Minolta AF Reflex 500mm F8 A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 90    1 2 3 >>
reviewer#45702 date: May-11-2021
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
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:Most of the Minolta FF and Sony DT lenses.
Minolta 70-210mm f3.5-4.5 or 4.5-5.6
Minolta 100-300mm APO
Lots of mirror lenses, including Kenko 400mm, film-era 300mm, Two Tamron 500mm, and a few other cheaper ones.
price paid:£210 shop s/h
positive:Brilliant on high-contrast subjects (eg moon)
Still an amazing lens
Higher resolution than most other mirror lenses
negative:Rather specialist - not many subjects really suit it.
usual things - rear bokeh (though often not as bad as expected), low contrast in dull light.
Very long MFD (the Tamron 500mm focuses down to 1.7m which is near-macro!)
Large diameter so won't fit in the gadget bag easily.
comment:Wanted one of these for years and bought one in excellent condition at a good price when I saw it. Found it didn't really make much sense on APS-C, where other APS-C zooms did as good a job in less space, but when I got the A7Rii with LA-EA4 it proves an excellent lens. Best Moon pictures obtained so far, even better than the Tamron. Moon pictures work shockingly well hand-held with AF with a high hit-rate - all the other mirrors are challenging even with a tripod.
My copy definitely seems to work better on the A7Rii/LA-EA4 than the A58, but if you're taking jpegs you need to increase the sharpness and contrast +2 in camera to avoid the pictures looking weak. Like all mirrors, micro-contrast is low due to the hole in the optics but (unlike some!) the resolution is definitely there. Remember to put the settings back for other lenses.
reviewer#44517 date: May-13-2020
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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 80-200
Sony 70-300
Tamron 70-300
Sony 300 f2.8
Sony 500 f4
price paid:$215 USD
positive:Sharp, Light Weight, not so big
negative:so far none for theis price. :)
comment:Very good, fast lens, works great with A99-II, not bad on A77-II.
reviewer#44495 date: Apr-9-2020
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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 own this lens
compared to:Vivitar 500mm mirror
Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical
price paid:160 GBP
positive:AF
Light for its FL,
The only AF mirror hence a collector's item
Bokeh
negative:Never really sharp, fixed aperture reduces photo options.
Bokeh
Internal filters
comment:Mirror lenses are in a class of their own as portable long focal length lenses, but they have well understood issues with the fixed aperture and doughnut bokeh. Once you come to terms with these and accept the limitations they place on what you can do with them they become fun to use.
The Minolta is the only AF mirror lens ever made for a 35mm SLR by any lens manufacturer, making it a novelty collectable, but it is also a very capable lens. Most 500mm mirrors are T2 mounts made by third party manufacturers, such as the Vivitar I also own - the Minolta is larger, but far superior in every other aspect.
The obvious use of a 500mm lens is for longer distance shooting, bringing birds closer etc - however, my Sigma zoom (very similar price) outperforms the Minolta mirror in this role, the zoom makes it easier to frame the shot, the image is sharper and the variable aperture allows some control of depth of field. Nevertheless the size of the mirror makes it easier (not easy) to handhold. I usually shoot with a monopod, once I get a tripod out I may as well take the zoom.
I am far more likely to use the mirror for closer (though not close given the MFD) shots, where the doughnut bokeh can be used to good effect.
reviewer#44490 date: Apr-3-2020
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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:Tamron 28-300 F3.5-6.3 XR Di
Tamron 28-300 F3.5-6.3 XR
Tokina AF 35-300 F4.5-6.7
Sony DT 55-300 SAM
Canon EF 70-300 F4-5.6 IS II USM
Sony 70-300 G SSM II
Tamron SP 70-300 USD
Sony A 70-400 G SSM
Minolta AF 75-300 "Big Beercan"
Minolta AF 75-300 D
Minolta AF 100-300 APO
Minolta AF 100-300 APO D
Minolta AF 100-400 APO
Sigma 150-500 F5-6.3 DG APO OS HSM
Sigma AF 300 F4 APO Tele Macro
Sigma AF 400 F5.6 APO
Sigma 600 F8
Rokinon 800 F8 DX
price paid:169 USD (used)
positive:Size and weight
Minimal fringing
negative:Donut OoF
Shallow DoF
Pincushion distortion (FF)
No Lens Compensation
comment:A nice clean copy in good working condition with both filters, caps, hood, and original case (unusable). I have had this for over half a year and just finally took it out today. "JAPAN"

It has much higher resolution than the Sigma and Rokinon mirror lenses. It is sharp on the 1.85 µm spaced pixels of the Pentax Q7 as long as the focus is accurate. The depth of field is very shallow.

