The Minolta Maxxum 135mm f/2.8 is one of the rarest of regular prime lenses in the Minolta line up. Production began in 1985; While the 135mm is certainly a fine lens, I think the short supply also contributes to the lens' used price tag today.
How would such a great lens be in such limited supply? To coincide with the introduction of the Minolta AF system in 1985, besides releasing many very nice prime lenses, Minolta engineered an attractive, affordable and fine performing line of telephoto zoom lenses, specifically the 28-135mm f/4-4.5, 100-200mm f/4.5 and the Beercan (70-210mm f/4) that offer coverage of 135mm. Consumers of the day were smitten with the convenience (and relatively good optical performance) of these three zooms and as a result, the 135mm's sat in display cases gathering dust, or requiring special order due to lack of interest. The 135mm became an early and tragic casualty of the success of telephoto zoom marketing and acceptance in the 1980's when it was ultimately discontinued.
But I digress! The Maxxum 135mm lens is a very unique lens from the original vintage line up. What struck me initially when I first got one was how small it was. I'd seen photos of it, but lack of scale and the extreme close up nature of the average lens pic led me to perceive that this lens was fairly big, perhaps like a 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. Was I mistaken! (see my photo below) The 135mm lens is about the size of two stacked 28mm f/2.8 or 50mm lenses. The front element opens up to 55mm to essentially occupy the entire front of the lens. A convenient and sturdy built-in retractable hood extends about a half inch beyond the glass to prevent lens flare. Those familiar with the integrated hoods on the vintage 50mm's and 28mm's would appreciate this design improvement on the 135mm! With all that glass and vintage metal build, the lens feels solid and weighs in at a hefty 390g, or just under one pound. Quite heavy for such a small package.