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Minolta Lens on an EF Mount


mercer

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I recently won a Minolta MC 58mm 1.4 lens that was converted to EF mount with a Leitax adapter... for less than the cost of the adapter if I were to buy it new.

As you guys probably already know, Minolta lenses do not easily adapt to EF cameras due to the difference in flange distance, but there are two lenses that will with either the Leitax or EdMika adapters... the 58mm 1.4 and the legendary "bokeh king" dream lens... the 58mm 1.2.

There are other ways to adapt Minolta lenses if you're handy or want to pay someone to do it for you. In fact, I posted some frames from an adapted 35mm 1.8 a couple years ago...

DA7AC039-5931-4BD2-AE40-B29B62EA3EEF.thumb.jpeg.c4a08bcc63a2f07d453fedb47005de76.jpeg

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Unfortunately, that lens will only focus to 4 feet. It seems like there is something inside the lens that is binding it up, but I haven't been able to easily open the lens to inspect it. I was able to get a partial refund so it was worth keeping the lens.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the 58mm 1.4 on eBay and ecstatic when I won the auction. On my last shooting day, I was able to take the 58mm 1.4 out for a spin.

First let me say that they just don't build lenses like they used to. These old Minolta lenses are a pure joy to use. The focus ring is silky smooth... I wish there was a better adjective to describe it, but other than Takumar lenses, it's one of the smoothest focus rings I've ever used with the perfect amount of dampening.

The lens is also sharper than I expected it to be... when stopped down. Wide open the lens lacks contrast, but stopped down to f/2, the image starts to come alive... contrast gets a bump and it sharpens up nicely.

Here are a few frames from my test...DE8A6251-5249-4959-881C-2E225E709996.thumb.jpeg.908b7a521062410cff1d7945a6d0be47.jpeg

BC73546D-DCF0-453F-A629-7458438C16CA.thumb.jpeg.422fc6f16a67f050c02d399d7646c70f.jpeg

2A0B9008-982D-4195-8D60-0362CB48A9F4.thumb.jpeg.8e180f6bf1f6d990351be2d405071ec6.jpeg

I wish I was a better colorist to take advantage of the saturation capable with these lenses. The color separation is gorgeous, but I don't trust my eyes or my screen to really push it.

Overall I found the lens to be well worth what I paid for it, but not as good as the 35mm 1.8... which is one of my favorite lenses of all time. I hear the old 55mm 1.7 kit lens is a sharper lens and since I have a mint copy in my lens collection, just collecting dust, I think I'm going to try and adapt it myself, so I can do a comparison.

But as is, this 58mm 1.4 is a beautiful lens that is older than me and has stood the test of time better than I have. For 33 bucks... how could I possibly complain?!

For you mirrorless users, the good news is that these beautiful and cheap Minolta lenses can be adapted with a cheap, dumb adapter. But with a little ingenuity and patience, even EF users can experience shooting with legendary Minolta glass.

For a further, more in depth, discussion of Minolta lenses, I highly recommend the Rokkor Survival Guide over at the RedUser forum...

https://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?92246-Minolta-Rokkor-Survival-Guide

If I can get the 35mm 1.8 to focus to infinity, I'll have a beautiful, two lens set for less than $150. What more can I ask for?

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Congrats on the purchase (what a deal you got, wow!).

I also think that Minolta Rokkor MC 58/1.4 is one of the most underrated gems, especially when converted to EF mount - a very versatile option with great character.
Managed to grab many good shots with it.
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Though I must admit that I sold my copy a couple of weeks ago, since I no longer needed 58 mm focal length and nifty fifties are much smaller and lighter than this hefty piece of craftsmanship.

Right now my 50 mm lens of choice is Pentax M 50/1.7.

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you and your minolta's and andrew and his cooke lenses are playing the devils advocate with my wallet. Actually any lens thread is a bit of a danger. 🙄 My eyes lit up when you mentioned 58mm f1.2 so i ebayed it their probably about the same as canon fd 1.2 or even pricier perhaps. It seems any vintage, fast lens or wide / faster than standard lens gets expensive fast once you stray from the nominal 50 mm type lens. I upgraded my internet plan about a month ago which has meant alot of youtubes on various lenses, which kind of lead to an... indiscretion with a russian lens. I'm kind of interested  in finding either a pentax 17mm f4 or the 35mm f2 next that will kinda round out the collection of pentax m42's i have then. Some are smc some are just super taks. I don't think i have defined a look that i like yet. Something i'll have to spend some time on shortly.

I'm not fixated on pentax (well i don't think i am ), but it seems to me they have just been the easiest to adapt from m42 to ef for the canon, then the p4k came along which led to the speedbooster onto m4/3 mount. Once i got to six, i thought i should just get the whole set 😁 On the whole most video reviews seem like the m42's so i feel i haven't done too bad by purchasing them as i could afford it.

 

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38 minutes ago, heart0less said:

Congrats on the purchase (what a deal you got, wow!).

