Minolta AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by radi9red

reviewer#29685 date: Sep-8-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210mm f4
sony 70-300mm f4-5.6 G lens
Tamron 70-300mm F4-5.6mm
price paid:$60 USD
positive:+ Value for money
+ World war 2 tank built ( metallic big beercan style)
+ 300mm macro function ( many users didn't realize you can reduce the focus distance at 300mm and focus really near)
+ full frame sensor compatible
negative:+ heavy comparing to the modern lens
+ physical size long when unzoomed at 75mm
comment:At current 2016 market price where Minolta lens for Minolta-Alpha mount are dirt cheap , this lens offers excellent Price vs performance ratio. This is the original Minolta lens line up since the 1980-1989s where lens optics used are truely glass and lens body shell is metallic , AF is the noisy metal gearings for AF (but it's incredible robust) and can survive hard knocks or falls without AF failure.

I would recommend you consider this lens, if you are an occasional shooter of wildlife or events , you probably doesn't wish to splurge on a lens of this focal length that you seldom used. Notably so if your intention of getting this length is to extend the reach to 300MM. The best part of buying cheap old lens is you probably doesn't mind if this lens body get scratched or dented in extreme natural environment since the price is ridiculously low and yet it can produce outstanding photos in the right hands. Slapping this lens on a Sony A99 full frame , you can even turn on the crop mode and the lens would provide a 450mm focal cropped view.

The sony 70-300mm G grade and sony 70-400mm G grade will definitely beat this lens at least by 20% optical performance output but you must be prepared to pay 8-15 times the cost of this lens. You can easily bridge the optical resolution from this big beercan lens by PP (CA removal, unsharp mask etc).

The AF speed of this lens is pretty ok. Takes around 0.5 to 0.8 sec to focus generally. It does sometimes hunt in very dim environment - but that generally improves via the AF technology in modern bodies ( example : A77 mark II)

Sharpness is pretty excellent , centres are mostly sharp wide open , a little of PP unsharp mask will make it look really fabulous. The corners are generally softer but not mushy. The lens does have slight "halo flaring" effect - typical of old film era lens ( similar to Minolta beercan 70-210mm f4).

On the other hand, the film era lens might seems like a flaw, but due to the simple optical design of most film era lens, the photos output generally does look more 3D and natural comparing to modern zoom that has multiple optical groups for optical correction and modern digital lens tend to look sharper across the frame and also "flatter" ( suitable for modern photographers who enjoys pixel peeping.)

This big beercan produces the legendary Minolta colours, warm and saturated, creamy soft bokeh. If you like lens with more micro details, micro contrast , then you should go buy the modern Sony G grade zoom lens. Again at current resale price, I would seriously recommend this lens.

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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