Unfortunately, this would not autofocus well enough on either the A77II or the LA-EA4 adapter.
reviewer#40960 date: Nov-7-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Tamron 150-600
Sigma 120-400
price paid:280 e
positive:Sharpness, size
negative:Only center spot af
comment:Sony A99
with af micro adjust -1
sharpness is same as Tamron 150-600
look at farfield test
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llplEEsSjNI
reviewer#37833 date: Apr-16-2017
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.7
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:Tamron 500/8 (both versions), Russian 500/8 (two different versions), Samyang 500/8, Minolta 250/5.6 (film only).

I have long considered the Russian lenses the best affordable mirrors in terms of results. But they are not much fun to use. The Tamrons handle much better and are capable of quite good results. The Samyang and other basic mirror lenses are probably only worth buying very cheaply. There are better mirrors than these, but they are not normally affordable. I would love to try the Zeiss Contax or even the Olympus or Canon, but I haven't yet.
price paid:
missing
positive:Totally unique. The only AF mirror made for a popular lens mount (the only other AF mirror lens was also made by Minolta, but for their Vectis mount).

Having access to the camera's IS as well as AF makes this a bit of a mini-revolution. I was able to get test shots indoors at 1/100 that were no less unsharp than what I got at recommended speeds, so it seems that IS is able to work quite efficiently, too.

Great fun to use. Having your camera's AF system recognise faces and focus on them from well over 100 Feet away will probably make you smile and certainly beats tugging away on a MF mirror lens until your head starts hurting.

The AF works fairly well on an SLT and manual focus has a really nice feel. I would find this easier to focus manually than any other mirror lens I've used.

Takes 82mm filters between the main lens body and the rather tiny hooded part that screws in.

Works quite well with my Teleplus 7 element teleconverter. obviously in manual focus mode!
negative:Neither contrast nor resolution match conventional lenses. Colour appears under-saturated. Very, very long minimum focus distance (quite unlike the Tamron for this).

I was a bit surprised to find a kind of front-cell focusing where I had somehow expected it would be internal. And the focusing ring rotates during AF operation, which you have to really watch out for...you cannot shoot in AF holding the front of the lens.

Close-up shots (if 15 Feet is close) look if anything more unimpressive than middle-distance ones.

Distortion is sometimes visible (score 3.5).

Fiendish flare into the sun.
comment:I need to use this more on high resolution sensors to understand the extent to which the low contrast may be masking resolution which could be pulled out if I decided I wanted to post-process. But what is clear to me is that pixel-peeping out of camera results (at 16MP) is not making me smile as much as using the lens has so far. It is not a terrible lens, it just doesn't seem to stand optically as high in the mirror lens pack as I'd hoped.

I am a long-time user of mirror lenses and don't consider myself biased against them. I'm using an SLT camera at the moment and have done some testing to give me confidence that it is focusing this lens accurately.

I haven't had it long and may revise my sharpness rating in future. To be honest it it hard for me to argue that even 3.5 isn't too high, except that much allowance needs to be made for its mirror design.

It flares like crazy if you try to include the sun itself in the photo, but doesn't seem particularly bad otherwise for flare.

My opinion on this lens relative to the others in my comparison list may well be slightly skewed by not having shot any of the others on digital at more than 10MP. However, I'm pretty certain this lens is not optically as good as either Russian lens, and that it is no better than either Tamron (ie fairly good for a mirror lens). I'm pretty certain that the others would not even physically fit on some Sonys due to their girth. This lens is quite slim near the mount area.
reviewer#25510 date: Feb-28-2016
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:SAL-500F80
price paid:£103.69 (used)
positive:AF function
Build quality
Weight
Focus hold button
negative:'Doughnut' bokeh
comment:It's an interesting lens to use as it's the only AF mirror lens and therefore there's nothing to compare it with apart from the Minolta 800/8 or Minolta 1600/11 RF MD lenses in addition to various other MF mirror lenses, so whilst IQ can be compared, it's not a true like for like comparison. Not a lens best suited for fast action though decent enough for static subjects.

