Sony Alpha System and Compatibility w/Minolta Lecacy Lenses

Started Jun 4, 2011 | Discussions thread
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William Curtindale
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Sony Alpha System and Compatibility w/Minolta Lecacy Lenses
Jun 4, 2011

Besides doing creative and technically good photography I also enjoy collecting some legacy photographic equipment as a hobby and system. For example I own and still enjoy using many of the original Minolta Maxxum lenses from 1985. I also own several of the very latest CZ and G lenses for the Sony Alpha system (which I use most of the time).

The legacy lenses from 1985 all have satin black metal bodies and the spiral knurled rubber grip (all have the same look and style as from the same family which has no photographic value but as a collector I like). Yeah, these lenses have a feel of precision and craftsmanship.

The below lenses all support FF and also work well on the Sony Alpha bodies. Some of these lenses can be found in excellent / mint condition on ebay at bargain prices (i.e. 28-85mm, 50mm f/1.7, 70-210mm f/4 and 100-200mm) while others will command higher prices (i.e. 16mm, 35mm f/1.4 or f/2, 28mm f/2, 85mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.0).

More modern lenses will generally have a much reduced minimum focus distance when compared to the older legacy lenses. The newer lenses also have better rear element lens coatings for digital cameras and some have SSM for faster focusing. Also the newer lenses generally have better flair and CA control.

When comparing many of the old lenses to new designs and technically improved in optimum shooting conditions and at f/5.6 to f/8 it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference. But if shooting more wide open (newer high end lens can usually open wider than the old) and in harsh conditions the new will surface as supreme (including faster focus, CA, Flair, close focus and longer zoom range). IMHO, I believe the legacy lenses strengthens the Sony Alpha system as a whole (looking back on the heritage and continuity / compatibility).

Below are some of my favorite legacy Minolta Maxxum lenses (many specialty lenses not listed):

  • 16mm f/2.8

  • 20mm f/2.8

  • 24mm f/2.8

  • 28mm f/2.8

  • 35mm f/1.4

  • 50mm f/1.4

  • 85mm f/1.4 G

  • 100mm f/2.8 macro

  • 100mm f/2.0

  • 135mm f/2.8

  • 200mm f/2.8 HS APO

  • 28-85mm

  • 28-135mm

  • 70-210mm f/4

  • 100-200mm

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 William Curtindale's gear list:William Curtindale's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony SLT-A99 Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G +10 more
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