I was not so impressed by my fist copy of the to much hyped Minolta 70-210 Beercan. I had already seen on several SONY enthusiasts forums that the Big Beercan was supposed to be better. The sharpness of my Minolta AF 75-300 D was disappointing on the Alpha 700 12MPIX sensor for my windsurf shots.
So I decided to search on the after market a big beercan i.e. the first Minolta AF 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 released in 1986 expecting to replace both my beercan and the kit D telezoom.
Big Beercan size @75 mm
Big beercan size @ 300mm
The Big Beercan is rare but fortunately it is less hyped than the beercan. So I paid the same price for both. The big beercan was a high end zoom in 1986 and was the first lens of the Minolta "G" familly.
The buid quality is awesome. Compared with the Minolta Beercan, the hood is metal made and there is a focus limiter mecanism to speed up autofocus in a reduced range.
It is really heavy for it's class and very long, putting the gravity center further out. It is not well balanced with my Sony Alpha 700 body weight (maybe better with a heavier body or with a vertical grip). It can be a weakness also with cheap tripods. With such an heavy lens your shoulders would appreciate a confortable shoulder strap like the Lowepro Deluxe shoulder strap.
The Lowepro Flipside 300 is to small to carry the huge zoom. So I purchased the Flipside 400
An other difference with the Beercan is that the Minolta AF 75-300 zoom mecanism is not internal, so the Big Beercan extend when zooming being really longer than the Beercan at the long end of the range.
On the next picture you can compare the size with the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (with petal hood) and with the Minolta AF 135 f/2.8 (forefront)
The Minolta AF 75-300 Big Beercan is a beautifull object :
The autofocus speed is fast enough not to use the focus limiter on my Alpha 700 body. Maybe with slower DSLR (Alpha 100) the focus limiter could be helpfull.
The minimum focus distance of 1500mm is interesting for close-up shots at 300mm.
The Minolta AF 70-210 Beercan is faster with a constant f/4.0 aperture and the Big Beercan has more range with a slightly better image quality. The sharpness is very good even in the corners (just need to be stopped down just a bit at long end). The nice old Minolta colors are there. The bokeh is very soft and it is a pleasure for portraiture wide opened at 300mm.
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, Konica Minolta 75-300 D f/4.5-5.6 (kit tele-zoom)
match @135 with Jupiter 37A, Minolta 70-210 Beercan, Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan, Minolta 135 AF f/2.8, Konica Minolta 75-300 D f/4.5-5.6 (kit tele-zoom)
match @200 with Jupiter 21M, Minolta 70-210 Beercan, Konica Minolta 75-300 D f/4.5-5.6 (kit telezoom), Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan
match @300 with Konica Minolta 75-300 D f/4.5-5.6 (kit tele-zoom)