The Essential Minolta Lenses for the A-Mount Shooter
1. Minolta 70-210mm f/4 Beercan (from 100-300 dollars USD)
Minolta Maxxum AF 70-210mm F/4
2. Minolta 35-70mm f/4 Macro (from 30-100 dollars USD)
Minolta 35-70mm f/4
3. Minolta 50mm f/1.7 (from 40-100 dollars USD)
Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Lens
4. Minolta 100-300mm APO (or APO D model) f/4.5-5.6 (from 80-300 dollars USD)
Konica Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO
5. *Minolta 24-50mm f/4 Macro (optional to the 35-70mm f/4 from 35-125 dollars USD)
Minolta 24mm-50mm f/4
6. Minolta 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (from 25-90 dollars USD)
Konica Minolta 18-70mm lens
7. Minolta 50mm f/2.8 Macro (from 125-250 dollars USD)
Minolta 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
I doubt I'll get many objections to this list as being essentials, and probably more additions. The folks that have used them I'm sure can testify how well they perform- I'd listen to them, not those who haven't used them. This entire lens list covers from 27mm equivalent to 450mm equivalent and gives you a 1:1 macro option as well as 3 1:4 macro options (meaning versatility for close ups, unrivaled!).
This entire list will cost you well under $1,000 (USD) even for an excellent condition sample of each lens if you take your time looking for a good copy and price of each lens. The best thing, is that every single lens on this list covers full frame cameras as well, with the exception of the 18-70mm Minolta. They don't perform badly on full frame either! A very versatile and useful list of lenses.
If you follow ebay, I highly recommend watching J.D. Katz. He usually gets excellent equipment, he's always fair on prices and accurate on description, and has past ties to Minolta dealers which allows him to get rather rare items most sellers don't usually get. Everything I have bought from him has been excellent!
Bookmark this page and refer to it when in doubt. If you get a good condition lens, any of these on the list, the price for performance is simply off the charts. Good luck to you!
Notes on Lenses:
1. 70-210mm Beercan- Great bokeh, sharp stopped down very good wide open, good macro/magnification ability, versatile focal range, internal zooming. Will show CA aberrations.
2. 35-70mm f/4- Super small and light, sharp as a tack, good macro ability- very popular.
3. 50mm f/1.7- Affordable bright prime, decent bokeh, sharp at f/4, a must have. Sharp stopped down to f/4, not so sharp wide open/CA's too.
4. 100-300mm f/4.50-5.6 APO (D)- Top winner for Color, sharp stopped down, beautiful bokeh, good max magnification, small for a zoom telephoto, lightweight. Focusing can be a little slow at times, but when it locks it's sharp.
5. 24-50mm f/4- Sharp wide angle zoom, good macro, good wide open. Small and light, no real weaknesses.
6. 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6- Very decent kit lens optically, great magnification ability, versatile zoom range, lightweight, small, inexpensive. Soft wide open at wide angle and mid range, stop down to f5.6 minimum or f8 for respectable sharpness at all focal lengths.
7. 50mm f/2.8- Super sharp wide open, excellent bokeh, 1:1 magnification no real weaknesses. Awesome macro!