Minolta AF 70-210mm F4 (beercan) A-mount lens review by A68noob

reviewer#44549 date: Jul-11-2020
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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:Tamron 18-270
Sony 70-300G SSM
Tamron 70-300 USD
price paid:basically few euros
positive:+ built to last forever
+ 1:4 macro mode at 1,1m (something rather unusual compared to other Minolta lenses i had from that era)
+ nice colours
+ on A68 usually fast AF (the torque really snaps in sometimes!)
+ replaces my unloved 70-300 lenses
+ literally no zoom creep
+ usually smooth bokeh - comparable to 70300G..
+ sharpness isnt the best, but really nothing to sneeze at (still better than my tamron 70300, about even with sony 70300G)
+ small 49mm filters
+ i dont own a hood, but still havent had flare issues..
++ bargain
negative:- quite a lot CA, obviously
- old AF noises.. but nothing to really complain. only annoying when AF is pumping, otherwise its 'good'.
- not really light and rather long.. but as there is no zoom creepy and it is still lighter than inferior built 70-300 zooms.. there is nothing really to complain aswell. I have no problem carrying this lens + A68 for hours around my neck (unlike 70300G zoom creeper..)
comment:I read that this is the most reviewed lens on this site.. so i will tell you instead why this now 35yo lens is still valuable on modern +24MP sensors and overall fun to use!

This lens literally has no zoom creep, because it is all built in metal(beercan) that doesnt extend.. resulting in the most amazing zoom usage i have ever experienced. I can operate the zoom easily from 70 to 210mm with a single finger.. without being a loose zoom - it just runs buttersmooth - it is a pleasure and feels amazing!

It gives good 1:4 magnification at 1,1m just like most 70-300mm zooms do.. but with more DOF, less light required (for stopping down, as it is F4 + less shutter speed as it is only 210mm = ~1/200sec). Overall better to use. On distance objects the difference between 210 and 300mm aint gigantic either..

I recently took a picture of a wasp with this and a way more modern, premium Sony 70-300G SSM lens. If i would show both pictures to a random person i bet they couldnt see the difference, as its just tiny/marginally. I can also only distinguish them at pixelpeeping (slightest CA).. and checking file data: 210mm to 300mm ;D

I bought this lens as a package of an old Minolta camera, Minolta bag, a flash + Minolta 35-80 lens. With shipping 37€ in total.. absolute jackpot!

Overall an amazingly fun, but not perfect (obviously) lens. Of course, some super ultra 6000€ lens will be way better in all regards, but as a normal hobby photograph.. this is about as good as it can get, considering the bargain price. Absolutely recommended, i love this lens. My favourite.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 394
  • sharpness: 4.49
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.56
  • flare control: 3.98
  • overall: 4.53
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