beercan; Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4
Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4The first generation body is made of metal. There is a focus limiter switch to speed up focusing. The lens and the Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4 lens are colloquially known as the "beercan" by Minolta/Sony camera users because their lens shape and size closely match the proportions of a typical aluminum beer can.
However, production slowed and then eventually stopped for both the AF and MD versions; its successors, the 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 and 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 had none of the qualities of the original and build and image quality decreased...
It remains popular, however, for use on digital single lens reflex cameras using the AF system, such as the Sony α. Although relatively bulky and weighty, the lens is valued for its solid build, sharpness, constant maximum aperture and smooth bokeh effect, though it suffers from more pronounced aberrations than equivalent modern designs. It provides a 1:4 magnification (at minimum focus, an object records at 1/4 its size on film or sensor).
For APS-C users; this is a good lens, and can be had for about the same amount of money as Sony telephoto zoom lenses in this category, but not with a constant F/4 aperture, because Sony doesn't offer one. The Minolta AF 70-210mm F/4 is well built, reasonably sharp at all apertures, and considering the constant F/4 aperture; very inexpensive. The main reason you would buy this lens is the use of F/4 at 210mm.
If you don't need the extra stop, buy the smaller and lighter Sony 75-300mm F/4.5-5.6, or the real diminutive (APS-C only) DT Sony 55-200mm (http://kurtmunger.com/sony_55_200mm_f_4_5_6_reviewid212.html), all for about the same amount of money. Many people in chat rooms claim this is the greatest telephoto zoom lens Minolta ever made, unfortunately, that's not true, it's good, but not that good. Again, if you really need the extra stop for low light shooting, go for it, if not, get the more useful Sony models, which have distance encoding, (used mostly for flash), and are much more portable. See the review of the excellent Minolta AF 100-200mm F/4.5 (constant), which is just as good as the 70-210mm F/4 lens.
100-200mm F/4.5 -->49mm
70-210mm F/4. -->55mm
Here's the really good news; overall, this lens performs much the same as the Minolta AF 70-210mm F/4, but usually sells for half the cost, and is much smaller and easier to carry around.
For those of you with $900, get the much more useful Sony 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 G SSM, or the way less expensive Tamron 70-300mm F/4-5.6.
Big BeercanThe Minolta 75-300mm F/4.5-5.6
The Minolta AF 75-300mm F/4-4.5 is one of the original Minolta AF tele-zooms from the mid-to-late 1980s. It's well built, with a minimum of plastic components, which makes it heavy for its size. Sony has a current lens (Minolta designed) with the same focal length, the Sony 75-300mm F/4.5-5.6, which is much lighter, smaller, and is not built as well. Sony also has a better lens than this, the Sony 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 SSM G.
Here are the good things about this lens; above average build quality with plenty of metal, and a nice focus limiter switch and focus distance window, it's nice and sharp at F/8 on the long end, near 75mm it's sharp wide open. The corners are almost as sharp as the centers, even with full frame coverage.
Now let's talk about the not-so-good things; both axial and lateral color fringing are very strong towards the long end, especially with full frame coverage, and much of it won't go away by stopping down. Manual focusing is a chore as the ring is at the end of the rather long barrel. There is some zoom creep if the lens is not kept level. This lens is large and heavy, much more so than the less expensive, same focal length Sony model mentioned above.
I can't help but think the Sony 75-300mm F/4.5-5.6 may be about as good as this lens. Both have the same color fringing issues. The Sony is smaller, lighter, has Distance integration, and a price tag of about half what you'd currently pay for the Minolta. I suppose they each have their place, and it all depends on someone's preferences. Personally, I'd stay away from both the above mentioned lenses and get the highly recommended Tamron 70-300mm F/4-5.6 USD for a little more money.
Minolta AF Zoom 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 2561-100, 2561-110, 2561-600, 2561-610 25611 Zoom 35mm 5-pin 55mm No No No 1985-08 Black finish
Minolta AF Zoom 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 New 2649-110 13? Zoom 35mm 5-pin 55mm No No No 1996 Black finish
Minolta AF Zoom 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 II 2665-110, 2665-160 13? Zoom 35mm 5-pin 55mm No No No 1999 Black or silver finish
Minolta AF Zoom 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (D) 2684-910, 2684-960 29 Zoom 35mm 8-pin 55mm Yes (distance encoder) No No 2001 Black or silver finish; succeeded by Sony SAL-75300
big beercan; Minolta-AF-Zoom-75-300mm 1:4.5-5.6http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Minolta-AF-75-300-F4.5-5.6-D_lens55.html
ZOOM MINOLTA AF 75-300 / 4,5-5,6 II black
Sony 75-300mm 1:4,5-5,6 Macro - SAL75300
(200€ sony new)
sigma AF 75-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 (BOF)http://www.ebay.fr/itm/objectif-zoom-sigma-af-75-300mm-1-4-5-5-6-pour-sony-alpha/182619561023?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140620091323%26meid%3D61ff5bffbf0f4ababaa9b14599a73dc2%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D162558888795
or the APO:
Sigma 70-300 mm 4-5.6 DG Macro 58 mm
Tamron SP 70-300 mm 4-5.6 Di USD 62 mmnot the old Tamron Objectif AF 70-300mm F/4-5,6 Di LD IF Macro 1/2
225€ rebuy TBE
Tamron 70-200 f2.8The Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) macro telephoto zoom lens is made in Japan and features a constant fast aperture of F/2.8 with a typical Tamron build quality, meaning the fit and finish are nice, with a metal mount, but there is plenty of plastic to run your hand over, including the zoom ring, focusing ring, and most of the forward barrel section. It looks like metal is used in the first section from the mount area.
This lens was designed for a full frame camera. If you have an APS-C camera, the equivalent capture area will be 105mm-300mm. If you want to know what the ridiculously long name of this lens means, look no further. The "SP" means "super performance," and "AF" means auto focus (duh), Di means it's made for full frame use, "LD" stands for "low dispersion" glass to correct for chromatic aberrations, also known as color fringing, "IF" stands for "internal focus," which means the lens doesn't extend in length when focused, and finally, "Macro" means it can focus quite closely, down to almost a third life size in this case.
The Tamron SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) macro lens is a low cost alternative to the more expensive Sony model, also tested here. Is it worth it? It all depends on what's important to you.
Build quality is not great like the Sony, and the slot/screw drive focusing system is slow, but pretty accurate. Unfortunately, there are no focus hold or focus limiter buttons to help out, that's the down side. On the up side, the lens performs very well optically, with relatively low distortion, good control of both axial and lateral color fringing, although color fringing is noticeable along the sides at the short end to about 135mm.
The Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 is slightly soft wide open at all zoom lengths, although F/2.8 results become more soft as you near 200mm. However, by stopping down to F/4 the centers and mid-sections look quite sharp and are totally usable at all focal lengths. The full frame mid-sections and corners need about an extra stop to sharpen up and match APS-C results in most cases, but that's very predictable and normal. My verdict; good image quality from F/3.5-11, and very good image quality from F/4-8.
Use thoughts; Wedding photography; it should work fine (before the booze), if you're wanting to take pictures at a football game from the cheap seats in daylight or with good stadium lighting, the Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 will perform well. If you're near the sidelines trying to catch the action close by, or shooting events like high-energy rock concerts, I'd probably go for the more expensive Sony 70-200mm F/2.8 G, which has faster focusing along with a focus limiter and focus hold buttons. Bottom line; the Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 is well worth the price if you don't need fast focusing.