What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Started Oct 19, 2009 | Discussions
Eric_1
Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Hi there!

Reading these forums I've always heard of people referring to Minolta Color, but I've never been able to figure out specifically what it is (or if it is just forum echo-chamber stuff). Can anyone point me to photos that show "minolta color"? Or, is there anyway to quantitatively measure minolta color? How is it different from playing with saturation in PP?

I had a tamron 17-50f2.8 (before I went FF) and a minolta 50mm f1.7, and never found any significant difference in "color" between them. My beercan had great bokeh, but compared to the sony 70-300g, I don't see any significant difference in color.

Thanks for your help!

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
RubberDials Contributing Member • Posts: 931
yes, it's a warm bias from neutral.

Anyone can reproduce it in post processing. People talking about preferring it is one of the less logical things you will read on this forum. A lens with as neutral colour balance as possible is the ideal, otherwise you're guessing when you process.

 RubberDials's gear list:RubberDials's gear list
Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32
Lyle From Canada Senior Member • Posts: 1,512
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Here is a great thread on the very subject from Dyxum
http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-colours_topic50876_page1.html?KW=magenta
--
Sony A300 - Sigma 10-20 - Sigma 17-70 - Sony 70-300G - Tamron 90 Macro

Michel J Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: What is

Eric_1 wrote:

Hi there!

Reading these forums I've always heard of people referring to Minolta Color, but I've never been able to figure out specifically what it is (or if it is just forum echo-chamber stuff). Can anyone point me to photos that show "minolta color"? Or, is there anyway to quantitatively measure minolta color? How is it different from playing with saturation in PP?

I had a tamron 17-50f2.8 (before I went FF) and a minolta 50mm f1.7, and never found any significant difference in "color" between them. My beercan had great bokeh, but compared to the sony 70-300g, I don't see any significant difference in color.

Thanks for your help!

Well if you don't see significant difference between "G" lenses (Sony or not) and Beercan, it have some reasons. They had produced in the same manufacturing unit and with the same caring by the same staff than the "G" lenses..

The history of "Minolta colour" come from the quality of glass and the typically green multicoating. Reason why they received as a nick name "Green Diamond".

But today, the multicoating is generally bluish, (i.e. a tad cold) or "Zeiss like".

In both case colour have deep density.

I agree also about that:

Natamambo [Dyxum] wrote

It's all about richness and vibrancy. Very hard to explain unless you manage to get an identical shot with and without a Minolta lens. The "minolta colours" are warmer and deeper somehow, without being forced, false or over cooked.

So it's difficult to appreciate because of personnal taste and "cultural or formal education of your eyes about colour".

For exemple, Sony consideration of today, is that the best ever produced lenses are the Beercan and 28-135mm because of a prodigious micro-contrasts produced by the F/4 constant (VS F/2.8 of the "G" lenses...) (Typically perceived with a good lighting situation such as sunny day)

Finally, most of those pro who decided to switch for Sony/Minolta, do it already about this reason.

Regards,

-- hide signature --

Michel J

 Michel J's gear list:Michel J's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sony SLT-A37 Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM +10 more
Lyle From Canada Senior Member • Posts: 1,512
Re: What is

For exemple, Sony consideration of today, is that the best ever produced lenses are the Beercan and 28-135mm because of a prodigious micro-contrasts produced by the F/4 constant (VS F/2.8 of the "G" lenses...) (Typically perceived with a good lighting situation such as sunny day)

The beercan, and the 28-135 are not considered the best ever produced Minolta lenses. They are both good budget lenses that give great value for the price. Both also have their flaws, the beercan can have excessive CA/PF and the 28-135 is a flare machine. So are both are good in relation to the price paid, however to say they compare to the likes of the 200/4 macro or the 300/4 tele are just wishful thinking. In fact there are numerous old Minolta lenses that are far better, albeit far more expensive as well.

-- hide signature --

Sony A300 - Sigma 10-20 - Sigma 17-70 - Sony 70-300G - Tamron 90 Macro

mastroalex Regular Member • Posts: 391
Minolta 28-75mm f2.8 and 35-70mm f4

Sorry I have no explanatory pictures as I tried the 28-75mm, that is a tamron design, for just few days, but I have to say it was slighly yellowish compared to my other minolta lenses, that had a better color reproduction. I sent back the 28-75mm.
My gear:
A700 and:
Minolta fixed lenses: 20 f2,8, 28 f2 RS, 50 f1,7 RS.
Minolta zoom lenses: 28-135 f4-4,5, 35-70 f4, 70-210 f4.
Sony zoom: 70-200 f2,8 SSM G.

MrScary Veteran Member • Posts: 6,374
Re: Minolta 28-75mm f2.8 and 35-70mm f4
-- hide signature --

Colour is insignificant--Your Blue is not my Blue that also gos for Red/Green Yellow etc., My perception of colours is different to yours or any body elses.

Your Great Coloured image would look good to one half but not so good to the other. Some like their colour to be Warm, others like them Brightly saturated, others Cool. So it is obvious that some will love the KM5D colours and others will love the 7D etc., etc., etc.,
So, My Monitor is Better than yours!
MrScary (DennisR)
Swansea, Wales. UK

http://copernob.jalbum.net/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scarecrowdr
http://www.russ4to.photoshare.co.nz

 MrScary's gear list:MrScary's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM Epson Stylus Photo R3000
GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,541
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Eric_1 wrote:

Hi there!

Reading these forums I've always heard of people referring to Minolta Color, but I've never been able to figure out specifically what it is (or if it is just forum echo-....

