Minolta 70-210mm/f4 ‘Beercan’

Posted by kenchill. Categories Photography

This lens is long! It becomes even longer after you attach the hood. At this length, it looks like a telescope and it makes you feel that the zoom length is more than the actual 210mm.

After attaching the lens (up to you if you want to attach the hood), you wil have to hold your camera with both hands, with the left hand supporting the lens. You can hold the camera with only your right hand while previewing photos but definitely not while taking photos, this lens is heavy and long. It will really strain your right hand.

What makes the lens so heavy is its all metal construction and also maybe due to the old school construction of the lens (maybe it has a few extra elements compared to similar lenses released now). But it’s all good considering the medium-large fixed aperture of f4.0. Yes, you can get f2.8 for a 70-210mm telephoto lens but the price for those lenses are way more expensive than our cheap sub-RM1000 Beercan (you can get a near mint condition Beercan for around RM1,200).

When kumbang first took out this lens from the pouch which it has been in for umpteen years, it looked good but once attached to my camera, it looked hazy and dark when viewed through the view finder. When we looked at the lens from the top, we could see specks of what looks like crystalized specks on the front element of the lens. A service visit to Albert Cheah (post here: managed to clear things up. Albert managed to polish the lens, removing all the crystalized specks and now our Beercan is clear and bright as ever! Well worth the money we paid to Albert.

Before and after servicing

Look inside! It’s clean!

Since kumbang will be at the shipyards taking photos of huge machinery and heavy lifters, he didn’t really need the Beercan, so I took this opportunity to borrow the lens from him and have a play with it myself before making my decision to purchase one (well, maybe I should save the money and purchase a Sigma 24-70mm/f2.8 instead, still deciding…).

Without the hood

With hood

I spent some time with the Beercan, taking pictures here and there with the aperture set at f4 for indoor shots to test its speed. Even at f4, the pictures are good and clear. For outdoor shots, I set the aperture higher and dang, I could even see the lines on the cover of the streetlamps. I haven’t got the chance to test it out at gigs yet since this is month is Bulan Ramadhan and there are less gigs happening around town.

Here are some test shots.

1/50 f4.0 ISO200

1/15 f4.0 ISO400 (indoor)

1/50 f6.3 ISO200

1/30 f6.3 ISO100

1/40 f7.1 ISO100


4 Responses to “Minolta 70-210mm/f4 ‘Beercan’”

  1. Bryan Koh - November 9, 2009 / 6:20 pm

    u try portrait b4 with the beercan? Is it sharp n nice bokeh? : )

  2. kenchill - November 11, 2009 / 12:55 am

    Haven’t really paid attention to portrait photography using the beercan, but yes, at F4 it’s sharp and the bokeh is nice as well (if you have a nice background and zoom to 200, it will be nice of course).

  3. Lorsa - April 13, 2010 / 6:04 pm

    i’ve been searching for this lense for quite sometime now…..
    izzit worth it?

    do you know where can i get it from??
    any recomendation???


  4. kenchill - April 15, 2010 / 4:32 pm


    This lens is definitely worth it in terms of size, quality and price. Roughly around RM900-1100, depending on condition and accessories (hood, lens caps, hard case, etc).

    Just look around forums ( if you are in Malaysia), or maybe, or worse comes to worse, eBay.

    Good luck in acquiring one!


Leave a Reply

XFM. Kami Tak Hot, Kami Cool!