Build quality (Illustrations coming soon!)
Measuring 93mm from the metal lens mount to the seemingly-metal filter thread, this lens has a outer shell made of a plastic which is very similar to the one that's on my Sony 18-70mm lens.
It came with a crappy rear lens cap. The Minolta rear lens caps are really awful. They fit in only at one point (unlike Canon's, which fits in at three) and the arrow-shaped marking is small and a little difficult to locate. The worst part about this lens cap is that its terribly loose. I don't know if this is due to age, because it might be, but it just keeps falling out when I put it in a bag that's brought around! If this was a new lens, it would be a terrible rear lens cap. At least it is white-coloured (a little translucent too) so finding it in an unlit bag's compartments is not a military operation.
There was no hood for this lens, though it might have been misplaced by its owner's students several years ago. I found it with a Minolta lens cap and a Hakuba 49mm 1A filter. A Google search on the latter produced results which provided information on a "Hakuba 1A" filter being a Skylight filter.
The lens cap is fine, but its of a side-pinching style, so it wouldn't be very nice to use if there was a hood - except that there isn't one...
Just 1mm forward of the metal lens bayonet mount is the 3mm-wide&long orange dot which acts as an indicator for aligning the lens to the camera body's bayonet mount when mounting the lens.
The orange dot lies on a 6mm-long 'bar', which is the non-moving plastic part between the lens mount and the zoom ring. Other residents of the bar include 4 2.5mm screws, a white line which points at the selected focal length, the serial number, and the word "Japan".
The moving part of the zoom ring is 44mm long, although the rubberised part makes up 34mm of it. A little over 1 centimetre of space is given to the focal length markings - 70, 100, 135 and 210.
The rubber on the zoom ring is a little smooth, but its fine this way since the diagonal indents (4mm wide and 3cm long) provide the rest of the friction. The zoom ring turns with some stiff action, and something tells me that this hasn't disappeared with age.
It extends by 4.7cm (when focused to infinity) when zoomed from 70mm to 210mm. This brings the total lens' length to 14.05cm when measured from the lens mount to the filter thread.
After the zoom ring is a 2.75cm long section which has a focus hold button (this pauses the AF operation), the Minolta logo and name, a focusing distance window with values in feet and metres (and a "macro" distance marked out), and the shortened name of the lens (AF 70-210).
In front of the 2.75cm long section is a 1mm gap before the focus ring.
The focus ring is made of smooth rubber, common for many Minolta lenses. [It can also be found on the Sony 50mm f/1.4 lens and 35mm f/1.4 G lens] This focus ring works pretty smoothly, but it isn't really damped - its partially slowed down by gears turning. It suffers from the occasional very slight jerk while it's being turned. This 1cm long ring has the lens' manufacturer's name, its own name and the filter thread's diameter printed on it.
The lens extends by 1.7cm when the focus is changed from 1.1m to infinity.
Being a compact consumer telephoto zoom, this lens is significantly lighter than my camera body, which makes it a tiny bit difficult to aim precisely at a subject when photographing it and hand-holding the camera. I do not have a weighing scale that can precisely measure items under a kilogram
in weight, so I have to apologise for being unable to provide a number for this lens' mass.
That's about it for the build quality. Moving on to the optical qualities!