Hamiltondelta

page 14 of 23

A Pair of D-Lenses From Minolta: The 24-105mm f3.5-4.5 and the 100-300mm f4.5-5.6
by Vivid Light Staff

24-105 At a Glance
Filter Size:
62mm
Lens Hood:
N.A.
Weight: 15.9 oz
Dimensions:
2.7" x 2.8"
Front Rotate w/Focus:
No
Groups/Elements:
11/12 
Close Focus:
1.6' foot
Macro: No
Mounts: Maxxum only
100-300 At a Glance
Filter Size:
55mm
Lens Hood:
included
Weight: 17.1 oz
Dimensions:
2.9" x 4"
Front Rotate w/Focus:
Yes
Groups/Elements:
10/11 
Close Focus:
4' 9"
Macro: Yes
Mounts: Maxxum only

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Verdict: A solid lens, a little soft wide open at the long end

When we received our Maxxum 7 this month, Minolta also sent us two D lenses covering a range from 24mm to 300mm.  The D designation means that these lenses include Minolta's new distance encoder technology that works with the camera's multi-segment metering to analyze distance data as part of the exposure calculation.  This data is even more important when using a D compatible flash unit such as the 5600 HS(D) (reviewed this month).  Flash exposure is more accurate when the flash knows the subject distance and can factor it into the flash exposure calculation. 

We found both of these lenses to be solid performers for amateurs to advanced amateurs. The lenses paired up well with the Maxxum 7.  Pros, and those looking to move up, will look to Minolta's faster and sharper pro lenses.

24-105mm f3.5-4.5  
The 24-105mm was a particularly nice lens.  28-105mm is a more typical range, but by extending this lens on the wide range, Minolta has made a much more useful tool. While 4mm may not sound like much it makes a huge difference on the wide end of the spectrum.  24mm allows you to really open up an image and create a much greater feeling of space.  It also exaggerates the feeling of depth between foreground and background objects thereby giving you more creative choices when framing an otherwise average scene.

At the long end, 105mm is the perfect focal length for portraits, allowing you a good working distance from your subject with no distortion or compression of facial features.  Given the zoom range covered, it's likely that this will be the lens that will spend the most time on the camera.

The lens is light-weight with a black plastic finish on the exterior.  It's a two ring zoom.  Both rings are wide and covered with a rubber coating, making them easy to find by touch while your eye is pressed to the viewfinder.  The lens zooms quickly and quietly, snapping sharply into focus.  The front element doesn't rotate with zoom or focus making life easier for those of us using polarizers and graduated filters. 

Images were crisp at all focal lengths showing good detail and sharpness and a slightly high contrast level. 

Our only complaints were minor.  When we overrode the autofocus system and tweaked the lens manually, we found the manual focus ring to be a bit stiff.  We also experienced slight vignetting at 24mm when using a polarizer, but this is to be expected with a lens of this type.

All in all this is a very versatile lens that covers the focal lengths that most shooters will use most often - covering travel, scenic, and portrait shooting.

We found street prices to be around $400.

100-300mm 4.5-5.6
This is a lightweight zoom that picks up where the 24-105mm leaves off, taking you all the way out to 300mm.

The lens is light weight with a black plastic finish on the exterior.  It's a two ring zoom.  Both rings are wide and covered with a rubber coating, making them easy to find by touch while your eye is pressed to the viewfinder.  The lens zooms quickly and quietly snapping sharply into focus.  A twist lock lens hood is included that can be fitted normally for shooting or reversed for storage.

Images were crisp at all focal lengths, showing good detail and sharpness and a slightly high contrast level.  However we did see some softening of the image when shooting wide open at the long end of this lens.  Not uncommon in long lenses in this price range.

Our list of complaints is short and neither is serious.  The front element of the lens rotates when focusing, something you need to be aware of when using polarizers or graduated filters.  When we overrode the autofocus system and tweaked the lens manually we found the manual focus ring to be a bit stiff.

We found street prices to be around $400.

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24mm allows you to really open up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 zooms quickly and quietly, snapping  sharply into focus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamiltondelta
 

text and photography copyright 2001 Vivid Light Publishing