Lens decision: Minolta APO HS 80-200mm vs Tamron SP 70-200mm USD f/2.8

Minolta 80-200mm f2.8 APO AF High Speed and Tamron 70-200mm SP USD IF

I bought Minolta AF APO 80-200mm f/2.8 HS (High Speed) and Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 USD (“VC” for Canon/Nikon), bought them for my Sony cameras in hopes I would sell one of them and keep only the best. It was a bad decision to buy both cause now I am stuck with both. Optically “in terms of sharpness” I think they perform the same so it cant be used as a reason to sell any of them. I have yet to try them on a 40+ megapixel camera to see sharpness difference, but at 24MP they’re equal wide open.

I compared many lenses i have and noticed the focal length differs a lot, ignoring the obvious 70mm vs 80mm difference. Minolta 80-200mm actual focal length is a bit off at both ends, especially when shooting near objects. I think its more like 90-210mm. Tamron could be accurate or maybe shorter. My Tamron SP 24-70 zooms tiny bit further at 70mm than the 70-200mm so maybe it is actually 65-190mm. So Minolta would be better for sports/reach, Tamron better for close-ups like weddings and parties. Also Tamron minimum focus distance is MUCH MUCH shorter! I shoot both – car racing and people events, so cant decide here.

Focus speed. Minolta wins. Maybe the screw drive motor is just better than Tamrons slower internal motor. The difference is negligible for most people, but its definitely there. Focus accuracy – I also noticed Minolta was more in-focus percentage shots. It just locks focus dead-on instantly where Tamron sometimes missed focus.

Tamron is internal focusing so the front element doesn’t rotate and its a big advantage to have CPL when shooting car racing during day to see drivers through windows. With Minolta its impossible (or possible only at a specific distance). Then again CPL goes away after sunset and theyre equal.

I think Tamron has less purple/green abberations.

Its not an obvious choice at all. Probably will list them both for sale and say bye to the one that sells faster.

P.S. I shoot a-mount for the focusing abilities at night. During day I prefer e-mount of course, but I shoot mostly in low light. Maybe A7S II with 70-200 Sony G Master lens can match the focusing ability at night but definitely not at the same speed, I have yet to test the 3k+ GM lens.

Minolta 80-200mm f2.8 APO AF High Speed and Tamron 70-200mm SP USD IF
Minolta 80-200mm f2.8 APO AF High Speed and Tamron 70-200mm SP USD IF

Author: Valters Bože

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