Minolta Lens Perfect Data
There are several sources with Minolta lenses lists, but the most accurate is a “book about Minolta” with the separated part “Minolta Lens – Perfect Data”(pdf is here). It is attractive because this data is provided by the company itself. And it unambiguously sorts all Minolta SLR lenses into just 4 categories. And yet, unmistakably and with totally correct optical designs. It looks like a miracle after the classifications that are used among collectors (due to their high demands for details). I believe that for the average user this is the best source – simple and clear.
So, the moment came when I got tired of opening the pdf on page 97 and starting to scroll down, so I decided to put these incredible tables on the site simply in the form of pictures for quickly viewing.
The article – is the translation from Japanese, there is no my ideas. Additionally, in the bottom – the description of the differences between the Minolta lenses is presented, it is also very clear.
The Complete Collection of Minolta SLR Lenses
The “Minolta mount” appeared at the same time as the first Minolta SR-2 single-lens reflex camera and has been gradually developed. In total, the number of Minolta lenses is 277 pieces.
A complete line of Minolta lenses across generations.
Minolta Lens Types and Specifications
SR – Introduced in 1958 as a lens for the SR-2 camera. It was the first multi-coated lens to be called “Rokkor Green”. There are also several lenses with a “preset aperture” design at same period. This lens was called the S lens, and its more compact version was called the C lens.
MC – MC is an abbreviation for “metric connector”. In 1966 it was added to the lineup along with the SR-T101 equipped with an in-hull open aperture metering system. It uses the pins on the rear side of the aperture ring so that the selected aperture value and exposure meter can be linked.
MD/New MD – Lenses introduced in 1977 with aperture/shutter priority. The New MD, which appeared in 1981, added an maximum diaphragm locking mechanism (the ROKKOR name was removed from the New MD). The “D” in MD means “dual mode”.
A – This line of the lenses was released with the A-7000 in 1985 and uses an all-new A-mount. Aperture is operated by electronic inside camera, so there is no aperture ring.
The “Minolta mount” adopted for the following SR/MC/MD lenses was officially called the “Minolta SR mount” when the SR series first appeared, but here it is unified as the “Minolta mount”.
How to read the lens datasheet
Minolta Lens Perfect Datasheet
The evolution of Minolta lenses for single-lens reflex cameras
Minolta’s mounting specifications have changed as the body mechanisms have improved.
Minolta mounts can be roughly divided into two types: the Minolta mount, introduced in 1958, and the A mount, introduced in 1985.
The Minolta mount, born in 1958, was used as the primary mount for single-lens reflex cameras until 1985, when the A-mount was introduced. In the meantime, the Minolta mount evolved gradually, such as adding an aperture frame pin in response to body evolution. Each lens is named SR, MC, MD, NewMD (stamping “MD” remains) by generation. Minolta mounts are three prong bayonet type with a concave notch (groove?) in one of the pins. Mounting inner diameter: 45 mm. Rear flange: 43.5 mm
SR Lens ・MC Lens ・MD Lens/new MD:
The A mount used in the A lens has a slightly larger diameter than the Minolta mounts used so far, and the inner diameter and rear flange are also different. The first four contacts are the electrical signal contacts on the mount. Most lens controls, such as aperture value, maximum aperture, distance, and zoom-magnification, are transmitted to the body using electronic signals. The mount format is the same as the Minolta mount, but it does not have the groove that the Minolta mount had. Inner diameter: 44.8 mm Rear flange: 44.5 mm
Minolta mounts are divided into three generations: SR, MC and MD lenses, and MD lenses will be converted to New MD lenses. Consider the features of each lens.
The MC lens has an exposure meter link pin (MC). The presence of this pin made full aperture photometry possible. On the MD (New MD) lens, in addition to the MC pin, the MD pin has been added to transfer the maximum sensitivity value of the lens to the body.
When the aperture is set to maximum position and the lock is moved, the aperture ring gets stuck. This is a handy feature for shutter-priority AE on XD cameras, XD-s, etc.
SR lenses have a locking lever. Depending on the generation, there are variations in the shape of the stop lever, such as the shape shown in the photo, semi-circle, lever type etc.
The new MD lenses introduced in 1981 have a small pin inside the mount. This is an “fast f-number” transfer pin (lenses faster than F4).
Finally, I think it’s worth adding important information not from the book, but from the well-known Minolta specialist – Andrea Aprà. Here’s what he had to say about some of the important features of P mode. This is important for understanding the differences between MD and MC lenses – what happens if photographer didn’t set the minimum diaphragm in the P-mode on X-700 or XD (S-mode for XD).
“It should always be remembered (I think I have already explained it many times elsewhere) that the cameras that enter into this issue are only the XD models (all types in their various codes) in “S” mode (shutter priority) and the X-700 in P (program) mode. Every other model allows you to use MC lenses without any problems.
In the case of the XD and X-700 models (in the modalities mentioned above) it is prescribed to set the aperture on the green colored maximum closing value (three possible values: f/16, f/22 or f/32). This setting allows for the maximum EV operating range for aperture change. But this is not a mandatory limit, you can also set any value other than the maximum closure, for example f/8. The result is that if I use a 50 mm f/1.4 with maximum closure at f/16 the operating range is from f/1.4 to f/16 equal to:
– f/1.4 .. f/2 .. f/2.8 .. f/4 .. f/5.6 .. f/8 .. f/11 .. f/16 : i.e. 7 EV
if I set only f/8 the operating range will be:
– f/1.4 .. f/2 .. f/2.8 .. f/4 .. f/5.6 .. f/8 : ie 5 EV
if I set even lower values the range will be further reduced.
