Playing with old Minolta AF glass

MarlaNov13-25Minolta 70-210/4 a.k.a. “the Beercan”

So, where were we ? Oh yeah, I was starting to collect A mount glass to accomodate my soon-to-be-delivered FF Sony A7, since Sony released this body *without* much of a lens line-up to go with it (lol).

Has11Nov13-19PMMy good pal Claude, a looong time Minolta user, has loaned me a bunch of older AF minolta lenses to play with. I currently mount them on my NEX 7 using the Sony LA-EA4 SLT AF adapter, which works as advertised.

Has11Nov13-22PMMinolta AF 28-135/4-4.5, wide open

I got myself a Beercan to replace the Minolta 70-210/3.5-4.5 I was less than impressed with, despite its awesome color signature. The 70-210 constant F4 zoom has quite a cult following, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Has11Nov13-12PMMaybe I am spoiled by top notch modern lenses, like the Sigma 24-70/2.8 HSM I recently aquired, of the Sony 16-50/2.8 I tried a while back, but I am sad to report that the beercan hardly impresses me any more than the 3.5-4.5 version…

Has11Nov13-07PMSure, it is a *bit* sharper than the 3.5-4.5 I had, with the same lovely color rendering, but even warmer, which makes it a bit extreme. Purple fringing is quite present, but responds well to a little post processing.

Has11Nov13-10Marla found a new “pony” nearby the outdoor arena

Has11Nov13-08PMGwen schooling a youngster

Has11Nov13-04PMColors really are nice, bokeh could be much smoother

FeuillesNov13-0128-135/4-4.5 again

So what is my take on those older lenses ? The 24-85/3.5-4.5 and 28-135/4-4.5 are good lenses, sharp from max aperture. AF is not the most blazing fast, but adequate. While the 24-85 is lighter and partly plastic, both 28-135 and 70-210/4 seem to be mostly metal. They’re dense, solid, and quite heavy.



Has11Nov13-01I almost bought the Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM DG Macro II this week, which happens to be my favorite AF lens of all times. The deal fell through (not on my end). While it was not a very reasonable purchase and my bank balance will be healthier for it, I still sorely regret I didn’t get it.


Has11Nov13-05PMToday we had beautiful colors, and lovely autumn light




Has11Nov13-06PMSo what’s the morale of that story ? As far as glass and IQ is concerned… There is no free lunch. To think a 90€ lens (shipped) will perform like a 700€ one is just… dumb. Expensive glass is (usually) expensive for a reason : it’s good. Cheap glass is, well, you get the idea.

Has11Nov13-09PMIn other words, if I want a well performing telezoom, I gotta pay the price. There are some excellent longer and not so expensive options (the Tamron 70-300 versions, both LD Macro and USD come to mind) BUT they’re slower in aperture, with max 5.6 at the long end. That’s a bit slow for my needs.

Has11Nov13-13PMA F4 constant zoom would work OK, and be lighter than a 2.8 one. But there is no such thing as of November 2013. In April 2014 Sony will release the FE 70-200/4 OSS, for the modest price of 1200€ (tongue in cheek).

Has11Nov13-20PMEmilie, Mathilde and Marla fooling around a bale of hay





Has11Nov13-18PMLooks like it’ll be cheaper to find another Sig 70-200/2.8. Until then I might try the Tamrons 😉

Has11Nov13-24PMAnd that’s a very cosy kitty with my trusty SEL35/1.8 OSS


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Playing with old Minolta AF glass

  1. CKL says:

    My experience is that the beercan is sharp with f5.6 on a tripod. With f4.0 it’s ok, but f5.6 is better. But don’t believe the hype and expect miracles.. It’s good, but it’s not perfect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s