It's not so much unique, but it is different, though like many Sony re-branded lenses, there appears to be no difference between them and therefore I have to ask why Sony bothered if they didn't make the re-branded version better than the original Minolta.
reviewer#16289 date: Jul-1-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:Kalimar 60-300mm 4-5.6
Vivitar 200mm 3.5 Auto
price paid:470€
positive:Compact, lightweight item.
Reliable AF
Great sharpness
negative:None
comment:Very useful item, I love it. Combined with the A7II it is even possible to shoot by night and to make great photos.
reviewer#12157 date: Mar-5-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:Sigma AF 70/300 DG OS
price paid:ne sais plus
positive:Léger
AF bon malgré la faible ouverture.
Peu cher
negative:Faible ouverture
Bokeh peu agréable des taches lumineuses (auréole)
comment:Agréable à utiliser, sans pied avec un A55.
J'aimerais le même pour mon A7
reviewer#12005 date: Oct-22-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Minolta 400mm G
Tamron 70-300mm USD
price paid:300 EUR
positive:- compact
- lightweight
- autofocus
negative:- fixed aperture
- donut bokeh
- AF limited to the central focus point
comment:Definitely not in the 400mm G league (sharpness- , speed- and contrast-wise), nonetheless I took more pics with the mirror lens as I could bring it with me nearly anywhere - because of its size and weight.

I do recommend it for long distance landscape or city shots, as well as portraits (if the model stay still). However, I don`t have too good experience with taking birds or animal shots with the mirror lens - it lacks the resolution and contrast of the "white" lenses. Due to the central focus point limitation, it`s not really suitable for the most of sports either.

Bokeh is a mixed bag - sometimes distracting, sometimes pretty nice. Depending on the background and its contrast.

All in all, very happy with it, especially for its price. It`s sad Sony don`t produce it anymore.
reviewer#11981 date: Sep-14-2014
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 2
overall: 3
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:Tamron SP Adaptall2 500mm Reflex
USSR built 500mm Reflex think its Zenit
Minolta AF 70-300mm f4.5-6.3
price paid:50 AUD
positive:Auto focus
Reach
Minolta Colours under good conditions
Size and weight
Build quality
negative:Flare control is very bad
Washes out easily
Auto focus hunts
No front filter thread
Dark for F8
Min focus distance
comment:This is my third 500mm F8 mirrored lens after the Tamron and some USR built one. I picked it up for 50 dollars because the seller had no idea what it was. I was in luck as it was cleaned and working. At the time of review I have had this a little under a week but used it extensively.

Firstly the AF works but hunts common to Minolta AF. Colours can very good but wash out easily losing saturation, contrast and sharpness. Bokeh is very well controlled for this type of design and a lot less distracting than norm. Minimum focus distance further than I use to, the Tamron goes into macro range. Dark for a F8 lens, might be the SLT in the LA-EA4 adapter.

I don't think this lens it worth 500 bucks being asked on eBay. If you can get it for around the 250-300 mark and are shooting on a SLR camera with IBIS
reviewer#11971 date: Sep-5-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:there's nothing to compare it to.
price paid:$500.00 usd
positive:sharp , great focal length, auto focus, light.
negative:nothing to speak of.
comment:bought it used to replace an el cheapo brand. had read some good reviews and seen some good samples. have not been disappointed. found that I could use my vivitar 1.4 tc and still have auto focus. I have a library of pictures that i'm happy with.
reviewer#11921 date: Jul-27-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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/Sony 300mm f/2.8 SSM G
price paid:No longer remember.
positive:I have owned this lens for many years. The introduction of the A77ii has breathed new life into it, because suddenly it's now possible to focus. Edit: The A99II AF works even better with this lens then the A77.

It's light weight.
negative:Not as sharp as my best lenses.

