Trying to help Dad become digital- old 35mm Minolta lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by PaDisneyCouple, May 2, 2011.

  1. PaDisneyCouple

    PaDisneyCouple DIS Veteran

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    My father has enjoyed photography for many years. Oh, the slide shows we used to look at. Saved our bacon after our wedding, when the "professional" photographer's post-wedding church photos didn't come out (none of them!). Dad has a Minolta 35mm camera, with about 4 different lenses for it. He's afraid that he'll never be able to use them again, with everything (it seems) being digital now. I thought I'd heard that Nikon made a camera body that old Minolta lenses fit on. Is this correct? If so, does this just apply to certain Nikon bodies, or all of them? What would be a good "starting" one for him to get (or be given) if his 35mm lenses can live again?

    Thanks,
    Sean
     
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  3. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

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    No, not Nikon. Sony does though. Autofocus Minolta lenses will work on the Sony bodies.
     
  4. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    He has 2 possible options for keeping current lenses:

    If Minolta Maxxum/Dyxum/Autofocus lenses: Any Sony DSLR body will be fully compatible, and will meter, autofocus, and work like normal. All lenses will be stabilized as this resides in the camera body.

    If his 35mm lenses are of the older MD manual focus variety, then the Sony bodies would not be the best choice. In this case, adapters are going to be needed for any camera you choose. As it happens, the best cameras to use old manual lenses with via adapters are the mirrorless cameras - Sony NEX, Olympus Pen, Panasonic G, and Samsung NX. All of these mirrorless systems have very small registration distances to their sensors and need only a very simple glassless adapter ring to mount any manual lens you want. The Sony NEX and Samsung NX both use an APS-C sensor and have the same 1.5x crop factor as most entry level DSLRs. The Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras use a 'micro 4:3' sensor which is slightly smaller, and have a larger 2x crop factor.

    Some DSLRs might be able to use the Minolta lenses via adapter, but may not be optimal to use them - often the adapters have glass elements in them which reduce quality, some have trouble with infinity focus, and you have to have very good lenses to make it worthwhile. If his old Minolta glass is really good stuff - the real high end lenses that people would still love to have, then it's worthwhile. If his Minolta lenses are kit lenses or basic cheap zooms, then it might not be all that important to try to adapt them.

    Do you happen to know what the lenses are? Those of us familiar with Minolta lenses can tell you how good or valuable any of them might be, and whether it's worth it going with a Sony DSLR system, a mirrorless system, or just scrapping them and not worrying.
     
  5. PaDisneyCouple

    PaDisneyCouple DIS Veteran

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    Thanks to both of you.


    I don't know, but will try to find out. I might have to look at them myself when I see Mom and Dad next. I'll keep you posted.
     
  6. Daisy14'sDH

    Daisy14'sDH DIS Veteran

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    A friend of mine just went through all of this but had a substantial investment in Minolta lenses, the only bodies that will work with them are the Sonys, but there is still an issue ( he said) with all the lenses being able to focus to infinity, older lenses wont he says, I dunno how true it is, but after all this he decided to switch to Pentax...
     
  7. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    The infinity focus issues would only be true of manual focus 'MD' Minolta lenses, via adapters. Any Minolta Maxxum (autofocus) lens of any vintage and from any third-party brands should work fully and without issue on Sony DSLR bodies - the only problem areas involved one or two Sigma lens models from the past which had a compatibility problem with the speedy focus motors of newer Sony DSLR bodies and suffered from some gear stripping. Minolta-made lenses are absolutely solid and in my experience over the past 5 years using Sony bodies, bulletproof.
     
  8. Daisy14'sDH

    Daisy14'sDH DIS Veteran

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    My freinds problem was that ALL his Minolta lenses are Manual Focus, out of his investment they just weren't worth the aggravation (his words)

    So are you saying only the Auto focus lenses can reach infinity? Sorry its been a long day (in case I read that wrong)
     
  9. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    Yes - Sony kept the Minolta Auto focus mount and all of those lenses are compatible.

    I have a few manual focus Minolta lenses but never even bothered with an adapter for my Sony camera. However I bought a couple of Minolta Auto focus lenses to use.
     
