Minolta AF 70-210mm F4.5-5.6 II A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#28614 date: Jun-28-2016
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 18-200 F3.5-6.3
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Sony DT 55-300 F4.5-5.6 SAM
Minolta AF 35-200 F4.5-5.6 Xi
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF 70-210 F4.5-5.6 I
Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6 BBC
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 100-300 F4.5-5.6 APO/D
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Tamron 18-250 F3.5-6.3
Tokina AF 35-200 F4-5.6
price paid:23 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
Nice ribbed rubber focus grip
Sharp wide open
Fast AF
Low distortion
negative:Purple fringing/haziness wide-open
Slightly soft corners
Filter thread rotates with focus
Minor CA
Minor pincushion distortion
49 mm filter size
comment:Clean silver copy with original hood and caps that came in a beat up original box. "JAPAN"

The zoom mechanism feels heavier than the I version and makes metallic noises like the kit lenses. Optical performance is very similar to the I version--very good central sharpness wide-open all the way to 210 mm.

The field-of-view is similar to the f/3.5-4.5 version and slightly wider than the older f/4 version throughout the range. The focal plane is more curved than the other lenses, but the center sharpness is better. Center sharpness is much better than the 100-200 F4.5. It has considerably less distortion than the 55-200.

It is slower than the 55-200 over most of their shared range. f/4.5 compared to f/4 at 70 mm. f/5 compared to f/4 at 100 mm. f/5.6 compared to f/4.5 at 135 mm.

It extends almost an inch more than the 100-200 and 55-200. It is slightly shorter than the 100-200 fully retracted.

Wide-open it shows a lot of purple fringing in high contrast areas similar to the 75-300, 35-80, and 24-85 lenses. The 55-200 has a similar issue wide-open on the short end, but is very well controlled at the long end. Both lenses are fine once stopped down to f/8.

The hood is useful on the 35-80 II kit lens for APS-C use.

Overall a decent full-frame telephoto kit zoom lens. I prefer the focus ring on this model, but the zoom control on the previous version. It is worth looking for a good copy of the slightly larger 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 instead.

Test chart comparison to the Minolta AF 70-210 F4, 100-200 F4.5, and 100-300 APO.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 9
  • sharpness: 3.33
  • color: 3.56
  • build: 2.78
  • distortion: 3.44
  • flare control: 2.89
  • overall: 3.20
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