better shots (color, sharpness) in these perfect conditions. And when the light dims, I can get usable shots long after I had to quit with the Tammy. When I realized that 200mm cropped from the beercan was much sharper than 300mm straight out of the Tamron, the Tamron left for ebay. With the beercan, I can even shoot flash under the lights in a badly lit lit stadium, and still get decent results. The autofocus usually keeps up, but I do miss a number of challenging shots that I'm sure I would get with a faster focusing lens. Given the lack of affordable 70-200 2.8 options at this time, this lens will remain a workhorse for me, and do a very decent job of it. In fact, if I had the money to spend, I'd probably invest in an a700 to get the improved hi ISO performance, rather than invest in a 70-200 2.8 for a single stop of speed improvement (albeit with much faster focusing); I'm that pleased with the optical performance of this lens.

Update: Even better on A700. Faster and more accurate focusing even in low light (still wouldn't call it fast). Also, my guess about the need for a 2.8 has proven true. Unless you shoot sports in bad light, or need the narrower depth of field, it's hard to justify the expense of a 2.8 because the beercan/A700 combination is so good.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 396
  • sharpness: 4.49
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.56
  • flare control: 3.98
  • overall: 4.53
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