Actually it is an internal focus lens (one of the first, if not the first) and the front element does not rotate (unless it's broken). The internal focus is one of its quirks as the focus ring is at the rear, quite close to the mount, and is therefore harder to get used to as your hand naturally goes to the front. I would not say that the AF was slow, on my A850 and normal decent light it focuses as quick as other Minolta lenses, Quite fast but a bit noisy. No good for movie mode if you want that.
I have a circular 72mm rubber hood with a polarizer permanently mounted on the front. The rubber hood allows for folding back various amounts to prevent vignetting when shooting at wide angles.
If anyone is interested in a high quality for a small price, this is in my opinion the way to go. I will not deny that there are equally good buys in Minolta or other makes, but not with the great glass of this lens. Minolta sold it with a hard black circular leather case, which they did with their best white and G lenses only. It has its quirks and being a 'secret handshake' is a myth. I am not saying that Zeiss did not have a hand in its design (I do not know) but Minolta did not hand it out free to special customers with a secret handshake, what nonsense!!! It was a very expensive lens in its day and Minolta needed the money to stay competitive with the two big boys.