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

reviewer#23462 date: Dec-30-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
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
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Sony DT 55-300 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 II
Minolta AF 75-300 BBC
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 100-300 APO
Minolta AF 100-300 APO D
Sigma AF 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Tokina AF 35-200 F4-5.6
price paid:14 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
Sharp wide open
Fast AF
Low distortion
Lens button
Easy to service
negative:Purple fringing wide-open
Slightly soft corners
Filter thread rotates with focus
Minor CA
Minor pincushion distortion
49 mm filter size
comment:Won on eBay with a $1 bid. The plastic focus rack had some grit and grease on it, but it was fairly easy to disassemble and clean. The focus action is now as smooth as the 55-200. The zoom mechanism is smoother than the 55-200. No hood. This lens was $150 when brand-new in 1994--$75 cheaper than the slightly larger 70-210 f/3.5-4.5. "JAPAN"

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 similar. It has considerably less distortion than the 55-200. Resolution drops off a bit at the long end--more than the 55-200 and other 70-210 lenses but much less than the 100-200 f/4.5 zoom.

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.

Overall a decent full-frame telephoto kit zoom lens. It is worth looking for a good copy of the slightly larger 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 instead.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 55
  • sharpness: 3.96
  • color: 4.36
  • build: 3.87
  • distortion: 4.16
  • flare control: 4.07
  • overall: 4.09
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