Minolta Manual Focus Equipment FAQ


3.1 There are different lenses series (MC, MD). What do they mean?

The MC lens range was introduced first; MC is presumed to refer to meter coupled. The majority of the range had an autodiaphragm which allowed viewing and metering at full aperture.

The MD lens range had exactly the same bayonet mount as MC - therefore lenses from each range are interchangeable with only slight loss of functionality on certain bodies. Nearly all lenses in the MD range have their smallest aperture (largest f number) marked in green as this was the position you were supposed to set the lens to when using shutter-priority metering mode on the XD bodies that these lenses were introduced to complement. An extra lug (often referred to as the MD lug) operated a lever on the body to tell the metering system what the smallest aperture of the mounted lens actually was. Later (and current) MD lenses had a little sliding lock to fix the aperture ring in this position - it had no other function.

MD lenses also benefitted from better "dynamically" balanced apertures, meaning they could quickly close down and not overshoot the setting chosen by the camera in certain metering modes.

Some MD lenses may have had better a coating and/or a different optical construction than their MC equivalents.

From the MML [ryugin@peach.ocn.ne.jp] writes:

"About differences between MC Rokkor lenses, Auto Rokkor lenses and Rokkor lenses:

MC Rokkor lenses - MC Rokkor lense has a Metering coupler which gives F number info to a camera's meter and they also has a stop down lever inside a mount which enables aperture to stay open except during exposure process. You can use your cameras both A mode and M mode with MC Rokkor lenses the way you usually use your camera.

Auto Rokkor lenses - They has a stop down lever, but not a metering coupler. To know a correct meter value, you should push a camera's DOF preview button or push a lens' DOF preview lever(Auto Rokkors has DOF preview lever on a barrel.). If you use a camera's A mode, push DOF preview button/lever, with keeping pushing it, release a shutter. Don't stop pushing DOF preview button/lever until exposure is finished when you use A mode.

Rokkor lenses - They don't have stop down lever, nor meter coupler.

Conclusion - If you are not SR1/2/3/7 user, It is almost not worth picking up AutoRokkors nor Rokkors. They were originally built for SR1/2/3/7. In those days, Minolta SLRs didnot have TTL meter. They did not need a metering coupler.

But if you have interest in a specific Auto rokkor/rokkor lens whose counterparts don't exist in MC and MD groups, it's worth considering buying one after learning a lack of a feature/features of it."

Here is his example of using an AutoRokkor lens on X700 in A mode:
"LED info tells a lie with the use of AutoRokkor, but correct exposure is given to a film thanks to X700's final check system before mirror up."
(caution: image size 256kb).

3.1.1 Cybermation

From the MML, Jim Williams (jlw@novia.net) writes:
...it's time for my "Cybermation" lecture again...

How it works (X-700 being able to work in P mode even with non-P lenses) is that after the aperture stops down but before the shutter fires, the metering system takes one last reading of the light coming through the actual working aperture. If it's different from what the P-mode setting had intended, the camera "trims" the shutter speed to adjust for it. (This system debuted on the XD11/XD7, on which Minolta called it "Cybermation".)

So, if the old lenses would work, why did Minolta introduce new ones at all? Well, depending on how inaccurate your lens' diaphragm is, this last-moment "trim" could wind up causing the camera to use a shutter speed different from the one you saw displayed in the viewfinder, and this would get some users nervous. The MD-type lenses with the "P" lug have aperture blades that have been dynamically balanced to stop down more accurately, so they're less likely to overshoot or undershoot the intended aperture the way MC lenses sometimes can. So, using an MD lens, you can be more confident that the shutter speed you see in the viewfinder is the shutter speed you'll actually get.

3.1.2 Can I use MC lenses on an XD- or X- series camera?

Yes. If you set the lens to its smallest aperture, it will operate more or less as an MD lens. The manual for the X-700 says you cannot use the P (program) mode with MC lenses: an MC lens will cause the green P in the viewfinder to flash but because the camera meters again after shutting down the aperture, and adjusts the shutter speed steplessly as necessary, exposure will actually be "correct". For use in Manual and Aperture priority modes, an MC lens will function identically to an MC lens on these bodies.

