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-   -   100-200mm lens (

cuzz57 Feb 23, 2006 8:49 PM

Is the
Minolta Maxxum 100-200mm 1:4.5 AF Zoom w/Hood & Caps considered to be one of the better quality lens by Minolta.

JimC Feb 24, 2006 12:23 AM

By most accounts, the 100-200mm f/4.5 is a sharp lens, but best used in optimum lighting, and reported to have relatively slow Autofocus. I saw one comment on another forum that it's sharp but can be a bit prone to CA and flare (as many lenses are in some conditions, especially older lenses).

My advise....

Unless you have a genuine need to replace your 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 (which you indicate works great on your 5D), then don't.

You're looking at lot of lenses that are probably going to have very little if any quality difference compared to your existing 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 in most conditions. You also see quality variations between lenses, and you may have a better than average copy of yours, and may get a worse than average copy of another lens.

If you have a genuine need for a lens that's brighter and sharper, look at higher quality lenses. Depending on whether or not it's the high speed version, you can probably pick up a Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 on the used market for around $800

A new Minolta 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM will set you back around $1,700.00. But, they're pretty hard to find, and sold at fast when dealers did have them in stock.

The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX APO (DG or non-DG versions) are well liked and considered to be a bargain in a higher quality 3rd party lens. They run around $800 brand new. I'd get the DG version if the price was the same, since the coatings are supposed to be better optmized for digital.

If you shop carefully on the used market, you may be able to pick up an older Sigma 70-210mm f/2.8 APO for about half that much (different design compared to the newer 70-200mm f/2.8 EX APO). But, some older Sigmas have some compatiblity issues, so make sure you're getting a specific lens known to work correctly on a KM DSLR. Chances are the coatings won't be quite as good on the older lenses for flare resistance either.

If you're looking for something more "in the middle" in quality compared to your 80-200mm and the higher quality f/2.8 zooms, look around for a Minolta 70-200mm f/4. You could find these for under $100 not too long ago. But lately, they've been selling for closer to $200.00 used. Again, there's no guarantee that you'll get a better than average copy of a used lens, so you'll see some quality variations between them.

These are well liked zoom lenses in this focal range, and you're probably not going to do any better unless you're prepared to spend much more.

If you're shooting in better light, you may not see that much difference between most of the less expensive zoom lenses anyway, unless you're shooting at wide open apertures and comparing image quality carefully for critical review.

Also, if you buy a higher quality f/2.8 zoom with the same focal range as you've got, you'll have a much larger and heavier lens, and you may not like lugging one around, either.

I wouldn't want to lug one around with me all the time. But, some users don't mind.

Any lens is a compromise (size, weight, build quality, optical quality, autofocus speed, ergonomics, brightness, focal range, cost, etc.).

Again, my advise is that unless you have a genuine need to replace your 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 (which you indicate works great on your 5D), then don't.

B1ue Feb 24, 2006 12:21 PM

I have a 100-200 lens and like it a lot. With prices going crazy, it's one of the few good KM zooms you can still find under $100. Best used for outdoor shots. I don't use it with AF. One thing I find is that it's easy to be off the focus point by a miniscule amount, especially in lower light. But I've taken some very sharp images in optimal light and nice macros as well. Haven't experienced any CA problems so far.

But I agree with Jim, if you already have the 80-200mm, why duplicate the range?

tmoreau Feb 24, 2006 4:10 PM

I just bought a 100-200/4.5 to replace my 70-210/4.5-5.6, and I feel that it was very well worth it. I have no expierience at all with the 80-200, I don't know how that would compare.

The size, feel, and aparent build quality of the 100-200 is great. I havent used it a great deal yet, but the results so far have been excellent. The size of this lens is not very much bigger than the kit lens, where the 70-210/4 is about 50% longer. Its also 3/4 of a pound lighter than the 70-210.

I havent used the 70-210/4 so I dont know how the results compare, but going by the specs (and price!) I prefer the 100-200!

nooner Feb 24, 2006 6:47 PM

Look for a Minolta 70-210 3.5-4.5. I got one and a 70-210 F4 and they're real close. Ebay has them for under $100 if you shop around.

JimC Feb 24, 2006 7:12 PM

Most users of the 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 seem to like it.

I do remember seeing one head to head comparison by someone that has both, indicating that the 70-210mm f/4 is superior.

Scroll down on THIS PAGE and you'll see some test photos with crops posted from both lenses by Jedidiah Smith, starting with the post title "Redid entire are some photos"

But, that gets back to differences between copies of lenses, too. One may have been a better than average copy and one may have been an average or below average copy.

nooner Feb 24, 2006 7:28 PM

I saw that a long time ago. He was shooting a map and I found the test a little lacking. All I know is from real world experiences they are very close. The 3.5-4.5 is smaller lighter and focuses faster. 2 cents;)

JimC Feb 24, 2006 7:40 PM

The 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 is a newer lens design, and it looks like the user performance surveys at rate it as a bit better for flare. It may have better coatings for all we know. Or, there may not be any real difference due to survey errors you'll have with opinions. The 70-210mm f/4 tends to be a bit higher in a couple of other areas in the survey (for example, sharpness wide open on the long end). But, in the end, they're very close.

But, you really can't tell how many responders were using film versus digital, and with digital, you're using the sweet spot of a lens.

Also, opinions are subjective, and survey results can be impacted by a user's expectations (if they think their 70-210mm f/4 should be better, then they may subconciously rank it better). ;-)

And, you can have variations in performance betwen the same make and model of a lens (especially if you're talking used lenses that may have been banged around over the years).

nooner Feb 24, 2006 9:17 PM

Take a look at this post for a comparson of the 70-210 F4 and F3.5-4.5 plus the 100-200 and 100-300APO. It's down a bit and it's by ECCL.

JimC Feb 24, 2006 9:53 PM


It looks better in that test. But, as he said:

"... bear in mind the test I conducted was from what I have and sample variance does exist for any lenses."

I also noticed Jim N'az made some comments on 3 copies of the 70-210 f/4 that he tested if you remember that long thread from dpreview about this lens not long ago.

One was softer compared to the other two at wider apertures, with one "several notches up" compared to the other 2 (and sharp enough that he decided to return his 80-200mm f/2.8G, since he decided the differences in the better 70-210mm f/4 and the G were too small).

So, it's going to be more "luck of the draw" whether or not you get a better or worse than average copy buying a used lens.

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