Hard to focus unless it's on the right camera.
comment:This lens fell into disuse because I was consistently disappointed with the photos I was getting from it. I was unable to achieve critical focus. When I put it on my new A77ii, for the first time I discovered that I was able to focus it and got reasonably good photos. When I put it on my A99II it suddenly became an excellent lens. Focus is critical.
reviewer#11578 date: Jan-3-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta 75-300 F5.6
Beercan, wide zoom
8,24,50mm primes




price paid:450us, used KEH
positive:Short, light, unobtrusive, hikeable/bikeable.
negative:Background - watch the bokeh.
As its well over 300mm it needs some stabilization or lots of light/fast shutter.
comment:I like the lens a lot. Bought it as much to experiment with as anything else. I knew I wanted stabilization and auto focus as everything else had complaints about focus, blur or finickyness of some sort. Good move. The lens on my little a55 can be used handheld which puts it way ahead of the other mirrors. Portable.

Autofocus sometimes hunts but so does the 75-300. F8? I just crank up the ISO.

Any lens at F8 (about T11) will be dark in optical viewfinders, This mirror lens really shines with electronic viewfinders and stabilization on my Sony A55/A99.

I actually tried it in studio with a controlled background. You have to get back 14 feet but there is absolutely no CA visible.

I have to admit bokeh can be a issue in the field. You have to be careful or you get a busy or worse, really distracting background.

Here's a trick for bright days. Cut a black paper disk that will just sit inside the lens shade. Cut a one inch round hole into the side of the paper, sort of like a crescent moon shape and place it inside the lens shade. With the lens shade mounted with this vignette you will get perfectly round bokeh - not donuts in the background. Of course it's now a F8 lens with a T rating of maybe T32 but it works.








reviewer#11519 date: Dec-3-2013
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 own this lens
compared to:- Tamron 70-200 (Longest lens I own other than this one)
- Tamron 70-300 USD (Longest lens i've used other than this one)
price paid:450 USD (KEH - used)
positive:- Reach
- Size
- Weight
- AF!
- No CA
- Unique bokeh
negative:- Unique bokeh
- requires special filters that are expensive to replace if lost
- Poor hood
- Requires *huge* filters
- Fixed f/8 aperture, changeable only with the NDX4 filter
- Focus ring rotates during AF
comment:This is a very unique lens that takes a bit of practice to use well. It pretty much requires a tripod, or very steady hands. Any excess motion will noticeably degrade the sharpness of the final image.

The design is unique, and it's the only reflex lens that can AF, and the only sony or minolta lens that can AF at f/8 (f/5.6 is the normal limit)

Because of the unique design, there are some tradeoffs:

- Fixed f/8 aperture, changeable to f/16 with a compatible NDX4 filter.
- Donut bokeh
- uses expensive drop in filters ($100 to replace if lost, but not required to *use* the lens on a camera)
- Only allows the use of the center AF point

But for that, you get a super compact and light 500mm lens at a very affordable price (considering the Sony 500/4 G is $13k) that's plenty sharp and completely free of CA. Every sony user should at least try this lens. Donuts (and they're not *that bad*) aside, this is the only AF reflex lens in the world, from the mind of Minolta. Snag it for a good price, and don't look back.
reviewer#11266 date: Jul-24-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
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 400G/4.5
price paid:350 EUro (sec. hand)
positive:Weight, size, build, price, inconspicuous, bokeh (creative), AF (it has it)
negative:Sharpness, AF (misses sometimes), bokeh (clean), concentric light fall-off
comment:I own this lense for a day now, took the summer afternoon of yesterday and went to the beach with just this lense.
So maybe not a full review, but a prepared, dedicated session with this lense.
Before buying this of local *bay I read all your reviews, very useful. Also before buying, I had the chance to play with the older Minolta Reflex without AF, that was a challenge indeed.
Just taking this lense to a crowded beach makes you realise how small the field is, sometimes I had to walk for two minutes to get something properly in the frame. With a hyperfocal length of over 1,5 km this is not a walking-around lense.
But what fun! People at beaches do not always want to be photographed. Especially if you wave a big white (70-200G) in their face. With this lense I just walked 200 meters further and nobody noticed me anymore.