3.1.3 What are the codes on the older manual focus lenses?

The following info was sent to me [John Vernon] last year in response to a query about the two letter codes on older lenses by Paul F. van Soest (pfvsoest@bio.vu.nl)
NumberCode for
number of lenses
Code for
number of groups

The letter indicating the number of groups precedes the letter indicating the number of lenses. This system was used both before MC lenses were introduced and after.

3.2 Pre-MC Lenses

Before camera bodies contained light meters, there was no need to communicated aperture information to the body. Pre-MC lenses had a stop-down lever which the photographer used to set the aperture to the chosen value after through-the-lens viewing.

3.2.1 Pre-MC Wide Angle Lenses

Wide angle lenses for SR1/2/3/7
W. Rokkor QH 21mm f492 degrees55mm90cm
Auto W. Rokkor SG 28mm f3.576 degrees67mm60cm
W. Rokkor QE 35mm f464 degrees55mm40cm
Auto W. Rokkor HG 35mm f2.864 degrees55mm40cm

There was a 21mm wide angle lens that extended so far into the camera (into the actual path of the reflex mirror) that bodies had to have the mirror lock-up feature to be able to use it. It was supplied with a separate viewfinder that was fitted onto the hot shoe. [CPV]

From the MML [ryugin@peach.ocn.ne.jp] writes:
My MC Rokkor SG 28mm f3.5 has a DOF preview lever between the aperture ring and the mount on the left side when you look at the lense from the front with being attached to a camera. Because it is a tiny lever, at first I saw this lense I didn't notice it. To use this lever, you may push it down.

3.2.2 Pre-MC Normal Lenses

Normal lenses for SR1/2/3/7
Macro Rokkor QF 50mm f3.545 degrees55mm23cm
Auto Rokkor PF 55mm f1.843 degrees55mm50cm
Auto Rokkor PF 58mm f1.441 degrees55mm60cm

From the MML [ryugin@peach.ocn.ne.jp] writes:
I own the 55mm and 58mm. I wrote a rough opinion about them.

"I have the 55mm and the 58mm. Both have a stop down lever near aperture ring. You can access it with your finger tip of your left hand while holding a camera and lens. I have used them at many ocations, used F8 to F11. Results were good. The 58mm lens fits my SR7 or SR1 well, the weight is balanced well. The 55mm is slight lighter and a little more compact."

3.2.3 Pre-MC Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses for SR1/2/3/7
Rokkor TC 100mm f424 degrees46mm120cm
Auto Tele Rokkor QE 100mm f3.524 degrees55mm120cm
Auto Tele Rokkor PF 100mm f224 degrees62mm120cm
Rokkor TC 135mm f418 degrees46mm(this lens is
used together
with bellows)
Rokkor TC 135mm f418 degrees46mm150cm
Auto Tele Rokkor PF 135mm f2.818 degrees55mm150cm
Tele Rokkor QF 200mm f3.512 degrees67mm250cm
Tele Rokkor TD 300mm f4.58 degrees77mm450cm
Tele Rokkor TD 600mm f5.64 degrees126mm1000cm

3.2.4 Pre-MC Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses for SR1/2/3/7
Auto Zoom Rokkor 80-160mm f3.530-15 degrees77mm250cm
Auto Zoom Rokkor 160-500mm f815-5 degrees77mm450cm

3.2.5 Pre-MC Macro Lenses

From the MML [ryugin@peach.ocn.ne.jp] comes details of two Pre-MC era macro lenses - note the interesting references to the strong Leica/Minolta connection:
Old 50mm macro lens Macro lens for Copying and Macrophotography
Macro Rokkor QF
f3.5 - 50mm
Angle of View: 45 degrees
Filter mount diameter: 55mm
Diaphragm: manual preset with Exposure Calibarting Scale
Photographic distance: infinity to 23cm (0.75 feet) (Photographic magnification: 1/ - 1/2)
23-20cm (0.75-0.65 feet) (1/2 - 1/1) when the exclusive intermediate ring is used.
Focussing: Direct-advancing helicoid type
Mount: Leica Mount + SR Leiva Adapter = SR Mount
Accessories: Leica Mount Adapter, Intermediate Ring, Reverse Ring and Key.
135mm bellows lens This 135mm lens for bellows use was released when SR series(SR7 and so on) were made and seems the lens survived for a while after SRT was released.
The lens does not have a focus ring. Bellows is nessesary to use the lens.