  10. Daisy14'sDH

    Daisy14'sDH DIS Veteran

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    Hopefully the OP read this and can verify their Fathers lens kit....
     
  11. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    It should be pretty easy to find out - either dad will know and can tell the OP, or as the OP said he may see them himself when next he visits - a quick look for a few keywords on the lenses (Maxxum, AF, or Dyxum), or simply the lack of an aperture ring most of the time, will confirm they are autofocus Minolta lenses and will work perfectly on a Sony body...or if they are manual lenses, in which case they will not work without an adapter, and wouldn't be recommended.

    The other factor is which Maxxum lenses the father has. If he's got a basic kit lens, a cheap 70-200 zoom, and a cheap 50mm prime, those wouldn't be valuable or hard to replace/replicate. But if he's got any of the more desirable or expensive or rare lenses, like the 135STF, any of the APO G primes, etc, then by all means that would be a big motivator to picking up a great Sony DSLR body and put those gorgeous lenses to work!
     
  12. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    Of course at the moment I'm really contemplating getting a Sony NEX camera and an adapter to use my old Minolta manual (MD) lenses! :goodvibes And the funny thing is that I'd have a set up that was similar in size to the 35mm film set up! Actually a little smaller but close.
     
  13. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    NEXes are lots of fun with old manual lenses! I've been thoroughly enjoying mine - not only with my Pentax K-mount lenses from my film camera, but I've even become a bit of a manual lens hunter since, picking up a total of 11 manual lenses for my NEX so far, with two mount adapters to use them. Total investment for 11 lenses and 2 adapters: $140!
     
  14. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    I think I'll partially blame you for getting me back looking at them again!! ;) And the fact that Sony has a decent package sale going on right now isn't helping and I have been considering one since I was first able to look at it. I don't have any terrific MD lenses but they are ones I always liked and it's kind of annoyed me to have them sitting around. And then I'll run across some nice old lenses now and then so I think why not?! A few of my A mount lense are SSM/SAM so if I get the adaptor for those it really becomes a versitile body for me. I just wish the price of that adaptor were more along the line's of the MD one!
     
  15. MICKEY88

    MICKEY88 <font color=purple>if you keep falling off of the

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    I believe the foreign name for the maxxums was Dynax
     
  16. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    Oops - indeed it is. I know that! I think I'm too used to visiting the dyxum.com website and it just came out that way. Thanks for the correction!
     
  17. MICKEY88

    MICKEY88 <font color=purple>if you keep falling off of the

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    I kinda figured it was something like that, because you seem to know, the Minolta/Sony line like the back of your hand..:thumbsup2:thumbsup2
     
  18. PaDisneyCouple

    PaDisneyCouple DIS Veteran

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    I called Dad this morning, and gave him his assignment: locate all lenses, and get me the appropriate info to post. He said he knows where they are, and will call me with the information. Unfortunately, he has some other important things to tend to: like a lawn that is about half way up the limbs of his greyhound.
     
  19. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    If he ends up with any large-sized, all-metal, white painted lenses with APO G designations written on the side...make sure to let him know they are worthless and I'll do him the favor of taking them off his hands for $20 each, and I'll pay shipping. Just as a favor to a fellow DISer. ;)
     
  20. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    I wouldn't want you to become overwhelmed with a bunch of big, white useless lenses Justin so I'll step up and take every second one. :rolleyes1
     
  21. PaDisneyCouple

    PaDisneyCouple DIS Veteran

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    I just got off the phone with Dad. Here's what I've found out:

    The 35mm camera: Minolta SRTSC-II

    Lens 1: Minolta, MD ROKKOR-X 45mm 1:2

    Lens 2: Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 1:3.5 Macro Focusing Zoom VMC (of G- having trouble reading it, he said). O (with a slash through it) 62mm

    Lens 3: Minolta, MD 50mm 1:1.7 O (with a slash through it) 49mm (Dad said this was the one he used at our wedding)


    I asked him where he keeps his stash of APO G lenses, and he just laughed. Guess he didn't want to give that out over the phone. :lmao:
     

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