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Minolta Semi P II 75mm - Lens Upgrade Options?

  1. xo-whiplock
    I've posted this question to Flicker's Minolta Manual Focus, and posting here as well. I need help is figuring out if upgrading the lens in my Minolta Semi P II is possible? It's a folder camera, and if anyone knows of a better lens that will fit it, I would like to get your opinions of the lens on the camera and how much improvement in resolution is possible over the Chiyoko Promar sII 75mm f/3.5 lens? Thank you in advance for any info or suggestions.

    Craig

    Sample photo of shot taken with this lens: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/craig_j...n/photostream]

    Maybe having lens at infinitiy and f/22 is the reason for the softness? Perhaps focusing for center of shot is best?
  2. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Craig;

    Boy, you do have a challenge, don't you? Let's do the easy one first.

    The "hyperfocal" range of the camera is something to consider in taking a photograph with the greatest possible depth of field from infinity to the closest possible place. However, this will vary as a function of the aperture or f stop setting and with each lens focal length. If you look at most modern lenses, usually there will be some additional markings on the lens barrel near the focusing scale. These additional markings will be carefully placed lines with a range of numbers associated with those lines ranging from the lens maximum aperture number to the smallest aperture number, such as 2.8 to 22, and there will be two sets of them on either side of the main lens focusing index point. The largest lens opening number (in this example, 2.8) will be the first one on each side of the focusing index point, and the larger numbers that correspond to the decreasing smaller lens apertures will go farther out from the lens focusing index point. These markings will have the same mark-to-mark spacing from one mark to the next on both sides of the focusing index point. If you put the infinity mark on the lens focusing scale at the lens opening aperture number you have set on the lens, then you can look past the lens focusing index point over to the opposite lens opening aperture number, and that will tell you the closest distance that will be "in focus" from that distance out to infinity. The point on the lens focusing scale right by the lens focusing index point is the "hyperfocal distance." With most lenses, you will start to see some difraction effects at around f/16.

    Changing the lens on your Minolta Semi P. This is not going to be easy. Each manufacturer can choose what thread diameter and thread pitch he wants for the lens elements or group mounting. He chooses the lens registration distance, or the distance from the film plane to the lens nodal point. He can choose the location of the lens flange mouting surface. In most lenses with leaf shutters, the shutter assembly will be between lens groups or elements, so there will be two (2) lens groups to change. The lens mounting and any coupling to a rangefinder unit will need to be the same. There are so many variables here that will make the probability of finding a replacement lens assembly that will physically match the existing lens mounting on the Minolta Semi P camera body in the proper way to also provide an optically correct focused image on the film plane, not very high.

    You are dealing with a camera now considered to be "old;" not necessarily "antique," but "old." It came out in 1951 and they stopped making it around 1958. It was the last folding camera that Minolta (at that time still Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko Kogyo Kaibushiki-gaisha) produced, and it was not the best folding camera that they made. The lens is a simple triplet lens. Enjoy it for what it is; a nice camera you can fold up and put into your coat pocket. If you really want a highly detailed print of the scene you did show from Sunset Park, then look at another or larger format camera; a 4 by 5 view camera or perhaps even bigger.

    Enjoy;

    Ralph
    Latte Land, Washington
  3. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Craig;

    I have been over to the fLickr website, and I have seen the volume of commentary you have received from others. And, you are still using the Minolta Semi P with its original lens. That is the best part.

    Others have provided information on the use of your camera in this application. All of us have provided very similar information, but in slightly different forms. The main thing is that you have actually gone to the links and the other websites to look at the information there. Then you went back out and tried it. The second photograph you posted in fLickr with the children in it does show some image improvement. It is so hard to say what we are seeing with a digital representation. Having an actual print in our hands would make this comparison so much easier. Anyway, you have seen for yourself that there is more in the old Chiyoko ROKKOR lens than first thought.

    Just keep going. You are doing fine.

    Enjoy;

    Ralph
    Latte Land, Washington
  4. xo-whiplock
    xo-whiplock
    Ralph, I got your email and replied. I had some problems scanning my negatives. I had raw + tiff selected and that was a mistake. I changed it back to just plain ol' tiff. The raw was adding too much darkness, and I thought at first it was my exposure of the shots. I rescanned them with the proper settings, and found that the auto white balance was doing just as good a job as I was doing using auto in PSE6, so I just used that. Also, I had to delete my photos at least twice, the first time due to just too dark, and the second, because the EXIF data kept getting lost after I added it. Or rather, I though I added it. I use AnalogEXIF and for some reason, it would not write the correct EXIF is I just simply selected the data from my equipment list and then saved to multiple files I had selected. Some it would write and the rest it would not, and I tried like 5 times. Then I got the idea to copy the meta data from one of the files that had the same data, and then it did write the data to all the files I selected. I guess the AnalogEXIF can't keep the real time data in memory, but by copying the meta data from a picture that already has that data, it can remember that for the entire process of writing several files. This took me another good while to figure out. So, now the pics are all with the correct EXIF, something that I promised myself to make sure all the film shots have correct EXIF for others to read.

    As I wrote in the email, I'll be cleaning the shutter blades when I can do it. In the mean time, I'll be using my 35mm Minolta XE-7 for awhile. I have a bunch of color film I want to use up for it, and 2 100ft rolls of 100 and 400 B&W to use as well. I like the Semi P for how small it is, and so I'll be getting it working again soon. Again, thank you for the info.

    Craig
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