I also think that Minolta Rokkor MC 58/1.4 is one of the most underrated gems, especially when converted to EF mount - a very versatile option with great character.
Managed to grab many good shots with it.
s-l1600.thumb.jpg.7da2c4ed1cbdc95e29c130480575946c.jpg

s-l16001.thumb.jpg.027ea24c20a5c3f7fa9de1b55a071dc4.jpg

s-l16002.thumb.jpg.5020a0eb32ac3d9b6d6240f798529ed7.jpg

s-l16003.thumb.jpg.b40853252bd387cb3d469dfadc98b958.jpg

 

Though I must admit that I sold my copy a couple of weeks ago, since I no longer needed 58 mm focal length and nifty fifties are much smaller and lighter than this hefty piece of craftsmanship.

Right now my 50 mm lens of choice is Pentax M 50/1.7.

Nice shots... I should make it a rule on my posts that you can only post your own samples if they're worse than mine. Haha.

Seriously though... it's a cool little lens and I would have paid double or triple for it an I would have been happy.

Pentax-M lenses are amazing. Along with the Nikon 50mm Series E, the Pentax-M 50mm 1.7 was the first good lens I ever bought. I still have it in my closet somewhere. I should give that a test the next time I go out.

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36 minutes ago, leslie said:

I'm kind of interested  in finding either a pentax 17mm f4 or the 35mm f2 next that will kinda round out the collection of pentax m42's i have then. Some are smc some are just super taks.

I love Taks! I've had a couple copies of the 35mm f/2 and found it to be one of the most interesting lenses I've ever owned. It has a butt load of character... even if the 3.5 is probably a better lens overall. I still have the 3.5, a 50mm 1.4, 55mm 1.8 and a couple of the tiny, older Auto-Taks.

Going forward, I want to test and build one of those cheaper sets of lenses... either finish off a Nikon set, the SMC Pentax, or SMC Takumars... or maybe all 3...

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1 hour ago, heart0less said:

s-l16001.thumb.jpg.027ea24c20a5c3f7fa9de1b55a071dc4.jpg

s-l16002.thumb.jpg.5020a0eb32ac3d9b6d6240f798529ed7.jpg

you should be shooting some decore shampoo commercials heartoless, that hair / model shot is really nice. Although i am particularly drawn to the black and white image and the glow around the lights and how the light falls away. I seem to be feeling a little melancholic of late. Been visiting youtube in an effort to learn about black and white in davinci resolve.

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2 hours ago, mercer said:

Seriously though... it's a cool little lens and I would have paid double or triple for it an I would have been happy.

Exactly.
I paid 115$ for it and still felt happy with my purchase, even though it's almost modern fifties' price territory.

 

1 hour ago, leslie said:

you should be shooting some decore shampoo commercials heartoless, that hair / model shot is really nice.

Hahahahha, thanks! I just got lucky with the weather, I guess!
( :

 

1 hour ago, leslie said:

Although i am particularly drawn to the black and white image and the glow around the lights and how the light falls away. I seem to be feeling a little melancholic of late. Been visiting youtube in an effort to learn about black and white in davinci resolve.

The best thing is that this glow was captured in camera, no post involved.
It was a misty, humid London evening and that's what created the right mood. I waited for some passerby, dragged my shutter a little bit (thanks to amazing Panasonic G80's IBIS) and voila.
A bit surreal photo, though it's one of my favorites.

Having an option to display everything in B&W in your camera definitely helps. Photos are saved as RAWs, so every bit of color information is still there, but seeing a colorless image is a great way to enhance your composition skills.

If you are coloring in Resolve, then this tutorial should assist you in getting some great results:

 

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11 hours ago, leslie said:

you and your minolta's and andrew and his cooke lenses are playing the devils advocate with my wallet. Actually any lens thread is a bit of a danger. 🙄 My eyes lit up when you mentioned 58mm f1.2 so i ebayed it their probably about the same as canon fd 1.2 or even pricier perhaps. It seems any vintage, fast lens or wide / faster than standard lens gets expensive fast once you stray from the nominal 50 mm type lens. I upgraded my internet plan about a month ago which has meant alot of youtubes on various lenses, which kind of lead to an... indiscretion with a russian lens. I'm kind of interested  in finding either a pentax 17mm f4 or the 35mm f2 next that will kinda round out the collection of pentax m42's i have then. Some are smc some are just super taks. I don't think i have defined a look that i like yet. Something i'll have to spend some time on shortly.

I'm not fixated on pentax (well i don't think i am ), but it seems to me they have just been the easiest to adapt from m42 to ef for the canon, then the p4k came along which led to the speedbooster onto m4/3 mount. Once i got to six, i thought i should just get the whole set 😁 On the whole most video reviews seem like the m42's so i feel i haven't done too bad by purchasing them as i could afford it.

