List of available items- updated 10/13/18

If you are looking for anything in particular mail me. ( contact info on the right hand column)

Prime lenses:
Sony Zeiss SEL35mm f2.8z-Coming soon
Tamron 180mm f3.5 Macro-PREMIUM LENS
Tamron 35-135mm for A mount-Rare -Coming soon
Minolta 28mm f2.8 Crossed X's Prime lens-SOLD

Zoom/Macro lenses:
Flashes
E Mount to A Mount adapters
49mm,55mm uv & polorizing filters
Due to overwhelming demand I now ship within the US and selectively to foreign countries. Shipping charges extra.
Most of the equipment priced here is based on the condition of the item, its value and the price I've had to pay. If you wish to wait for an item that is slightly lower in price, let me know and I will inform you once I have it.
If you wish to see previously sold items click here---> "sold items"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Top maxxum lenses for your Alpha's

1. Prime Lenses

Minolta AF Maxxum 50mm f/1.7 or Maxxum 50mm f1.4 if you can afford it.

Probably the one lens that every Sony shooter should have in their gear bag is the vintage 50mm f/1.7. It is the one truly affordable prime lens that you can purchase. Sony doesn't make this lens, only the faster and more expensive f/1.4 version, so you'll only find the f/1.7 on the used market. You'll want this lens for several of it's qualities including the very sharp image it produces and it's low light capability. It is a small lens, easily carried, and is great for portraits and general shooting. If you like a nice quality blurred background ('bokeh' in Japanese), this lens really does the job when the aperture is opened up. Because it was the "kit lens" from the late '80's and sold with all those Maxxum 7000 film cameras, it is readily available and for about $110-$130 represents an excellent value considering how fast it is and how very good the optics are.

Because I'm assuming you already have the 18-70, I don't think initially you will want or need the 24mm or 28mm prime lenses, unless you have a particular need for the faster aperture or better image quality that these lenses would offer over the kit lens. However, if you shoot interiors and indoors a lot, you might want one of those wider primes. They are a better choice for group/family photos up close with the wider field of view in comparison to the 50mm lens. The f/1.4 and f/2 lenses (28/2, 35/1.4, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, 100/2) available in the standard focal range are all prohibitively expensive for the purpose of this guide, but they are all very excellent lenses you may consider at some point.

Other Prime Options

Minolta AF Maxxum 135mm f/2.8

If you want to try your hand at fast aperture short to medium telephoto shooting, this lens is about your only real option that is still 'sort of' affordable. This lens fetches about $350 in used condition on eBay, so it isn't inexpensive, but there is nothing else this fast at this price. At 135mm, on digital it is like shooting with a 200mm telephoto lens. It has a nice, wide f/2.8 aperture glass in a very small package as well as excellent optics and build. Any zoom that covers this focal length will be f/4 or smaller in aperture at this price. The 135/2.8 is a more rare offering on eBay - I might list 2 or 3 a year.

Beyond this lens, for primes, you get into the white Minolta APO G lenses, and these will set you back $1000 to $2000.

Minolta AF Maxxum 50mm f/2.8 Macro

If you want to take high quality images of bugs and flowers and things, this dedicated 1:1 macro is an excellent choice and will run you $250-350. Macro images with this lens are a huge step up from the 1:4 macro that most zooms reproduce, plus you get a faster f/2.8 aperture and one of the sharpest lenses in the industry. Downside on this lens is a slower focus compared to the 50mm primes, but this has to be expected when you can focus from inches to infinity using one lens, and it's still very usable as a portrait or general shooting tool. Newer versions of this lens have a focus limiter switch which can improve focus speed. Manual focus is always an option and in many cases is preferred during macro capture. The working distance can be pretty tight at 50mm and bugs might scurry off when approached too aggressively with this lens. (Solution: 100mm macro at twice the price!) Some of these used lenses have mechanical issues, so I'd recommend reading my guide on this lens titled "Buyer Beware...." if you are considering a purchase on eBay.

Minolta AF Maxxum 100mm f/2.8

Probably the gold standard of macro lenses, the price on this lens (about $450 used, puts it outside the scope of this guide) but I mention it because IF you are considering a 50mm macro but want or need the extra working distance that the 100mm macro affords AND consider the 135/2.8 an attractive focal length in itself, then this lens is a neat compromise that could combine both those purchases into this one lens at a relative savings compared to buying the other two individually. See? That's what lens buying is all about - convincing yourself that you really do need to purchase a lens by rationalizing it, and then doing a really fine sell job on it to your wife. (That's the hard part! Tip: Be sure to sprinkle your sales presentation with the words "shoes", "jewellery", "designer purse", "blouse" etc. to weaken her resolve...)