Lens For Extensions Bellows
Specially designed for nature photography which requires no only normal distance shots, but also extrme close-ups. With the Minolta Extension Bellows the lens can be used from infinity to close up - 1:1.1 ratio. Resolving power is maintained across the entire range. Includes adapter rings for the SR's which can also be used on Leica-type mount cameras.

135mm For Extension Bellows
Rokkor TC
f4 - 135mm
Angle of View: 18 degrees
Photographic distance: infinity to 55cm (1.8 feet) (Photographic magnification: 1/infinity - 1/1.1)
Lens (Leica type mount + SR Adapter = SR Mount
Filter Mount dia: 46mm
Accessories: SR Leica Mount Adapter and the key.

3.3 Summary of MC lenses

The SRT series of cameras were the first Minolta bodies to have TTL metering. To carry lens aperture data to the camera, MC (for Meter Coupled) lenses were introduced. The camera automatically stopped the aperture down to the chosen value just before exposure, and opened it up again afterwards for viewing and focussing. For the technical specifications and construction of the MC lens range, see this table.

3.3.1 MC normal lenses

Lens: 50mm f/2 MC Rokkor Type: Meter-coupled Gauss-type standard lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups Angle of view: 46 degrees Coating: Minolta Achromatic Min. focusing dist.: 0.5m (1.75 ft) Diaphragm: Fully automatic, meter-coupled Aperture scale: 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 (full and half-click stops) Filter thread diam.: 55mm Dimensions: 65mm x 35.5mm long (2-9/16" x 1-3/8") Weight: 240g (9-7/16 oz.)

Lens: 50mm f/1.7 MC Rokkor Type: Meter-coupled Gauss-type standard lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups Angle of view: 46 degrees Coating: Minolta Achromatic Min. focusing dist.: 0.5m (1.75 ft) Diaphragm: Fully automatic, meter-coupled Aperture scale: 1.7, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 (full and half-click stops) Filter thread diam.: 55mm Dimensions: 64.5mm x 41mm long (2-9/16" x 1-5/8") Weight: 230g (8-1/8 oz.)

Lens: 50mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor Type: Meter-coupled Gauss-type standard lens Construction: 7 elements in 5 groups Angle of view: 46 degrees Coating: Minolta Achromatic Min. focusing dist.: 0.5m (1.75 ft) Diaphragm: Fully automatic, meter-coupled Aperture scale: 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 (full and half-click stops) Filter thread diam.: 55mm Dimensions: 65mm x 46mm long (2-9/16" x 1-13/16") Weight: 305g (10-3/4 oz.)

Lens: 58mm f/1.2 MC Rokkor Type: Meter-coupled Gauss-type standard lens Construction: 7 elements in 5 groups Angle of view: 41 degrees Coating: Minolta Achromatic Min. focusing dist.: 0.6m (2 ft) Diaphragm: Fully automatic, meter-coupled Aperture scale: 1.2, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 (full and half-click stops) Filter thread diam.: 55mm Dimensions: 70.5mm x 54mm long (2-3/4" x 2-1/8") Weight: 475g (16-3/4 oz.)

3.3.2 MC wide angle lenses

Currently no data.

3.3.3 MC telephoto lenses

From the MML [ryugin@peach.ocn.ne.jp] writes:
My MC 135mm f3.5 had a DOF button on it's side.

From the MML Cameron MacKinnon [cmackin@clearspot.net] wrote:
I just bought an MC Tele Rokkor PF 135mm f/2.8, *57* mm filter thread, black with a burnished aluminum-looking aperture ring (2.8-22) that has a DOF preview selector on it. Closest focus is just under 1.5m.

