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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:35 am 
Well, I wanted to do a series of reviews on some Minolta lenses for a while, so here's the first one on the Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6.

Image

^ That's the lens right there

I'll start with the basic Pro's and Con's of this lens:

Pro's:
-Good budget level telephoto lens.
-Nice reach of 70mm to 210mm.
-Built well.
-Large lens hood.
-Advantage for filters = smaller diameter size at only 49mm.
-Lens "button". (Used for either a DOF preview or Focus Hold button). Changeable through camera menu's.
-No "Creep"
-Focal Focus length window
-Separate focus ring is smooth.
-Focal zoom ring is large with a good grip, and is smooth.

Con's:
-The small diameter can be a con for some people.
-Focus Ring is a bit thin and a little hard to comfortable get to. It's faster to move the actual lens barrel to focus than to get the focus ring.
-Barrel reach is quite long, in addition to more reach when you focus.
-Focus speed is fairly slow. It's actually very slow to be honest.
-Aperture isn't that big, but again, it's a budget level lens.
-Auto Focus is a pain most times. This lens really has a fairly hard time focusing on something in anything outside of direct sunlight, and also on the smaller objects like small flowers. You'll be better off in Manual Focus.
-Not a very sharp lens. Stopped down to f/8+, you begin to notice a bit more sharpness, but still not that much.
-Fairly noisy when it comes to focusing. And with the speed that it focuses in, it can really frustrate you.

Neither bad or good:
-Bokeh isn't that bad, but it's not the greatest. I wouldn't put the bokeh in the Cons, but I wouldn't jump to say it's a big Pro. It's decent.


Overall, my opinion on this lens is that it's a solid lens for the price that you can find it for. I think it's a good telephoto for someone who want's a good start, or for someone who needs something and can't spend too much. It's a solid lens to have in your camera bag if you don't have any other telephotos.

For me, it does the job, but like everything, there are easier, better, and of course more expensive lenses that when used, will obviously outperform this one. But it's just a matter of how much you want to spend, and what you want/need out of a lens.

Here are a couple of quick sample shots with the lens, and the DOF/Bokeh you can expect. I do apologies for the photo's being fairly bad. I just quickly had to run out and get them as I'm in a bit of a rush. So once again, sorry for the poor images.


These are all straight out of the camera, and uploaded. I will also post a series of very very basic editing on the same shots:



#1

Image

Info:
Camera: Sony A100
Lens: 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6
Exposure time: 1/200 at f/5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Auto
Metering: Spot
Aperture Priority Mode
Focal length = 210mm
In camera sharpness set at +2 (Due to lack of sharpness from my lenses :lol: )




#2:
Image

^Just to show DOF and Bokeh. Otherwise composition sucks :lol:

Info:
Same equipment.
ISO: 100
WB: Auto
Exposure: 1/200 at f/5.6 (I stopped down the exposure compensation due to overexposure of the background)
Exposure compensation: -0.7
Focal Length: 210mm
Spot Metering
Aperture Priority

-----------------------------


And the edited images:

Image


Image


-----------------------


So yeah, if you have any questions on this lens, feel free to ask. Hope this helped, and I will post more lens reviews soon.

Best wishes,
-Sean.

P.S. Sorry if this has been posted before :? I forgot to search :idea:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:07 am 
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That's a great review Sean, nice work. I have question: Do you find the 210mm focal length to short at times? As you know, I'm still saving for the 70-200mm and I think that for some occassions, 200 (or in this case: 210mm) would be way too short. Could I work with it, or is there really need for a teleconverter (1.4x)?

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:31 pm 
Thanks for the comment Bjorn.

I'll be honest, when you think about 210mm, you'll think, Wow that's a lot. But really, when your in the field, almost always you will wish it was longer.

For me, I think 210 (or 200) is a great focal length for some occasions, but not for all.

For portraits, and commercial photography, as well as some outdoor nature/close-up shot's, 200-210mm is a fine length. But when something is far away, you'll need that extra zoom. So lenses like 70-300, 100-400 etc' are ideal. Or a teleconverter.

For Sport's and action shots at a distance, I think 210 or 200 will be a bit short. But it will depend on your distance.

So to answer your question, Yes. I do find that 210mm is a bit short for some things, and I find myself attempting to move the zoom ring past it's limit, only to find that I have reached the maximum.

It all depends on what you plan on shooting. 210mm is a little more telephoto on the cropped sensors, but still a little short for some occasions.

Best,
-Sean.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:59 pm 
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Thanks for your answer Sean! I already feared 200mm would be short for some occassions. I'd love to do some nature-photography (wildlife), and I know 200mm is too short for that. I hope Sony will come with a 400mm F4 (which would be like **** expensive, but OK...) or a 400mm F5.6, both with SSM though, for wildlife photos. I might also buy a 1.4x teleconverter sometime, to give me a max. range of 280mm (or 420mm).

- Bjorn -

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Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:17 pm 
Bjorn:
how about buying the Big Beercan? its 70-300, and that should be plenty of range! :p


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:18 pm 
The problem with the beer can models are the lack of an f/2.8 aperture, or a fixed f/2.8 aperture. So they aren't as fast, sharp, and ideal for low-light situations or for fast exposures.

Best,
-Sean.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:24 pm 
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Sdrummer wrote:
The problem with the beer can models are the lack of an f/2.8 aperture, or a fixed f/2.8 aperture. So they aren't as fast, sharp, and ideal for low-light situations or for fast exposures.

Yes, that's also the issue for me. If I'd buy a long telephoto lens, I'd want it to have a large maximum aperture (at least F4, preferably F2.8 ) and be a prime too. Zooms can be very useful because they're versatile and easy to use, but the IQ is not as good.
I had a good look at the 300mm F2.8G SSM from Sony yesterday, and though it doesn't seem that large to me, it'd be hard to fit in my bag :D . Imagine a 400mm!
I won't buy a longer lens for quite a while though. I might get a 1.4x TC sometime, to go with the 70-200mm, giving a 280mm F4 maximum focal length. Too bad the TC is pretty expensive too!

- Bjorn -

_________________
Street and documentary photographer | Google+ | Twitter

Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux


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