My first DSLR (the Konica Minolta D5D) was provided with the Konica Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 D within the double kit. I used only for sport shooting in difficult conditions (regattas, windsurfing in high winds, kitesurfing...).
The conditions for this kind of shooting are severe because of the high wind (up to 50 knots) or when I am on board of a sailor for taking a few shots of the regatta.
In these conditions any stabilizer would not be able to do his job! (huge shakes)
Auto focus speed and accuracy on moving subjects (and moving photographer!) is mandatory.
I can say that this zoom is completely compliant with this requirment. Even with the D5D (slow AF compared with the Alpha 700)
It exists in different versions :
- Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 "big beercan" : This is NOT the same lens ! (1986))
- Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 "NEW" : seems to share the same optical forumla but image quality and build is different (1995)
- Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 II same optical formula (1999)
- Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 D same optical formula (2001) & Konica Minolta 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 D (the model we are discussing on)
- Sony 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 same optical formula (2006)
This D version is the most recent before beeing rebranded by Sony. It include the height contact on the mount instead of five for the older ones. It may helps for flash shooting (are you going to use this long telezoom with a flash?).
This D version also has a coated optimised for numerical camera. I have no idea on how it could be efficient. Have a look to the comparaisons with older zoom to make your own opinion.
This lens is widely available on the after market so the prices are around 100€ while the same new model re-branded Sony is sold 250€ for a new one.
On the left hand, the lens construction is just correct. On the right hand this lens is very complact and light considering it's focal lenght. With the hood mounted reversed I was able to carry it in the compact Flipside 300. There is a real difference in terms of size and weight with the beercan and big beercan.
If they share the same range and same aperture, the optical formula of the Minolta 75-300 D is not the same with the Big Beercan.
When focusing, the front element is rotating.
The Minolta 75-300 D is not prone to flare (with the hood)
Considering the image quality, I was happy with this lens with the D5D. It was a better kit lens than the Konica Minolta 18-70. Now with the 12MPIX sensor ot the Sony Alpha 700, I prefer the Big Beercan, but make your own opinion having a look to :
this lens compared with M42 lenses and with other autofocus lenses
match @85mm with Jupiter 9, Minolta 70-210 Beercan, Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan, Minolta 35-105, Minolta 28-105
match @135 with Jupiter 37A, Minolta 70-210 Beercan, Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan, Minolta 135 AF f/2.8
match @200 with Jupier 21M, Minolta 70-210 Beercan, Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan
match @300 with Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan