When I switched from Canon to Minolta (see my blog entry on this), little did I know of the treasure trove of Minolta legacy lenses that remained to be discovered!
A historical perspective is in order.
Minolta was founded Japan in 1928, and along with Canon, Nikon, Konica, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji, Bronica, Yashica, and Mamiya, made Japan famous for affordable (read: non-German) cameras for both amateurs and professionals. Konica merged with Minolta in 2003, and the SLR segment of Konica-Minolta was bought by Sony in 2006.
Minolta lenses have a well-earned reputation for superior optical and construction quality and these lenses, particularly the AF lenses, are 100% compatible with the latest Sony SLT bodies. More importantly, these lenses can be had on eBay and on craigslist for a fraction of the price of comparable Canon L and Nikon Nikkors. In addition, the older Mnolta MD and MC lenses may be mounted on the current Sonys with very inexpensive adaptors.
In the last few 5 days, I have obtained 5 really good, bordering on great, Minolta lenses: a 35-105f4-4.5 and a set of 50f1.7, 50f3.5macro, 28f2.8, and 100-200f4.5 in exchange for a Canon 40D+grip (my last Canon to go). A quick test of these lenses reveal that the coatings are unblemished, the aperture blades are oil free, the zoom doesn't creep, and best of all, they are all tack-sharp!!
Special thanks to Stan Yip for taking my excellent-but-unwanted 40D in exchange for his surplus Minolta glass!