Some setup info: Mounted on a A77, in S-mode fixed on 1/1000s. Auto-ISO did the rest. Nice setup for hand-held operation I think.
AF (being unique to this lense), improves the usability enormously. Better said in reverse: this lense without AF renders the usability of walking-around, hand-held shooting to virtualy zero.
Getting manual focus is so difficult. The slightest turn of the focus ring sets you off. Holding it that steady that you will get a still preview to focus on is almost impossible. I even had a glass of Pernod before lunch in order to stablizi my arms:-)
AF is center only, which is no problem especially due to the very narrow view.
AF works, but not nearly as fast as a motorised lense. But not always. In my beach session I had a 1 in 7 miss not due to human error.
Sharpness is fair/good, but not at all like the 70-200G, which cannot be expected ofcourse.
Light fall-off: Not very noticable at full quality, but I posted some foto's on Facebook (which compresses rather blundly) and there you see concentric light fall-off very clearly, so the tendency must be there.

I wanted something above 200mm. I could have spent my money on a 1.4 or 2.0 TC for the 70-200mm or buy this.
I think I made the right choice, the lense and me are going to be great friends!

Conclusion: If you are in need of a long lense and you are not contracted by National Geographic so you can't buy the SAL-500F4G, buy this one second hand. Lots of fun, if not in controlling this beast.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldc5/sets/72157634775977261/

Update after two years and on FF:

Still happy with this lens. The 400/4.5 with or without the TC1.4x gives better IQ, but is more expensive, heavier and bulkier. The Reflex is ideal for travel and to put in your bag, just in case.
Im my original review I found manual focus to be difficult. Well it is difficult on all long lenses, also on the 400/4.5.
Light fall-off in the corners is much stronger on FF (A99) than on APS-C (A77), but most shots will need cropping anyway because you really wanted a 800mm for that shot. LOL
After two years of use my rating has gone up.
Great starting lens for nature, unbeatable when sitting on a boulevard terrace playing paparazzi!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldc5/sets/72157634775977261/

reviewer#11139 date: May-24-2013
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 70-210 F4
price paid:€ 499 (new)
positive:Size
No CA
Weight
Low cost 500mm solution
negative:Bokeh
Contrast
Sharpness
Fixed arpeture, so no DOF control
comment:This lens is of course a bit of an odd duck, being a reflex lens. You have all the characteristics of a reflex lens: less contrast, chance on donut bokeh (which can be pretty horrific), fixed arpeture (meaning no DOF control). The fact that is f/8 is not much a problem nowadays, but be prepared to pump up the ISO under less bright circumstances.

On the other hand: it is compact and light weighted, so easy to add to your camera bag, without adding lots of bulk and kilos. Better to have this lens with you than no 500mm lens at all. As somebody stated: "a mediocre lens on your camera makes better pictures than your high quality lens in the closet". Not that this lens is mediocre, on the contrairy, it performs quite well. You just have to get used to the limitations and quirks of a reflex lens.

The focus works well. Not extremely fast, but hey, at least you have AF on this reflex lens: the only one of it's kind! For manual focus: beware that the focus goes beyond infinity.

I am a little sceptic for using this lens for birding. Pictures are not as sharp as you would like and contrast is low (although it can be corrected nicely in pp). Also, unless you have a sunny day, you must use high ISO because a long exposure time is unlikely with birding.
reviewer#10888 date: Feb-1-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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:In a class all to it's own. Who else makes an AF Reflex lens?
price paid:
missing
positive:Light weight to reach ratio.
Build is solid.
Sharp focus.
Fast Focus.
Fun to use.
Unique Bokeh.
negative:Unique Bokeh.
comment:I love this lens. I find myself taking it everywhere I go. It's light. Focuses fast, accurate and sharp. I really like the unique Bokeh when I don't get the doughnut rings. I don't get the doughnut rings very often. I hope every Minolta/Sony shooter will have the opportunity to own or at least try one of these. Minolta did something really special with this lens. Thanks Minolta.
reviewer#10885 date: Jan-31-2013
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 own this lens
compared to:MinO 100-300
SONY 70-200 SSM + 1.4 TC
Tammie 70-300 DI LD Macro
price paid:$400 USD (Fleabay)
positive:Very light and portable. Easy to hold and feels good on A700/A99 w/Grip. Great reach (obviously).
negative:Takes some skill to handhold and keep steady. Razor thin DOF at any close distance.
comment:Shoots just fine but you have to concentrate to try and shoot it handheld. If you have the option a tripod is totally recommended but I rarely use one. It requires good technique. Many times shots will come up a little short on saturation and contrast so you have to up them in PP. Vignetting is pretty pronounced on FF but OK on APS-C.


