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

reviewer#44241 date: Mar-14-2019
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210mm f3.5-4.5
Minolta 70-210mm f4.5-5.6
Minolta 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 II
Tamron - 16-300 F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD MACRO
Sony - AF DT 18-250 F3.5-6.3
Sigma - 70-300 F4-5.6 DG Macro
price paid:48 GBP
positive:Sharp, solid, constant aperture f4, internal focusing.
negative:Heavy, not f2.8, MFD
comment:The legendary beercan lives up to most of the hype, they built lenses to last back then! Minolta provided several replacements over the years, the f3.5-45 is the pick of them, but none have better IQ than the beercan. However, they are a lot easier to cart around.
Downsides are the weight, lack of anything approaching macro and, in my copy, some odd EXIF data - my A900 reports 75mm when I have the lens as wide as I can. As long as it produces images as good as it does I can live with these shortcomings.
My copy is remarkably sharp for a zoom, especially such an old one. Bokeh is nicely smooth, making this a good portrait lens.
The FF zooms all have FL ranges that are an odd fit to APC-S bodies but the longer telezooms still make sense alongside kit lenses covering the wide to short tele range. If you can't afford an f2.8 zoom in this range the beercan is great value for the price.
Of course there are alternatives like the Sony 55-200 & 55-300 DT zooms, but they make less sense if, like me, you want to use the lens on FF as well.
The bottom line is price/value - you can't IMO get a better lens covering 70-210mm for less than 2 or 3x the price of a beercan - more if you want FF coverage. It's the best budget telezoom in A mount.
The caveat being, of course, that used lenses vary - try before you buy if you can.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 389
  • sharpness: 4.49
  • color: 4.79
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.56
  • flare control: 3.98
  • overall: 4.53
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