I was asked by my co-worker/friend David if I would accompany him to the
crack house Camera Exchange. He had decided to purchase a digital camera and wanted my “expertise” as he entered this new and exciting realm of photography. Not being one to turn down a chance to go look at the pretty pretty camera equipment I agreed to tag along.
I introduced him to my favorite
dealer sales guy and proceeded to have a look in the used equipment case. Usually they don’t have much for the Sony/Minolta platform but on this day as David and Charlie discussed the Nikon D90 and some lenses, there was a sparkling gem of used Minolta goodness.
A Minolta AF 500/8 Reflex lens and available for a very reasonable price.
I’d read a bit about this lens and it’s a remarkable piece of glass for what it is and for the price. Whereas the average 500mm reflex lens tends to be a manual focus, the Minolta/Sony 500mm Reflex lens is the only production mirror lens designed to auto focus with an SLR camera.
Very light and very compact it’s easy to carry around. Since it shoots at a constant F/8 aperture it is not a low-light performer, but @ 500mm it will literally reach out and touch someone. The re-tooled Sony version runs twice as much as what you can pic up this older Minolta version for on the secondary market and this one was priced well below even that so it was a good bargain.
In good light this lens produces good results and gives me more reach in my birding and wildlife photography. The first few test shots are quite encouraging. All of these images are un-cropped and only resized to be more reasonable for web viewing. Click any image to see a larger version.
It is not super super sharp, but the color and contrast is good. I think it will serve me well.