2. Zoom Lenses

Minolta AF Maxxum 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5

If you didn't get the kit lens, this is a very solid alternative, but it does not provide much of a wide angle. I'd consider it redundant if you already have the kit 18-70mm but it does have the 1:4 macro capability and a bit better image quality. It's very affordable on eBay and might be worth adding to your bag. Vintage Minolta lenses were designed for 35mm film and manufactured at a time when 28mm was about as wide as most hobby photographers could afford or needed to go with their wide angle to get a decent landscape. With the aps-c crop, 28mm gives you the field of view of a 42mm "standard-ish" lens on digital, so you'll need to invest in something a lot wider to complement any lens that starts at 28mm.These lenses were more expensive than the legendary 'Beercan' when they were first introduced. The good news is that with this lens, you get a 1:4 macro function, very nice image quality, solid build and the price for a good copy is less than $150.

Minolta AF Maxxum 100-200mm f/4.5

This is the sleeper lens of the bunch - it remains extremely affordable at about $100 in good used condition on eBay. It is sharp and lightweight, with the nice vintage metal build. The maximum aperture is a constant f/4.5 whereas most other zooms float up to f/5.6 or higher. I used one of these for almost 20 years while shooting film and only traded up once I developed a lens buying addiction. If you are starting out, for the price and quality, this is the best value in telephoto zooms, period. If you are tapped out after buying your camera but want to extend your reach to 200mm, this is your lens. I highly recommend the 100-200mm/4.5 and guarantee you won't be disappointed with it. The only 'cons' include a longer minimum focus distance of about 4.5 feet and a bit slower AF, but this is not an 'inside the house' lens so these factors shouldn't be a huge issue. The 100-200mm is the ulitmate hiker's telephoto because of its smaller size and weight.

Minolta AF Maxxum 70-210mm f/4 (The "Beercan")

It's a step up from the 100-200mm in every way. A little wider range, a little faster aperture, maybe a little sharper and a lot bigger in size. The price of this lens has been moving upwards as long as I've been selling on eBay, and it firmly commands at least $230-$260 in good condition nowadays. It is the gold standard in medium range telephoto glass for the Alpha mount with the best optical performance in its class, and there is nothing better until you move up to the big white zooms or consider the new Tamron or Sigma 70-200/2.8's which will run you $700-$800. If it's within your budget, the "Beercan" is still the telephoto to get.

Minolta AF Maxxum 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5

This is the faster of two versions of this lens (the other is f/4.5-5.6) and it has excellent optical qualities. It's a little tougher to find, but offers a relatively lightweight lens that is great for travelling or hiking with, yet still has a wide telephoto range and faster aperture for around $150. Quite comparable to the 100-200/4.5, but a little more range on either side and a little faster at the low end.


Minolta AF Maxxum 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (The " Big Beercan")


Some say this is as good as the 70-210mm f4.0 in IQ. Build quality and appearance are almost identical between both the beer can and big beercan and this is a little heavier. This ist generation lens has a focus limiter switch to save time on auto focussing. A good copy can be gotten for anywhere from $220.00 to $300.00

Other Zoom Options

Minolta AF Maxxum 28-135mm f/4-4.5

This standard zoom is a personal favorite. I use it for most of my outdoor shooting. It's sharp like crazy, has the 1:4 macro and fast AF with its unique (at the time) rear internal focus design. It's wide focal range minimizes lens changes. This can reduce sensor dust spots appearing in your photos from contamination while the chamber is briefly exposed while you switch glass. It has the vintage Minolta solid metal build. With all that metal and glass, it's no lightweight. On the downside, the 4.5 foot minimum focus is its achilles' heel making it useless in confined spaces, there is no dedicated hood (flare) and it's hard to find a nice copy (which will run you around $300) that isn't worn out on eBay.

Minolta AF Maxxum 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (Silver)

While certainly not a vintage lens from 1985, this newer lens was the last model of it's kind produced by Minolta in 2001 and was rebadged by Sony in 2006 as the SAL75300. I'm including it because it is an excellent lens with a wider focal range all the way to 300mm. Popular Photography reviewed the Sony version (optically identical to the Minolta) and were surprised at how well it performed and how sharp it was, even at the 300mm setting. It's another sleeper for sure. You can find this lens for around $100-$150 in good condition, so if you really need 300mm range, this is the best lens to get there with for the price.

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 Ultra Wide Angle Zoom

Definitely not vintage, nor is it Minolta, but I get emails all the time for recommendations on a good wide angle lens for digital. This is not an "affordable" lens, but if you want to capture true ultrawide and wide angle photos, you'll need an ultra wide angle lens like this one that translates to a 15-30mm focal range on film. I think it's the best value and performance in its class, but it will cost around $500 new. Used copies aren't readily available and command near new pricing when they do show up on eBay. The wide end of the range on an aps-c digital camera is the most expenisive to fill - these lenses are complex and there's just nothing else available that will do the job.

Couple the Sigma with the 18-70mm, 28-85mm or 28-135mm zoom and a Beercan (or 100-200mm) and you've got a great 3 lens zoom kit that will cover all of your needs and expectations while keeping lens changes and pocket book damage to a minimum. Add the 50mm for low light and unless you develop "the addiction", you shouldn't need anything else! (....but you will!)


Credit: Excerpts from "seagr112" - a minolta maxxum expert.

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