Minolta AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 D A-mount lens review by eccles

reviewer#2675 date: Aug-30-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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 18-70 kit lens
price paid:Ł65 (used)
positive:Nice carry around lens
Sharp wide open up to 200mm
AF ok, manual focus good too
Compact when in the bag
negative:Soft at 300mm
PF with high contrast especially at 300mm
Zoom ring too tight
comment:Purchased on ebay to use with new A100, for Ł65 plus postage my example was boxed as new. It has the full 8 contacts, hence the 'D' label. Initially I was a little disappointed with this lens but with a bit of PP effort it can turn in quite creditable results, even when wide open. At full zoom however, it needs to be stopped down a bit for best results and even then you have to watch for PF. Other forms of CA are just about non-existent though. As a stopgap until I can get a macro lens I've been using a Canon 500D close up lens with a stepping ring to shoot butterflies, and at 150-200mm zoom it's taken some surprisingly good photos with very smooth bokeh. Usefully, I have been able to coax accurate AF out of very cluttered backgrounds.

Edit: After taking further pictures with this lens I became convinced that it was rather soft at 300mm but at 200mm there was a very good 'sweet spot'. So I spent an hour shooting test photos of the back fence with the A100 on a tripod and SSS turned off. Tested wide open, F8 and F11. I didn't test at smaller apertures because of digital refraction effects.
The result is as follows:
At 75mm it's soft wide open, good at F8, tailing off again at F11.
At 135mm it's good at the three tested apertures.
At 210mm It's good at the three tested apertures with that suspected sweet spot at F8. I knew it!
At 300mm the detail was actually there, but it looked soft at all tested apertures. And even on my boring old wooden fence there was a little purple stuff at the edges.
A bit of PP work with some unsharp mask on the raw images can bring the detail in at 300mm. However, it flares at the drop of a hat at this focal length, losing contrast so easily with distant subjects. But if you can tempt the wildlife a little closer, the bokeh is first class and you can turn in some very nice pictures. I think I'll love and hate this lens alternatively.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 47
  • sharpness: 3.89
  • color: 4.17
  • build: 3.66
  • distortion: 3.98
  • flare control: 3.74
  • overall: 3.89
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