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  1. #1

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    How Good are Minolta MD-series Lenses?

    Hello, all,

    I have dabbled in various "classic" 35mm MF systems, and have found Pentax screwmount gear and Canon FD mount equipment to my liking. I am thinking of picking up a Minolta X-series body and an MD lens or two. I gather that, since the major 35mm manufacturers were very competitve in the golden age, the Minolta MD lenses must be pretty good...or perhaps very good. Any opinions? Any tips?

    Regards,
    Glen
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 07-03-2008 at 08:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    Jersey Vic's Avatar
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    I've used Nikkor and Contax Zeiss 35mm lenses as well as Minolta MD and think they're on a par with anyone. I love my 50mm f1.4 and my 100mm
    f4 macro. The 24mm is also supposed to be among the best.

    I've found this list to be helpful: http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20Reviews.html

    Camera-wise, my x700 has been a problem free, compact, lightweight and durable joy to use since my dad gave it to me in 1984. The meter is remarkably accurate and I've even dropped it a couple of times.
    Holga: if it was any more analog, you'd need a chisel.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmOnly View Post
    Hello, all,

    I have dabbled in various "classic" 35mm MF systems, and have found Pentax screwmount gear and Canon FD mount equipment to my liking. I am thinking of picking up a Minolta X-series body and an MD lens or two. I gather that, since the major 35mm manufacturers were very competitve in the golden age, the Minolta MD lenses be pretty good...or perhaps very good. Any opinions? Any tips?

    Regards,
    Glen
    Minolta MD lenses are excellent and very competitive with the best of Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc. Even Leica went to Minolta for some lens and camera body designs. Used MC/MD glass is an absolute bargain compared to other used gear.

    I especially love my Minolta MD 24mm lens.

    The X-700 is a decent camera. I would say the Minolta XD-11 is better, but unfortunately they are prone to electronic problems that are difficult to fix. The X-700 also has had problems with a capacitor, but it is very easily replaced. A common tactic was to find "broken" X-700 bodies on eBay for next to nothing, and then replace the $0.50 cent capacitor and resell for full price. Also if you can find an X-570 instead of an X-700, that is preferable.

  4. #4

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    I thank you for your comments, Jersey Vic and MikeM1977. The X-700 sounds like a camera that would be similar to my AE-1 Program (though it has aperture instead of shutter priority--no big difference to me)--I just love the meter in the AE-1 P...and the camera handles very well and has a very nice feel, too.

    Regards,
    Glen

  5. #5
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    If you want complete control pick up an older camera. I had an XG-M for 20 years and used a sr-T101 for the last five. The sr can be run completely mechanical, no battery. All t you need that for is the needle meter. As to the MC/MD mount lenses, they can't be beat. The old Rokkors are the best by far IMHO, but I have a few good Quantarays and Vivitars over the years. The Older Minoltas make some wonderfully adaptable systems and are well worth checking out.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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  6. #6

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    I forgot to ask: why is the X-570 preferable?

    Also, what is the difference between MC and MD glass? I gather it is probably stop-down vs. open aperture metering? I have been looking at KEH, eBay, etc., and the MC glass seems dirt cheap.
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 07-03-2008 at 08:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmOnly View Post
    I forgot to ask: why is the X-570 preferable?

    Also, what is the difference between MC and MD glass? I gather it is probably stop-down vs. open aperture metering? I have been looking at KEH, eBay, etc., and the MC glass seems dirt cheap.
    The MD added another tab to the lens to tell the body that it was at minimum aperture, for program mode.

    Also, some of the MD lenses were redesigned to be smaller and lighter. For example, the Rokkor files website claims that the redesigned 85mm/f2 was slightly better than the larger 85mm/f1.7.

    I agree that the MC lenses can be a bargain.
    Charles Hohenstein

  8. #8

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    Thanks, folks...

    So, an MC lens will mount properly on, say, an XG-M, X-700, or X-570 body? Also, do the MC lenses provide full-aperture metering?

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Barry S's Avatar
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    Yes, the MC lenses meter at full aperture. In some cases, the build quality is better than the MD lenses. Optically, there are some outstanding Minolta lenses. The 135mm f/2.8 is super sharp with beautiful bokeh and many of the primes are excellent. The X-570 is preferable because it has "match led" metering. If you're using manual mode, it will show what the meter reads *and* what you set for the shutter speed. So you have better control of metering. The X-700 has program mode, but no match led metering.

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jersey Vic View Post
    I've used Nikkor and Contax Zeiss 35mm lenses as well as Minolta MD and think they're on a par with anyone. I love my 50mm f1.4 and my 100mm
    f4 macro. The 24mm is also supposed to be among the best.

    I've found this list to be helpful: http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20Reviews.html

    Camera-wise, my x700 has been a problem free, compact, lightweight and durable joy to use since my dad gave it to me in 1984. The meter is remarkably accurate and I've even dropped it a couple of times.
    Thanks Vick, for making me feel old. "your dad gave you one one in 1984" I worked in a store back then in the dark ages, and sold them by the dozen which wasn't difficult because they were such a nice camera, In fact I still know two of the customers I sold them to who are still using them.
    It's a great shame that a company making such good products has gone down the tubes.
    Ben

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