Due to the reach, light weight and compactness it has earned a special place in my heart and my bag.
reviewer#10796 date: Dec-22-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
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:70-400, 135 1.8, 200 2.8
price paid:410.00
positive:Sharpness, automatic focus, small form factor, excellent range, price., lack of chromatic aberation, lasting appeal.
negative:Nothing
comment:First off let me say I own some nice glass. My pride and joy is my 135mm 1.8 planatar zeiss and it is every bit as good as the reviews. I wanted a telephoto for nature shooting and plan on picking up a 200 2.8 when this caught my eye. Thought I'd take a chance and purchased one off ebay. First thing I noticed was how rediculously light, small and unobtrusive it is. It can fit in my sholder bag no problem and compared to other 500mm primes is 1/6th the size.
When I took it outside for the first time I had no expectations other than length. In broad daylight the pictures were more than acceptable.. It went right to work and I'm amazed at how clear the images are although a bit soft. The automatic focus is pretty good, although it hunts a bit in low light. . I just let it do its thing and then put it in manual mode when I need to keep itlocked in place.
The iris blur I find to be pleasing and found myslef trying to replicate this unusual effect this unique lens creates. It's rarely a distraction. This might be one of minoltas best kept secrets and it is a shame more people haven't given it a try. Inside use it's useless do to the f8 aperature, but who the hell needs 500mm inside.
Which brings me to my next point. I shot all day up until sundown right when the sun was going over the horizon...guess what, I was still nailing shots away with this thing. Unless you do indoor sports or theatre photography then I'd say this is a must have. I mean, come on. 500mm in a light package WITH the only AF on a caterdioptic lens ever made for under 500 dollars! That's just plan perfect if you ask me. Extremely useful, cheap as hell, excellent images for the price and fun fun fun. Its just plain awesome.

Update 7/29/13:
I still have this lens and use it quite often. Most of my pictures are at the beach or off the porch during sunset capturing birds. Its still a solid lens, and I even had the chance to take it to Scotland this past year. But, to get the best out of it you need to keep the ISO low. Thats because the pictures are soft to begin with- add to that a lot of noise and you end up with a disappointing photo. My issue tends to be the solftness and noise. Once the sun tucks itself behind the clouds your pretty much screwed. You can still get some great shots, but the noise is pronounced and forget about moving targets. While my optimism is slightly less than when I first bought it, I still think its a fantastic bargain. The trick is knowing the conditions that allow it to shine. But the more nature I shot the more I want to capture objects and animals in motion. Its very difficult with this lens.
The other issue is the focusing. It does work, but It hunts a lot. I usually turn it off and manual focus- works well with sony's "peaking feature" and allows me to capture some movement of birds as the fly away from a stationary position I've already focused on.
You can't beat the price and unser the right conditions the pictures can be very good- even the bokeh. Its just very limited when motion is a factor when you need full on daylight. I'm looking at the new sony 70-400mm SSM II or maybe a minolta 300mm prime with a teleconverter.....all much much more expensive. I still plan on holding on to this though as I like the size factor and using it when the conditions are ideal.
reviewer#10679 date: Nov-9-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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:nothing
price paid:299 GBP
positive:Lightweight, compact, gets the competition staring
negative:none
comment:I have been after one of these for a good few years now and have missed out on a few, but after succesfully buying one and giving it a good run at a local wildlife park, I must say I am very impressed with the results despite the day being overcast and having to shoot at iso 800.

On the A700 with battery grip, the combination is well balanced and does not ache around the neck after being carried for a few hours, at the moment I cant fault it.

to check out the results so far, please visit my flickr site where you will find a dedicated set.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35699306@N04/



reviewer#10442 date: Aug-8-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 400mm
price paid:
missing
positive:Compact size and weight
Solid build
Interesting effects due to 'donuts' bokeh and centre only focus
negative:very soft on the edges, but thats not always a bad thing!
On the version i had, the clip/grip on the 'in lens' filter had broke.
comment:Absolutely loved this lens when i borrowed it for a couple of months, and have been hunting for one at a reasonable price ever since. This was on an A330, but also used one in a camera shop on my A77, and although its hard to compare, i believe the 2nd one was significantly sharper. This was however on a better camera with twice the pixels, and a different AF system.

