In 1988 Minolta produced a 70-210mm f/4 lens that was fairly popular amongst Minolta film camera users, but which slipped out of production in the late 90’s. This lens was often referred to as the “beercan” due to it’s shape and size.
The lens is experiencing a renaissance and has become very popular with users of the Sony line of digital SLR cameras as it’s completely compatible and is optically very powerful and optically superior to most kit lenses and other lenses in it’s class. The price is very appealing as well when you consider that a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens will set you back anywhere from $800 to $2000. The Minolta “beercan” shows up on EBay fairly frequently and if you play your cards right, can be obtained for around $200-$250 depending on conditon. I’ve seen them sell for as much as $350 to $450 on rare occasions. I suspect the price is going up as Sony users become more common and set out looking for glass that performs well.
Known for its sharpness, rich color rendition and smooth creamy bokeh, the Minolta 70-210mm f/4 has become more sought after and more highly prized by the growing legions of Sony dSLR enthusiasts giving the lens a cult like status amongst Sony users.
I just took delivery on my personal beercan and it’s AWESOME! I found it via a Minolta dealer online and bypassed the ridiculous EBay bidding wars altogether. I won’t say what I paid for it, but it’s in near mint condition and I got a good deal. I have another one coming tomorrow and I plan to resell it.
Seeing it on my Sony Alpha 700 just gives me the happy
I haven’t played with it much, but here are some test shots using two of my most reliable models:
You can see the original sizes of the above images here and here if you are interested.