And an MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.4 -- you mention a 50mm f1.4 and a 58mm f1.2(?) but not this one. 55mm filter thread, focuses to 0.6m.

3.3.4 MC zoom lenses

From Mike Nobbs:
40-80 f 2.8 MC Zoom Rokkor
Constant aperture, 12 elements in 12 groups
min focus 1m (0.37m at close up setting) This is the visible knurled knob.
Filter 55mm
Auto diaphragm f2.8 - f22
weight 560g
4080f28_2 There is also a MD version shown in later catalogue.

3.3.5 Extra MC lens information

The following was provided by Richard Jepsen (rjepsen@mmcable.com) and is from the late 1960s 'Minolta MC Rokkor Lenses and Accessories handbook'.
Macro Rokkor 50mm f/3.5
...its six element construction is made of a new type of optical glass resulting in an absolute minimum of spherical and chromatic aberration. It is one of the sharpest lenses ever made and is very useful for photography of insects and other tiny things.

Minolta Rokkor Interchangeable Lenses
Minolta is one of the two companies in Japan and one of the few in the world that manufactures its own optical glass and lenses for its own cameras. This is the only way to assure the matching of optical and mechanical design so vital to advanced photography.

Rokkor Lenses are Computer Designed
Minolta Rokkor interchangeable lenses are the world's finest optics, computer designed and precisely controlled in every stage of manufacture to eliminate the various aberrations which interfere with the perfect lens performance.

Exclusive Achromatic Coating of Rokkor Lenses
To improve color correction, Minolta has developed and patented a process called "Achromatic" coating of fluorides plus other special ingredients to provide vastly superior color rendition. As a result colors are noticeable warmer and more vibrant. Black-and-white pictures too, are enhanced by this process.

Superior Performance and Handling of Rokkor Lenses
Achromatic Coating: Developed in Minolta's laboratories, Achromatic coating is patented and available exclusively on Minolta Rokkor lenses. It consists of a double coating of fluorides plus other special ingredients to provide for warmer and more vibrant colors and increased light transmission.

Resolving Power: Minolta Rokkor lenses have excellent resolving power due to the use of advanced response function and electronic computer design systems. As a result, images are consistently sharp and there is no loss of light or sharpness at the corners.

Floating Elements
I found a reference to floating elements in the Minolta MC Rokkor X 28mm f/2.0. Popular Photography, May 1976, tested 32 normal lenses from 8 major companies. Leica's Noctilux was the top fast lens with the MC Rokkor X 58mm f1.2 next. The MC Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 tested higher in most categories than the Minolta f/1.4, as did the 58mm f1.2.

There are only minor differences between the C, N & M. Canon and Nikkor lenses have .2% less flare, .2 - .4% higher light transmittance, and .04 - .06 less spherical aberration. Minolta's 50mm f/1.7 % contrast @ 50 line pairs per mm were slightly better at f/2.8 - 4.0 center to edge than C & N.

Perhaps higher Minolta aberrations account for their reported better Bokeh.

Leica Similarities
I compared the Medium Telephoto QD MC 135mm f/3.5 lens schematic drawing to the Leica M series bayonet mount Elmar 135mm f/4 produced from 1960 - 1965 for the M3. Minolta and Leica lens optical groups (4) and shape of the elements (4) are the same design. The QD Minolta lens series is perhaps the lowest acquisition cost on the Minolta used lens market while being very sharp and contrasty.

3.4 Summary of MD lenses

A scanned photo of the complete Minolta MD lens range (145k, external link) [Chris Valentine]

3.4.1 MD normal lenses

There were at least five different "normal" lenses, often sold with camera bodies: 45mm f2, 50mm f2, 50mm f1.7, 50mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.2.

3.4.2 MD wide angle lenses

The MD wide angle lens range consisted of at least the following:
17mm f4
20mm f2.8
24mm f2.8
28mm f2 f2.8 and f3.5
35mm f1.8 and f2.8

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996
From: Andrew Hately
Subject: Re: wide angle MD? What will be a good wide angle in the MD series?
What I am looking for is something about 20mm. There's the Minolta MD 20mm f2.8 (I think), the MD 17mm f4 (great lens) and the MD 16mm fisheye. They also once made an 8mm fisheye but this casts a circular spot on the film. The 17mm is not a fisheye.

Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998
Simon Gardner (sgardner@ottawa.cbc.ca) wrote:
I recently managed to get a couple of MD manual focus lenses which seem to be quite rare: a 35mm 1.8 and a 200 2.8 (see below). I've now tested both these optics. At maximum f stop the 35 is quite sharp for a moderate wide angle lens. My guess is the designer wanted to optimize the lens wide open because at smaller f stops it's comparable to the less expensive 35mm 2.8. This is a great lens for anyone wanting to shoot in doors in natural light.

3.4.3 MD telephoto lenses

The MD telephoto lens range consisted of at least the following:
85mm 1.7 and f2
100mm f2.5
135mm f2 f2.8 and f3.5
200mm f2.8 and f4
250mm f5.6 RF mirror
300mm f4.5 and f5.6
400mm f5.6 Apo
500mm f8 RF mirror
600mm f6.3 Apo
800mm f8 RF mirror (white body)
1600mm f11 RF mirror (white body)
The MD 400/5.6 APO had a flourite element.

Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998
Simon Gardner (sgardner@ottawa.cbc.ca) wrote:
The 200 2.8 is an interesting lens. Given it's high speed I was expecting it to be heavy but it feels quite light. The elements are glass not plastic. At wide open this lens is comparable to a much less expensive 200mm telephoto. The best f stop is f8. If you use a decent tripod you can get results at this setting which are comparable to a high grade macro lens. I would recommend this lens but only for use at the smaller f stops. In American magazines this lens sells for about 450 dollars but I picked mine up for under 300 Canadian dollars which are worth far less.

There's an excellent review of Minolta telephoto lenses here (external link).

3.4.4 MD zoom lenses

The MD zoom lens range consisted of at least the following:
24-35mm f3.5
24-50mm f4
35-70mm f3.5
35-105mm f3.5-4.5
50-135mm f3.5
75-150mm f4
70-210mm f4
100-200mm f5.6
100-500mm f8

3.4.5 MD macro lenses

There were also six macro lenses, some of which could only be used on a bellows unit (of which Minolta made at least 3 varieties!):
50mm f3.5 Macro
100mm f4 Macro
50mm f3.5 auto bellows macro
100mm f4 auto bellows macro
12.5mm f.2 bellows micro
25mm f2.5 bellows micro
Both the "normal" macro lenses were supplied with an extension tube to allow 1:1 subject reproduction on film - this made the 100mm macro rather long. The front elements of these two lenses was recessed meaning a lens hood was unnecessary; both focussed out to infinity, so could be used for other subjects.

There is an excellent review of Minolta macro lenses here (external link).

3.4.6 MD Lens Variants

Different versions of a number of MD lenses were made over the years, with different optical constructions and filter sizes. I have started to construct a table of these differences, using information from members of the MML [Chris Valentine]:
MD Lens Variants (external link).

3.4.7 MD and MD-contemporary manufacture lenses

Here's a new table, complied from word of mouth, Minolta catalogs and books, listing all MD and MD-contemporary manufacture lenses.

3.5 Special Purpose Lenses

There were a number of special purpose lenses in the Minolta manual focus lens ranges.

3.5.1 Shift

Shift lenses allow the user to move some or all of the lens elements in relation to the mount to correct for optical distortion or effects, such as converging verticals often encountered when shooting architecture. I don't know what the CA stands for - it could be the optical composition. I believe this lens also offered the VFC feature.