As mentioned, the sprung clip that helps you remove the in lens filter was broken, but i imagine this was the owners fault.

Did however have some substance on the mirror. Could have been condensation, but didn't seem to disperse despite my attempts to dry it out, so may have been oil contamination from some internal parts. Probably worth lookin gout for before purchasing.

As is documented, its incredibly compact and light for the focal length and build quality/image quality, with some quirky image effects, like 'donut' bokeh and centre focus/soft edges. Plus it has AF, whilst the cheap 500mm mirror lenses available on ebay, etc do not. This lens is in another league compared to those, and worth grabbing if you have a chance!
reviewer#10261 date: Jun-4-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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:24mm f2,8
50mm f1.4
35-70mm f4
70-210mm f4
50mm Macro f2,8
100mm F2,8 macro
80-200mm f2.8
Sigma APO 300mm f4
Sony Zeiss 16-80mm f3,5-4,5
price paid:495 euro
positive:Compact size and lightweight for the long reach.
500mm mirror lens that has autofocus !!!, the only one of its kind .
Built like a tank
Huge focus ring

Sharp, very sharp,
No chromatic aberrations,
very good colour rendition, great colours and contrast,
fast and accurate auto-focus,surprising AF
almost no distortion.
good very detailed pictures






negative:close focusing distance,
sometimes doughnuts .
comment:I am very well impressed with this lens.
you get lots of focal length in a lightweight and small lens.
not to heavy, big but still very handy and easy to carry.
central hot-spot makes it easy to focus for me .

My copy is sharp even handhold, results with mono-pod /tripod are even better.
AF is very accurate and fast, flying birds requires practice .
Contrast is a bit less than other Minolta glass so color got 4 (in fact 4,5)
Bokeh is weird sometimes , I find the unusual bokeh not negative to me. Donuts can be avoided most of the time.


This is a great lens and with super steady shot active, it produces very well.
Even attached to an 2x teleconverter and although this will produce a focal length of 1000mm !

All in all, this is much more compact to my Sigma, meaning that I carry it around more...it's superb !

Not longer in production, Sony stopped making this wonderfully lenses .
So if you can buy one , don't hesitate .
It's an adorable lens and it becomes a collectible item
reviewer#9842 date: Jan-24-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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:Sony 70-300G
Tamron 200-400 LD IF
price paid:$325 CDN
positive:* Reasonable Sharpness
* Great Colors
* Light for carrying around
* No purple fringing
* Reach w/out drawing attention
negative:* Bokeh ( donuts, not a fan )
* hard to handhold
comment:On my A580, with ISO 400 I get 1/2000s easily in good light and ISO 800 1/500s on cloudy days when I go birding. This is ample speed to take SS off and get fast AF.

I find the IQ (IMHO) is equal to the above mentioned lenses at F8. As the lens is fairly light for its reach, I make sure to set my drive to 3 shot continuous and metering to spot and usually the middle photo is the keeper.

