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

reviewer#11321 date: Aug-27-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300mm F4.5-5.6
Sigma 100-300mm EX DG IF APO F4
price paid:200 AUD (Used)
positive:Sharp for this type of lens and of 80's era design when compared to today's lenses.
Good flare control and first rate build quality.
negative:Sluggish focusing when compared to a more modern lens.
comment:I was lucky enough to pick one up in immaculate condition. Everything works as it should. Naturally, auto focusing is both a little sluggish and noisy, which is to be expected for a lens of this age, but for portraiture and general people shooting, it does the job just fine.

It will hunt a little in low light but again, nothing surprising in that it quickly reaches F5.6 as it's max aperture, although it can focus with a high degree of accuracy with sufficient light levels. Manual focusing is possible but the focus ring is very narrow, being less than 1 cm in width, which really points to it being designed for auto focus use throughout it's life. That said, slow moving or static subjects are its meat and drink. Fast movers such as sports and action subjects will be harder to manage with this lens as it wasn't particularly designed for that type of use. That's not to say that it can't be used for that type of photography, but it will be much harder to obtain satisfactory results.

IQ wise, it is quite excellent if handled with enough care and generous amounts of leeway with shutter speed and higher ISO values. I obtained a very high percentage of keepers with this lens. It does suffer for moderate purple fringing, but that's no issue with today's Post Processing software. Bokeh I found to be quite smooth and most pleasing even if not the most diffusing type of bokeh, it still performed exceptionally well. I can't say I noticed any distortion, which is not to say that there wasn't any but it is not that surprising considering it's telephoto zoom, I would expect much stronger distortion on a shorter focal length zoom such as with a wide to normal zoom.

Flare control was more than reasonable, with some improvement when using the hood. Even so, I didn't get much in the way of flare or ghosting when shooting back lit subjects. Colour rendition on this lens is superb with the authentic Minolta colours associated with these metal bodied beercan series of lenses, something to do with the way they made the glass back in the 1980's. Talking of the body, it has a tank like construction and not at all compact, all metal, no plastic - most excellent and reassuringly heavy. Possibly a disadvantage to some people who might prefer a lighter weight and more compact lens, in which case the newer 75-300mm plastic bodied variant might be the answer or the Minolta 100-300mm might better suit for its compactness compared to this lens. However, for durability and quality of feel, fit and finish, this lens is better made than most lenses made today.

Where this lens scores well for the money, is the sharpness, the colour rendition and build. I would rate this lens higher than the Minolta 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 in all areas, but a little below the Sigma 100-300mm F4 in focusing speed, sharpness, bokeh and CA, but ahead of the Sigma in terms of colour and build. That said, this lens cost 4 to 5 times less than the Sigma. For the money, this lens is highly recommended.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 82
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.84
  • build: 4.89
  • distortion: 4.57
  • flare control: 4.18
  • overall: 4.60
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