MD 35mm f2.8 Shift CA

From the MML, Nick Danger (ndang@eritas.org) writes:

Shift ... simply lets the user move the lens laterally, shifting the image up or down, left or right, without moving the camera. Its most common use is in photographing buildings --instead of tipping the camera backward to include the top of the building (which causes the sides of the building to converge; correct in terms of perspective, but odd-looking to some people) you can keep the camera level and simply shift the lens upward. A combination of shift and variable focus plane (either tilt or VFC) allows the photographer to solve many kinds of perspective and depth problems that can't be solved with a conventional rigid lens.

Note that the aperture requires manual stop down.

3.5.2 VariFocal Control

A Varifocal lens allows the users to curve the normally flat (or designed to be flat) field of focus of the lens.

MD 24mm f2.8 VFC (vari-focal)

From the MML, Nick Danger (ndang@eritas.org) writes:

VFC stands (or stood) for "Variable Field Curvature." Minolta's unique VFC lenses were able to alter the shape of the plane of best focus, making it either convex or concave by a user-chosen amount. This allowed the user to bring a convex or concave subject completely into focus on the flat film, without having to stop down the lens, producing the effect of extended depth-of-field. In other words, it had the same kind of utility as a "tilt" lens, except that it worked in three dimensions instead of two.

3.5.3 Fisheye

There were two fisheyes in the MF range and at least one (the 16mm) in the previous MC range. Versions produced either a completely circular image in the centre of the frame or a full-frame image covering 180 degreess across the diagonal. Both had 4 built-in filters.
7.5mm f4 fisheye - circular image
16mm f2.8 fisheye - full frame

The 7.5mm f4 MD circular fisheye has recently found itself a new use. There's a virtual reality system which requires two circular fisheye images for its source and the Minolta lens is one of only two lenses recommended! [Chris Valentine]

3.5.4 Varisoft

Minolta produced a short telephoto specifically for portraiture. It has a built-in variable soft filter effect:
MD 85mm f2.8 Varisoft
There's a web page about this lens here.

3.6 Teleconverters

20 and 26 Apr 2000
From: "Justin Bailey" (red_bailey@hotmail.com)
There are five Minolta manual-focus teleconverters. MD 2X 300-S and MD 2X 300-L were mentioned. There is an older MD 2X 200-L designation, which is surely the same optics as the 300-L, though I don't have one. There are also the MC and MD 2X APO sold as a set with the MC/MD 400/5.6 APO introduced in 1976 (this was the only MC mount teleconverter Minolta made).

For the lenses you mentioned, the MD 2X 300-S is the one you want. Even if you can fit the L model on a shorter lens (e.g: MD 135/2.8 works), you will get colour fringing, which is a sort of reverse colour fringing to counteract the colour fringing you get at longer focal lengths.

There are two 2x teleconverters for lenses Shorter or Longer than 300mm: 300-S and 300-L. They were design specifially for use with certain lenses and will physically not fit all lenses due to projecting elements. [Chris Valentine]

Third-party manufacturers also made teleconverters in MC/MD mount, eg: Vivitar.

Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999
From: Mikko Niskanen (mikko.niskanen@turkuamk.fi)
Subject: Re: 300 S/L (Was: Double images..)

> Probably out of line here guys but I think I read somewhere that the 300(?)s
> was for lenses was for lenses small than 300mm and the 300L was for lenses
> greater than 300mm.

Ive also got the information that "300 S is for lenses shorter than 300 mm and 300 L for longer than 300 mm". So which one is for 300 mm?

In an older thread in this mailing list there was a post that identified lenses which were meant to be used with 300 L. If I remembered correct, the 300mm belonged to that group; actually I think you can use both converters with it.

There is also an older type of converter, at least 200 L, designed specially for MD 400mm APO; maybe there was 200 S too? More info can be found in the archives of this list, this teleconverter mess of Minolta has been discussed many times before.

The 300 L has a glass element coming further front than 300 S; this prevents mechanically you from connecting it with most of the lenses, but in my 300 mm there is plenty of room for it.

Anyway, 300 L produced good, sharp images with my 300mm, but not remarkably better than the Tamron.

Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999
From: MHillerby@aol.com

The 300-s and 300-l are usually stated to be for lenses over or under 200-300mm. That is generally a fair statement. The issue of performance is real, but the crucial problem is that some combinations will damage the lens and converter elements since the glass will rub together.

Looking at the instructions, the 300-s is recommended for all but seven of the 61 lenses on the chart. Of the seven, none list damage as a problem, six list severe image quality as a problem, and one lists some image quality problems. Two of the 54 compatible lenses are listed as vignetting with the 300-s. The problem lenses are the 400/5.6; 600/6.3; 800/8; 1600/11; 100-500/8; 100-500/8 APO and 35/2.8 Shift.

So, in reality all the 200 and 300mm lenses are listed as recommended. The 70-210/4 that was in the original post is also recommended.

The 300-L has some compatibility problems with all but 9 of the 61 lenses, and most of the problems are damage related.

I hope all of this helps. I would suggest that if you are not sure about how much you will use a TC, then get a cheap one and try it out. Focusing and shutter speeds will be an issue because of the 2 stops you lose. If you like the ability to use a 2X, and if you can find a 300-s, grab it and enjoy.

3.7 Which lenses are still in production today?

The following table from a Minolta "X-700 and System Accessories" brochure dated 1990 from Minolta UK, but believed to be still current August 1998

LensFilter Thread
35-70/3.5-4.8 macro55
70-210/4.5-5.6 macro49
70-300/4.5-5.6 macro55
50/3.5 macro55
100/4 macro55

Note: as of 1990, Motordrive 1, both 280PX and 80PX Macro flashes, and numerous other MF accessories, were still available [CPV].

3.8 Can one use manual focus lenses on the autofocus bodies (MAXXUM)?

Subject: Body mount adapters
I recently found a list of adapters for fitting non-Minolta lenses to Minolta AF bodies which might be of interest. The following types of lens can be fitted with the appropriate adapter. Olympus OM Minolta MD Canon FD Nikon AI Pentax K All the adapters contain a compensating lens to retain focus to infinity. [J Vernon]

John Also: ADAPTERS TO USE MD & ADAPTALL ON Minolta AF cameras.

With the high prices of good AF lenses and the wealth of manual focus lenses to suit the Tamron adaptall mount and Minolta MD mount this question keeps cropping up. Adapters like this provide similar benefits to the Nikon/Pentax FA ranges in transferring over lenses from your previous manual body. This probably isn't as valid since Minolta have had high quality AF SLR's for 10 + years.

Subject: RE: 700si-MD adapter-Popular Photography June'94
In this issue on page 52, it is stated that " You can use non-Maxxum mount lenses..... you can use many Minolta MD lenses and other makes with proper non-Minolta adapters...." If you have tried to use a MD lens on your 700si or 7000, what was your experience? What adapter did you use? Is the image quality degrade sufficiently by the adapter? Why does the article say many Minolta MD lenses instead ofall?

I have used the adapter on my 7xi with MC W-Rokkor 35mm f/1.8, MD 24-35 zoom, and Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Macro, with the MD adapter. I am very pleased with the results. It is well worth the money, if you some old MC and MD lenses you want to keep and yet take advantage of the new metering systems, auto bracketing, etc, etc. I highly recommend it. I don't know why the author wrote "many MD lenses." I don't know what the restrictions are. I would have assumed all MD lenses would work. Someone else will have to answer that question. Regards.

The adapter is a Soligor 7000/9000 + MD. There is no other marking. Yes, there is a minute optic but I see no differences in focal length so it is not a teleconverter. The Tamron adapter is simply the Maxxum adapter for Tamron lenses.

3.9 Can one use autofocus (MAXXUM) lenses on the manual focus bodies ?

There ARE adaptors for using AF lenses on an MD bayonet camera, but they introduce additional optics and thus reduce quality and transmission - Andrew S. Dixon (choronzon@gmx.de) June 2000.

3.10 Enlarging Lenses

The following from the MML:
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 1998 08:55:44 +0100
From: Mike Nobbs (viking01@globalnet.co.uk)
Subject: Re: Minolta Miscellany

The Minolta enlarger lenses are in 2 types:
a) E.Rokkors which from were made in 30, 50, 75 and 105mm
b) CE Rokkors which were made in 30, 50 and 80mm focal length.