If I shot FF and didn't mind having a reversed MF direction, I'd just get a full set of the Takumars.  They have this character that is rarely seen elsewhere, plus the build quality is absolutely excellent.  

10 hours ago, leslie said:

Been visiting youtube in an effort to learn about black and white in davinci resolve.

One method that is very interesting is to convert the image to B&W in the last node and do the processing before that, as that means that you can use the colour information to enhance the look of the image by adjusting the brightness of each colour with a Hue vs Lum curve.  Basically you just raise and lower each hue to get the nicest contrast.

For example, if you had a shot of a model in front of a green hedge where the sun was on both the hedge and the model then a straight B&W conversion would have the model and hedge as roughly the same brightness.  But if you lower the luminance of the greens then you can keep the exposure on the model but darken the hedge without having to make masks or do anything manually.  If there were blue flowers on the hedge then you could brighten those up so now the model is in front of a dark hedge with bright flowers, etc.  

The technique can really take B&W images to the next level.

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6 hours ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

I am planning on modifying my Minolta 35mm 1.8 to EF. 

I really love the image and it will be nice to start using it more frequently. 

It's a beautiful lens. Good luck with it... I hear it's one of the harder ones to modify.

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16 minutes ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

dang I wonder why. Its like the best 35mm lens out there though, at least in its price bracket.

Honestly, I forget... it's been a minute since I've read about modifying Minolta lenses. I think the biggest issue with the mods is that each lens Minolts built was mechanically different. With FD lenses, the internals were very similar but with Minolta, nothing was interchangeable... you have to dissect each lens and machine parts to make them work.

Google Jim Buchanan, he is/was the guru of Minolta to EF mods. The 35mm 1.8 I have was supposedly modified by him, and I tried contacting him but never received a reply.

I need to figure out why my copy won't focus past 4 feet, though because it's not only one of the best 35mm lenses... it's probably one of my all time favorite lenses. 

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35 minutes ago, mercer said:

Honestly, I forget... it's been a minute since I've read about modifying Minolta lenses. I think the biggest issue with the mods is that each lens Minolts built was mechanically different. With FD lenses, the internals were very similar but with Minolta, nothing was interchangeable... you have to dissect each lens and machine parts to make them work.

Google Jim Buchanan, he is/was the guru of Minolta to EF mods. The 35mm 1.8 I have was supposedly modified by him, and I tried contacting him but never received a reply.

I need to figure out why my copy won't focus past 4 feet, though because it's not only one of the best 35mm lenses... it's probably one of my all time favorite lenses. 

man no focusing past 4 feet sucks, maybe I'll leave mine alone than. 

The Nikon 35mm 1.4 AI is not nearly as nice 

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On 3/5/2020 at 1:06 AM, thebrothersthre3 said:

man no focusing past 4 feet sucks, maybe I'll leave mine alone than. 

The Nikon 35mm 1.4 AI is not nearly as nice 

I can't say for sure until I open up the lens, but it feels like something is inside the lens binding up the focus ring and not a limitation of the modification. If the guy who sold it to me was being honest, and Jim Buchanan did the mod, then it was most likely done properly and focuses to infinity.

The Nikkor 35mm 1.4 AI-S is a pretty special lens in its own right. Wide open the images feel a little more chaotic than the smooth, dreamy character of the Minolta, but stopped down, the Nikon is a lot sharper and takes on a more "modern" feel.

It also seems like Nikon's coatings are more effective than Minolta's were. Of course, this is based on Minolta MC lenses. The MD lenses tend to offer a slightly different look with better coatings. 

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  • 1 month later...

Honestly with the rise of mirrorless cameras and more modular cinema cameras, I personally don't think it's as imperative now as it was a few years ago to find ways to modify Minolta lenses to the EF mount. Speaking personally I'm very early into building my Rokkor lens set. Currently I own an early model 28mm f2 and a MC PG 50mm f1.4 and I adore both. The 28mm is a gem to use on my G85, especially with my Pixico speedbooster. 

Also, as an aside, I found out awhile back that almost an entire feature film (Identifying Features) that screened at this year's Sundance was shot on Minolta MC Rokkor's! 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Over the last couple of months I built up a set of three Rokkor primes (I bought four but the 85mm had a bad case of fungus); I now have a 28 mm, a 55 mm, and a 100 mm. So far I've only used them for photography but am planning to try them on my Micro Cinema Camera once I get a Minolta MD to Nikon F adapter so I can use with my Nikon-to-MFT speedbooster.

These lenses have rejuvinated my photography and I'm taking some of my best photos ever. The colors are painterly, the bokeh is gorgeous. The only drawbacks are the lack of flare resistance and a few other minor things; I like that they are generally low-contrast wide open but super-sharp stopped down a bit. A few examples:

28mm:

La centrale de la Rivière-des-Prairies

 

100 mm:

On the trail

55 mm:

Sensitive Fern

85 mm:

Église de la Visitation

 

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  • 1 month later...

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