The camera uses the shutter time range and the aperture range to set the correct exposure. If the aperture range decreases because I set a wider aperture, the camera will be able to obtain the correct exposure only by operating on the shutter speeds.
If by absurd I set f/1.4, the camera will be able to make the correct exposure only using the times.
I have remembered that the mechanics of Minolta lenses absolutely never allow you to close the diaphragm to a value smaller than that set on the aperture ring. Try to do it manually by moving the pin that emerges from the bayonet with the lens removed, there is no way to close the aperture beyond the value set on the aperture ring. And therefore not even the camera can do it. Setting to the green value only serves to give the camera the maximum operating range on the diaphragms.
The MD lug present on all MD lenses engages the corresponding lever on the camera only and only if the aperture is set to the green value (maximum closure). This coupling allows the camera to know exactly the minimum available aperture value on that certain lens and therefore to turn on the internal display to show us the set aperture value (on XD models) or the program time (on the X-700) without this information in the display the aperture values do not appear (XD models) or the P of the X-700 program flashes. But in reality the camera will make the correct exposure anyway (if it is possible according to the available EV range with respect to the brightness of the subject). This is because the “Final-Check” functionality exists in both of these two camera types. This function measures the exposure in stop-down mode, i.e. in the short instant between the closing of the diaphragm at the working value and the start of the mirror raising, this is the operating sequence:
– the photographer looks through the viewfinder and sees the exposure values on the display,
– the photographer presses the shutter button,
– the camera activates the Final Check and starts measuring the exposure,
– the camera starts to close the aperture using the appropriate lever at the bottom of the bayonet,
– the Final Check continuously monitors the exposure while the diaphragm is closing and if we have set the “S” mode or the “P” mode, the Final Check stops the diaphragm closing lever when the exposure is correct. Warning: it can stop at any moment and does not necessarily close the aperture to the value set on the aperture ring,
– the Final Check has finished its work, the aperture is closed to the correct value based on the set times and the ISO value of the film,
– the mirror rises.
It is evident that the measurement is carried out in stop down and not with an open diaphragm as is done by XK/XM, XE, XG and all the other X models.
The MD lug and the corresponding lever on the camera only serve to turn on the display, it has no real operational utility in exposure. Knowing what the camera will do is certainly important and so the display is very useful, but that doesn’t mean it’s essential to the exposure.
This is also described in the X-700 manual which you see below. An equivalent text is also given in the XD series camera manual.
At the release of the first XDs in 1977 there were craftsmen who added the MD lug to the MC lenses and which were then adapted to use the new (for that time) model.
The Minolta documentation actually contained further descriptions that the mechanics of the MD lenses had been improved and had “improved dynamic” performance. It is evident that the sequence that I have described in detail above requires that the diaphragm have a particularly fast closing speed, i.e. that its mechanics is fast enough to be able to reach the set value in the short instant that exists between pressing the shutter release and the lift of the mirror. If the diaphragm is slow and awkward and its motion dynamics is sluggish all that play may not work well. When the XD model was introduced in 1977, the first “MD I” lenses were largely the same MC lenses where the front lettering had simply been changed to MD and the aperture ring with the MD lug added. The mechanics were the same. Then over time the lenses have been renewed and in some cases lightened in weight and perhaps the mechanics of the diaphragm done in a different way.
It is therefore possible that a 300mm or a long zoom (something to prove, I have never tested) could have slower diaphragm mechanisms in their MC editions rather than in the MD editions and that this could generate any problems, but I I’ve never had evidence. The reason could be due to the long mechanical shafts that carry the movement from the bayonet to the diaphragm which in these types of lenses is very far from the camera as they are “long” lenses from the point of view of physical dimensions.
An example is the CA 35mm f/2.8 Shift which does not exist in MD or MC edition and whose diaphragm closes automatically via a mechanism similar to a bicycle brake. It is basically an Auto Rokkor lens. I personally did some tests and asked Minolta Europe (which confirmed my idea) and this lens can be used in A mode and S mode on the XD models and in A mode and P mode on the X-700, without problems. Although the user manual does not recommend this feature. It must be said that A mode will always use the aperture set on the lens, while in S and P mode the aperture may be an intermediate value between the one set and the f/2.8 one.
… In cameras with photocells on the prism there is normally a memory circuit that blocks the measurement before raising the mirror and takes into account the value of the so-called “diaphragm simulator” (MC lug) to precisely simulate the light that will actually fall on the film after the diaphragm has closed.
Only direct measurement models, such as the Olympus OM2 (and similar ones, such as the Minolta CLE) take a reading in real time on the curtain (made reflective by drawings or white spots) or directly on the film and adjust the exposure in real time.
The Minolta XD and the X-700 do something in between: they take a measurement with the mirror down but with the aperture closed. It’s not a real-time reading but neither is it one that uses the diaphragm simulator.
All of this obviously can only be done with silicon light meters which are ultra-fast. You can’t do it with CdS light meters which are slow and could never make these measurements in fractions of a second.”
Have a nice day!
Dio · 2023-01-29 at 12:48
Hmm it looks like MC lenses do work in P mode. If you set aperture to its maximum position the camera will trust this value. Try yourself:
1) Set camera to P mode
2) Attach any lens and set aperture to F8
3) Open back cover
4) Direct the camera at something bright
5) Take a shot. You’ll see that the aperture didn’t close beyond F8
6) Direct the camera at something dark
7) Take a shot. You’ll see that the aperture didn’t close at all, i.e. it’s responding to light correctly.
Tony · 2023-01-29 at 19:44
Hello, it is so. I have added to the end of article the description of this case by Andrea Aprà