The E Rokkors are satin chrome and small and 4 elements
The CE Rokkors are bigger and have rubber grip similar to MD lens and are 6
I believe the C has something to do with colour correction.

All have normal 39 thread.
The 30mm whilst apparently attractive as a WA lens will not cover a 35mm neg
as it was intended for 16mm.

The CE Rokkors are superb lenses, probably without equal.
The E Rokkors are fine but do not equal the CE especially in colour work.
Later CE may not be called CE Rokkor, I have a later one called 
The 50 CE has a usefully larger aperture of 2.8 compared with 4.5 of E

Data on CE Rokkors:
30 f2.8: Variant Gauss type for up to 13x17
        6 elements in 5 groups, Amber coating
50 f2.8: Variant Gauss type for up to 24x36
        6 elements in 5 groups, Amber coating
80 f5.6: Orthometar type for up to 6x7cm,
        6 elements in 4 groups, Amber & Magenta coating

Mike Nobbs, King's Lynn, England

3.11 Lens Coating on MC and later lenses

Submitted by RJ (rjepsen@mmcable.com), 17 Sept. 2000:
It is of interest that MC mount lenses are multi-coated (2 layers) and later lenses (identified by multicolor reflections) have additional coats of various thickness. In addition, the discussion of Minolta coatings used to color match rendition in different lenses is similar to reasons critical photographers give for preferring Zeiss lenses. I believe Minolta was a step or two ahead of Cannon and Nikon in the early 70s.

Quoting from How to Select & Use Minolta SLR Cameras by Carl Shipman, ISBN: 0-89586-044-9 Library of Congress, copyright 1983, 1982, 1980.

The first lens-coating method was a single very thin layer of a transparent material such as magnesium fluoride. This made a great improvement in picture quality by reducing reflections from coated lens surfaces. However, a single coating is not effective for all colors of light.

An improvement was obtained by using multiple coating layers of different thickness, so reflections are reduced at all colors of the spectrum.

About 20 years ago Minolta began applying multiple coating to lens surfaces, starting with the application of two layers. This was called Achromatic Coating. Since then, Minolta has paced the state of the art in advanced materials and techniques for multiple coatings. However, they have not changed the name applied to the process. Today, Achromatic Coating means multiple-layer coatings scientifically applied to improve color quality of the image, reduce flare and improve contrast.

Multiple-layer coating has several beneficial effects. It reduces flare and ghosts, which makes pictures sharper, with better contrast between adjacent light and dark areas. Achromatic Coating also helps to color-match the light through Minolta lenses so you don't see a color difference when the same subject is photographed through different lenses.

3.12 Floating Element lenses

Again quoting from How to Select & Use Minolta SLR Cameras by Carl Shipman:
Even at optimum aperture - neither too large nor too small - image quality changes when the lens is focused at various distances and the effect is more pronounced with short-focal-length lenses. All conventional lenses focus to infinity and are designed for best image quality at far and middle distances.

As the lens is focused closer, image quality deteriorates because lens aberrations have more effect. At some close distance, image quality has been reduced as much as the lens designer would to allow; therefore, that becomes the close-focusing limit of the lens.

As used here, conventional means lenses designed so all the glass elements move in unison, toward or away from the film, as the focusing control is rotated.

An improvement in lens design, called the floating focusing system, changes the spacing between lens elements as they move along the focusing helicoid. In other words, the lens elements do not move in unison. Some appear to "float" in relation to the others. This reduces aberrations at close focusing distances with short-focal-length lenses.

Minolta uses the floating system in some lenses with focal lengths of 35mm or less, as you can see in the accompanying table. This improves image sharpness with close subjects and is especially beneficial at full aperture.

Minolta lenses with a floating element optical system are:

Apparently the MD 24mm f2.8 and MD 35mm f1.8 wideangle lenses also have floating elements.
Go back to MF FAQ index page.