Opinion on replacing Minolta AF 100-400 APO.

Started Jan 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
WaltKnapp
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Re: Opinion on replacing Minolta AF 100-400 APO.
In reply to yihlee, Feb 9, 2013

yihlee wrote:

Better IQ is really what I'm after. Just don't know where to go and how much to spend for how much improvement.

The last Minolta lenses I bought were 17-35D, 75-300D and 28-70D, a year before Minolta went belly up. Any lens manufactured after that year would be new to me. Any first hand experiences would be useful. Different voices are always welcome.

I went from the 100-400 APO to the Tamron 200-500, which was slightly better IQ and of course more reach.  I had a Tamron 200-400 that I got cheap that I played with but never considered it as a main series lens in my system.  It's a push-pull lens which can make things awkward. I also had the Sigma 170-500, which was easily beaten by the Tamron 200-500 or even the Minolta 100-400 APO

I later replaced the Tamron 200-500 for most uses with the Sony 70-400G and the 70-300G, buying the 70-400G first and later the 70-300G for when I did not need so much reach as it's smaller and lighter.  Both of these will give you noticeably better IQ than the Minolta 100-400 APO and some better than the Tamron 200-500.

Note I have no plans of buying into the rumored "new" 70-400G II from Sony. Why spend money for a lens that you currently have that gives excellent IQ? It's not usually the lens that limits the IQ when I shoot with the 70-400G.  It's definitely the photographer, and I'm not getting younger or more steady.

Note that your optimum IQ with any of these long lenses is likely to come from using a tripod designed for that long focal length and a gimbal head on the tripod like the Wimberly or CB Gimbal.  I use the Gitzo GT3541XLS or GT5541LS with the CB Gimbal currently. The larger tripod of those two is better for long lens than the smaller. I do also use a shoulder mount at times when the big lenses are not mobile enough.

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