Quick look: bargain lens of the week: can it replace the Sony FE 70-200mm f4?

Quick look: bargain lens of the week: can it replace the Sony FE 70-200mm f4?

Shot with the Minolta 100-200 f4.5 at 200mm and f5.6 in crop mode with the Sony A7r, hand held
Have you been lusting after the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 OSS but can’t justify buying one?

Size comparison with the Zeiss Fe 55mm
I don’t regret replacing my Sony FE 70-200mm with the Zeiss 135mm f1.8, a lens I constantly use, however, once in a while, a zoom would be a lot more practical. Assuming you already have the LA EA4 adapter, you might find the Minolta af 100-200mm f 4.5 interesting. This is a tiny, constant aperture, super light and surprisingly sharp lens (at f5.6 and 8).
See image above, compared to the Zeiss FE 55mm 1.8
You can usually find them on ebay for around $75.

The Good:
constant aperture f4.5
well build
almost no focus shift when zooming from 200 to 100mm
49mm filter thread
good to very good optical quality, best at f8, very compact
great Minolta color (fits right in with Sony and Sony Zeiss lenses)
super light
okayish af speed, good accuracy
surprisingly little color fringing
weight about 14 oz

The Bad:
Lens barrel extends and rotates, only a problem with certain filters
short focus throw, not great for mf, still acceptable
minimum focus distance 2 meters/just under 7 feet, even at 100mm
(For close ups, use extension tubes, works great)
Bokeh rather harsh (7 bladed aperture)
noisy af
corners soft, pincushion distortion towards 200mm noticeable

There you have it, this is neither a cream machine nor the sharpest lens by current standards but wonderful for travel/landscape photography where minimum distance isn’t an issue and one can work at optimal apertures. There really isn’t much to dislike about this lens. This lens will have a constant place in my bag!
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3 thoughts on “Quick look: bargain lens of the week: can it replace the Sony FE 70-200mm f4?

  1. Mark Lewis

    The great thing about the Sony cameras is that MF is so re-assuring thanks to magnification and peaking. This, along with the smaller body size, was why I left Nikon for Sony. Certainly wasn’t for the battery life!

  2. Mark Lewis

    I have the 70-200 f4 and love it, but I also bought a Nikon 70-150 f3.5 E to compare. It’s certainly smaller, and lighter (and slightly faster!). 150mm is not quite 200mm, but as part of a travel kit, it could work awesomely.

    Always love reading your blog!

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