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Thread: Minolta 600 mm f4

  1. #1
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    Minolta 600 mm f4

    I have an opportunity to buy a much used and rather dusty example of this lens. It's the second version with the focus stop buttons, but not the latest G version.

    It's optically excellent - I tested it on the a900 - but really heavy.

    Anyone in this forum got experience/comments/warnings about this lens? They would be appreciated before I commit.

    (I have posted on Dyxum too.)

    Bill

  2. #2
    nautilus
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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    I can't remember that there were any 'official' tests of this lens with digital cameras.
    On film cameras it was tested very good. I think it's the same quality like the Minolta 2,8/300G and the versions should be optical the same like the versions of the 300G.

    I think that the Sony 300G is a little bit better than the Minolta 300G and has SSM instead of the mechanical coupled AF. This should make it faster.

    Why do I tell so much about the 300G and improvements that were made by Sony? I think that if Sony launches new super tele lenses at all it will be in the beginning of next year, not so far in the future. Maybe it's an option for you to wait one or two months and see what happens?
    If you can get the older lens for a good price, why not? Possible future super tele lenses from Sony will cost a little fortune. I've never heared anything bad about the Minolta 600G lens. I don't have this lens by myself but have Minolta for many years and watched magazine tests and later after the internet started forum discussions.

    EDit
    (1) You mentioned 'not the latest G version'. What I wrote addresses a G version. I can't say anything about a non G 600mm lens.
    (2) If you have to repair an older lens that wasn't sold very often there is always a risk that you could get problems to find someone to do it
    Last edited by nautilus; 1st December 2009 at 15:29.

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    Had a chance using it briefly. It was a huge lens with excellent optical quality.
    But the size and weight made me think otherwise....maybe newer versions from Sony will be a better alternative

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    I decided to pass on the lens - partly because it is so heavy. I don't think my Enduro/Cube could support it, though the Cube wouldn't be the best head anyway as I need this sort of lens for fast-moving critters. So that means a newer even heavier tripod and a Wimberley, assuming it could handle 13+ lbs.

    The next reason is age - it was made in 1989 and I'm a bit concerned about parts/repairability after 20 years.

    Finally, I'm hoping Sony will put some real glass in that big mock-up lens they've displayed from time to time - and sell me one.

    Fingers crossed,
    Bill

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    Hi Bill
    I have only just seen this post after being away for over a month. I understand your need for a longer lens.....I want one too!!

    I found the following user review amongst quite a few others over on the Dyxxum site:

    I really like the results I have gotten with this lens, when I have mustered the resolve to carry it. It has given me consistently good shots when used with proper support and technique.
    I use a heavy Gitzo Studio tripod with an Arca-Swiss B2 ball head just for this lens. Also a Kirk support arm from the tripod leg to the camera body if needed.
    This is a good lens for film, FF. It becomes a very long lens on the 7D.
    I have the drop-in polarizing filter... actually talked the GM of Minolta into bringing one into Canada for me, as it wasn't listed here, and now I kind of wonder why. The light rays entering the 600 are so long with hardly any angle, that a polarizer has limited effect, I think. I thought it would reduce atmospheric effect, and maybe it will under certain conditions.
    I like this lens for "close-up" (21 ft.) imaging at least as much as for its reach.
    Results can be seen at my blog: http://web.mac.com/davidbannister


    This fellow has used the lens with FF sensor and he appears to be in Canada so might be of some interest to you as he also uses it for bird photography.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    TX, Dave, I appreciate the reference. In fact I decided not to buy the lens - stellar optic though it was - because it was just so overwhelmingly heavy.

    I decided to wait for Sony's next offering....whenever that will be! Meantime the 300G and TC will have to suffice. Pretty good centre resolution, which is all I need for wildlife.

    Best, Bill

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm center resolution f6.8 Leica Telyts

    Bill,

    If center resolution is enough maybe you ought to look at the telyt 400 and 560 f6.8 which are both excellent in the center and very light. There is also an 800 telyt f6.8 that is obscenely expensive perhaps because of collector value. The 400 and 560 are both simple doublets with full length tubes. My only issue has been that the focus lock/slide button is a long reach for me and I have mounted a gear from an old leica bellows on mine which makes it slower but a whole lot easier to work with for me.

    At least the later novoflex teles were also made by Leica and are supposed to be quite good.

    Mike

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    Re: Minolta 600 mm f4

    About G and non-G: there were two versions of this lens, the first 4/600 (released 1986) and the second 4/600 HS G (released 1988). Only difference is the faster gearing of AF-system for newer version (it was also possible to convert the first generation gear to HS) and the focus stop buttons.

    Weight is clearly an issue, but when (if ever) Sony will come with something like 4/600, 4/500, 2,8/500 or what ever, this will be same class. You need big lenses, and glass is heavy... I have a Wimberley head for it, great for shooting - but of course transport is not really funny

    Service of course is a problem - here in Germany the central service for all Minolta APO-lenses is stopped now (limited spare parts, officially). Repairs only possible in Japan, so if you send it there you should expect months until return - and high costs... Don't know about situation in USA! So if you really need it, you have to buy two - or wait for Sony (and robb a bank ).

    Andreas

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