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

reviewer#9896 date: Feb-6-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.1
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:Minolta 100-300 APO D
Tamron 70-300 USD
Sony 55-200 SAL55200-2
Cosina / Vivitar 100-400 4.5-6.7
price paid:150 usd (new) + 30 usd shipping & tax
positive:Good, acceptable wide-open sharpness across the zoom range, light, cheapest full frame telephoto lens. ADI compatible
negative:CA can be abysmal in high contrast scenes, bokeh is fine but not outstanding, plasticky build
comment:This is a fine choice for beginners' telephoto zoom. And the cheapest full frame telephoto. Nothing outstanding but good enough to produce results you want.

My copy is a silver one which has nice finish but feels quite plasticky in hand and seems scratch prone. Sharpness is surprisingly good wide open across 75-300mm range. Although the image will look dull and low contrast when approaching 300mm end. Many suggested it's best to stick to 75-200 range. Compared to Minolta 100-300 APO D, that one needs stopping down hard from f8 onwards to get good sharpness but it produces much better contrast and punchy images.

The colors of this lens is not rich, warm and deep like the original Minolta, looks more like modern Sony lens. So nothing outstanding here. Minolta 100-300 APO outshines in this department.

Auto Focus works well in normal situations. It's accurate and dependable. Much better than Minolta 100-300 APO. Focus does hunt in low contrast but it's not worse than tele zoom in this price range. If you're looking for AF performance in this range, consider Sony 70-300G and Tamron 70-300 USD with ultra sonic drive.

The worse thing about this lens that made me go look for Minolta 100-300 APO and Tamron 70-300 USD is Chromatic Aberration or purple fringing that can be so strong and abyssal. Easily noticeable even when scaling down images. This problem doesn't show in overcasting days but in bright day light, it's so bad in contrasty areas in the images. Big dilemma is since the lens is slow, you need good light and high shutter speed to reduce blur. However the CA is so bad in bright light and it produces better images in shade but then the shutter speed isn't high enough and need to raise ISO which affects IQ. Minolta 100-300 wins in this regard.

Overall, this lens performs well for its price. Nothing outstanding but good enough when you learn its limitations and avoid its flaws. It's worth considering if you don't do much telephoto works. A better option than Sony 55-200 if considering its longer range and compatibility with full frame. However for mobility, I would carry lighter and smaller 55-200 to use with APSC camera.

If I expect to shoot under hot bright noon as it often is in Thailand, I would reach out for Minolta 100-300 APO for its better colors, contrast, and no CA. Sharpness is not a problem because I can stop down hard in bright light. For serious works, I consider Tamron 70-300 USD or Sony 70-300 G.

See my photos with Minolta 75-300 f4.5-5.6 D on my Flickr collection at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeispixels/collections/72157628204412995/

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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