Check out the latest, and last Minolta lens review, at least the last Minolta lens I have on hand to review. The Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 turned in a so-so performance. It really looks better at the long end than the much more popular Minolta AF 70-210mm F/4 beer can, but at the short end, things start to look awful as you move away from the centers of the image. Out of focus background highlights are very smooth at the long end, even wide open, and look slightly better than the beercan. If you plan on using this lens at full zoom, I would recommend it, (but don’t pay very much), as it’s reasonably sharp wide open in the centers, the image periphery is relatively sharp, and it has a smooth bokeh.
I used the stamp subject for this review because I didn’t want to deal with massive heat shimmer, (prevalent this time of year in Tucson, AZ), which messes up the shots, especially at longer focal lengths. Don’t compare the other stamp crops, like the 200mm zoom shoot out with these, as they were taken at a different distance, with possible different exposure values. Also, I used the A900 for the review, with the usual A700 macro shot. If you want to know how the corners look on an APS-C camera, just look at the mid-level crops, they were taken at the approximate APS-C corners. I’m trying to avoid using the A700 too much, as it’s about worn out, and Sony doesn’t have anything to replace it with yet.
The retail price of this lens was about $376.00 fifteen years ago, that’s roughly $530 in today’s money, so the lens was rather expensive back in the day, maybe more so than the beer can. Although the price of this variable aperture zoom is pretty cheap on eBay now, I wouldn’t buy it over the constant aperture beercan if you’re in the market for a zoom lens with this range.