Overall, this is my first 500mm lens and first reflex lens, bought specifically for birding, for the price you wont be disappointed. A little unsharp mask and contrast boost helps.
reviewer#9778 date: Jan-11-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:70-400G
price paid:400 euro
positive:Size
Weight
500 mm!
Overall quality
negative:
missing
comment:I use an A580 and have a 70-400G, which is great. Bought the 500 reflex because it is small, low weight, has even more mm and can make great pictures. I have read all reviews on this wonderfull site and really wanted to have this lens. You need to understand what a 500 mm f 8 reflex lens means and use it accordingly. I do use a Sonia 82 mm hood extension, which improves contrast. Recommended! For me, this lens is a keeper.
reviewer#9568 date: Nov-9-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-300 Apo, Sony 70-200/2.8
price paid:500$ (used)
positive:Compact/lightweight, Fast focusing, focal range, cheap!
negative:Slow aperture, AF hunting in low-light, uneven resolution - mostly poor, sometimes pretty good resolution, center AF point ONLY.
comment:Amazing lens that has and will not have any mach - there is no other 500mm lens you can put to the pocket (a big one :D). Its results are quite uneven, sometimes i got very sharp images with lots of detail, however mostly - rather soft photos. It may be due to my lack of experience with such focal lenghth, althought I've been using with for a year already. It may also be that it's rather old unit, which lost its calibration and some parts already got loose (focusing ring is slightly loose - i can move it slightly sideways besides rotating it).Quite resistant to flare but when light source is in frame - strange, "artistic" things happen ;) Al in all it's very interesting lens that provide you sometimes very artistic and unusual results (you can bring this 50mm anywhere, anytme!) and sometimes let you take some decent wildlife/sport shots - but it requires lots of experience! I'll never sell it! although if there was f:5.6 version I'd go for it - f:8 is pretty dark, also AF hunts in low-light because of slow aperture.
reviewer#9493 date: Oct-12-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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:Zeiss 135/1.8
Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:300 GBP (used)
positive:price
sharpness
AF
weight
negative:F8
center spot AF only
rotating front element
lack of contrast
comment:Given the price, this is excellent glass. Unfortunately, unless a sunny day use tripod/mono pod (I bough one just for that) - hand shooting require 1:2k or less.
This lenses require training and specific conditions (lot of light) but when used correctly, this glass will deliver.
I used those for bird and outdoor sport shooting with great results. AF was reliable and pictures very sharp for sports, less so for birds - they are much more difficult target. Lack of contrast is visible but for nature shots it never was a problem. For industrial and portraits one, I was less pleased.

This is not in Zeiss league but outclass Minolta's Beercan. I like colors, probably just a tad worse then Zeiss/Beercan. I dont recomend MF those lenses unless you're on tripod.

I like donuts bokeh most of the time (might not appeal to all), and with careful framing they can be almost invisible - background need to be distant (30m or more). I used it as outdoor portrait lenses with pleasing results, fact that they are not as sharp as Zeiss is of benefit here.
With 500mm flare is hardly a problem unless U try to aim at sun.

Rotating front element is annoying since I tend to keep my hands on it, but people with smaller hands might not be affected as much.

UPDATE:
sharpness rating, cosmetic changes.
Contrast

reviewer#9442 date: Sep-23-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:
missing
price paid:500 USD (used/mint)
positive:Size & weight
AF unique to A mount
Price
negative:Fixed F8
comment:OK, I love this lens! At only 665 grams (1.5 lbs) it can & does travel with me. It is hand-holdable on my a55 if there is decent light.

The 500 Reflex is almost enough of a reason to use A mount, as neither CaNikon nor anyone else has a similar lens with AF. And the AF works amazingly well. Indeed, this lens exceeded my expectations in IQ and every other way, and it is getting used more than anticipated.

Some people have complained about the donut bokeh, but to me, in the few situations when it shows up, it adds character not provided by other lenses. As the computer geeks say: it's not a bug, it's a feature.

The fixed F8 is a little tricky, but shutter speed priority works nicely in tough lighting situations. Also, the front rotates when this thing focuses, so a circular polarizer is almost out of the question; you could put an 82mm UV filter on for protection if that's your thing.

It is unfortunate that Sony stopped production on the 500 Reflex. You can find good used ones generally for about what I paid -- do so and you won't be disappointed. It is a unique and very special lens.
reviewer#9396 date: Sep-6-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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:100-400APO
price paid:175 euro
positive:Size & weight
AF
negative:Bokeh
comment:Very nice and compact lens. Well build and very sharp for a mirror. Bokeh can be distracting but one has to learn to shoot with it. Sold it because I'm not a bird watcher and I wanted more versatility in range.
reviewer#9244 date: Jul-19-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
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:
missing
price paid:475 USD new
positive:Light easy to hand hold
Compact
Auto Focus
negative:f/8
wish it were a 100-500 :)
comment:
missing
reviews found: 90    1 2 3 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 90
  • sharpness: 4.35
  • color: 4.37
  • build: 4.62
  • distortion: 4.80
  • flare control: 4.32
  • overall: 4.49

to add your review
you need to login

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania