The Minolta 70-210 f/4 aka “the Minolta beercan”. The best price / performance telephoto of the classic Minolta zoom lenses. This lens was rumored to have been jointly developed with Leica. It has a constant f4 aperture, internal zoom and internal focus. The optical qualities are excellent; sharp, good color, contrast and very nice bokeh (out of focus areas). It lacks the extreme contrast of some modern lenses but more than makes up for that in other areas given how easy this is to boosted in post-production if needed.
This lens is classified as “macro” meaning that it can focus on subjects as close as 1100mm (3.6 feet) but honestly that is not much of a macro at a maximum of 1:4 magnification. Focusing at close distances might also be challenging, so switching to manual, focusing to minimum distance and moving the camera to obtain object focus might be the best approach.
The build quality is also excellent. It has no equals in its price range – in my opinion of course – its just one of the best Minolta lenses.
Some of these lenses came with a metal hood and others plastic – both from the factory that way. The metal version is slightly nicer but it is very rare. Also over the years that this lens was produced, apparently with several different lens element coatings. So some examples might have different color casts (reflections) in the lens elements when examining the lens itself. I’ve tested and can determine NO different in image quality between them.
When buying, do not mistake the Minolta 70-210 f4 for the inferior newer versions, AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5 or AF 70-210 F4.5-5.6.