Minolta AF 80-200mm F2.8 APO A-mount lens review by Pirate

reviewer#9049 date: May-23-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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:SAL 70-400G SSM
SAL 70-300G SSM
Min 80-200 APO HS G
Min 300/2.8 APO
Min 300/4 APO HS G
Sigma 100-300/4 EX DG (IF) APO
Tamron 70-200/2.8 Di LD
Tokina 300/4 AT-X (AF 304)
Min 70-210/4 Macro
price paid:€420.00 (used)
positive:Build Quality
Buttery smooth bokeh
Fast AF
Internal focussing (IF)
It's a G grade lens in all but name (has same optics as APO HS G)
negative:Course/noisy/clunky AF motor
Long MFD
Slight CA (purple fringing)
comment:I've had a fair few top shelf lenses, but this one is one of the best in all departments. I bought it from evilBay vendor Matsuiyastore along with a Min AF 100-400mm APO.

It didn't have a lens hood, but that was easily taken care of by sourcing a generic reversible MATIN branded one from evilBay which for a 3rd party hood, did an excellent job keeping lens flare at bay. The optics are the same as the later Min AF 80-200mm APOmm HS G. The G suffix stands for GOLD by the way (in case you wasn't aware). It's less obtrusive as it's all black and there are no concerns about paint chip loss unlike the later white versions. The AF speed is quick enough on my A700, though the motor sounds a tad course and louder/clunkier (less refined) than the APO HS version which I once owned.

I've tried it with a Kenko 1.5x DG TC and found no real loss in AF/zoom speed (which is a rarity).

There's very little you can knock this lens for. OK, the MFD is on the long side, but this may have been deliberate by Minolta in order to give better IQ throughout the focal range. My copy also had a noisy/clunky/course sounding AF motor and some VERY annoying purple fringing (CA), but the plus points put this lens right up there on the coat-tails of the very best in it's class and I have no reservations in recommending it, but only IF you can live with it's shortcomings. Otherwise a superb piece of kit, but it's not quite on par with other Minolta lenses. I would grade it at about 90/100 overall, and marked the build as 4 to reflect the noisy/clunky AF motor and 4 for the colour to reflect the CA/purple fringing.

Additional Note:

I thought this lens was quick when used on the A700, but on the A900, it's like having an extra 2 gears as it's super fast in the AF speed department now! I've since bought another copy.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 42
  • sharpness: 4.83
  • color: 4.88
  • build: 4.83
  • distortion: 4.81
  • flare control: 4.57
  • overall: 4.79
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