I had a tamron 17-50f2.8 (before I went FF) and a minolta 50mm f1.7, and never found any significant difference in "color" between them.

....

I have these two lenses. In general, I think the Tamron has a bit of a warmer tone, although it's been a long time since I recall comparing these two specifically.

The Tamron has wonderful color, though; if anything, I may prefer it to my Minolta lenses (heresy?), but sometimes different is just different and not necessarily better or worse.

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

 GaryW's gear list:GaryW's gear list
Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha NEX-5 +8 more
Kumabear Contributing Member • Posts: 679
Differences in Lens colors negligible.

I did testing between the Tamron 17-50 and Minolta 28-135 and while one lens was warmer when I adjusted the cameras to the same WB (I don't remember which one was warmer), when AWB was used, the camera compensated by producing pretty much identical pictures with both lenses.

Eric_1
OP Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Thanks for the link Lyle! I see you also caught me double posting on here and Dyxum :).

From that thread I still don't see any actual visual comparisons showing something about minolta color that can't be reproduced in PP. Many posters talk about a "3d" affect, and contrast levels of certain colors, and other super subtle effects. I can't help but be skeptical that this is all placebo affect...

If Minolta colors are so great, there must be some way to demonstrate, empirically that they produce some magic effect that can't easily be produced with a few sliders in PP.

Lyle From Canada wrote:

Here is a great thread on the very subject from Dyxum
http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-colours_topic50876_page1.html?KW=magenta
--
Sony A300 - Sigma 10-20 - Sigma 17-70 - Sony 70-300G - Tamron 90 Macro

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
Eric_1
OP Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: What is

Michel J wrote:

The history of "Minolta colour" come from the quality of glass and the typically green multicoating. Reason why they received as a nick name "Green Diamond".

But today, the multicoating is generally bluish, (i.e. a tad cold) or "Zeiss like".

In both case colour have deep density.

I agree also about that:

Natamambo [Dyxum] wrote

It's all about richness and vibrancy. Very hard to explain unless you manage to get an identical shot with and without a Minolta lens. The "minolta colours" are warmer and deeper somehow, without being forced, false or over cooked.

So it's difficult to appreciate because of personnal taste and "cultural or formal education of your eyes about colour".

For exemple, Sony consideration of today, is that the best ever produced lenses are the Beercan and 28-135mm because of a prodigious micro-contrasts produced by the F/4 constant (VS F/2.8 of the "G" lenses...) (Typically perceived with a good lighting situation such as sunny day)

Finally, most of those pro who decided to switch for Sony/Minolta, do it already about this reason.

Regards,

-- hide signature --

Michel J

Thanks for the response Michel. You mention that the colors are "deeper" - how is this different from saturation? If it is a big enough deal for people to switch from canikon to Sony - shouldn't the difference be big enough to see easily (say in two comparison photos)?
http://picasaweb.google.com/EricSL

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
Eric_1
OP Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: Minolta 28-75mm f2.8 and 35-70mm f4

Thanks for the response mastroalex - wouldn't a slight yellowish tint be easily fixed with a white balance adjustment? Did you notice anything different about the tamron that couldn't easily be fixed? Some critically important reason why Minolta Color is so valuable?

mastroalex wrote:

Sorry I have no explanatory pictures as I tried the 28-75mm, that is a tamron design, for just few days, but I have to say it was slighly yellowish compared to my other minolta lenses, that had a better color reproduction. I sent back the 28-75mm.
My gear:
A700 and:
Minolta fixed lenses: 20 f2,8, 28 f2 RS, 50 f1,7 RS.
Minolta zoom lenses: 28-135 f4-4,5, 35-70 f4, 70-210 f4.
Sony zoom: 70-200 f2,8 SSM G.

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
Eric_1
OP Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Gary - I loved my tamron too, it is such an incredible value for the price, and is one of the reasons I chose Sony (f2.8 standard zoom with IS for $400!!).

eric

GaryW wrote:

Eric_1 wrote:

Hi there!

Reading these forums I've always heard of people referring to Minolta Color, but I've never been able to figure out specifically what it is (or if it is just forum echo-....

I had a tamron 17-50f2.8 (before I went FF) and a minolta 50mm f1.7, and never found any significant difference in "color" between them.

....

I have these two lenses. In general, I think the Tamron has a bit of a warmer tone, although it's been a long time since I recall comparing these two specifically.

The Tamron has wonderful color, though; if anything, I may prefer it to my Minolta lenses (heresy?), but sometimes different is just different and not necessarily better or worse.

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
Eric_1
OP Eric_1 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: Differences in Lens colors negligible.

This is what I suspected... thanks for the reply.

Kumabear wrote:

I did testing between the Tamron 17-50 and Minolta 28-135 and while one lens was warmer when I adjusted the cameras to the same WB (I don't remember which one was warmer), when AWB was used, the camera compensated by producing pretty much identical pictures with both lenses.

 Eric_1's gear list:Eric_1's gear list
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC +5 more
mastroalex Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: Minolta 28-75mm f2.8 and 35-70mm f4

I understood the point of saying we all see colors differently. Btw, the tamron was just different, warmer, nothing bad, I mean, but I didn't enjoy it as the my other lenses.

In the italian forum there was a discussion about Zeiss vs other lens (I don't know which one) and if they can be matched. Someone tried to match them, but I think the blacks remain still much better on the 18-80 zeiss.

Is it worth to spend time matching colors? Is it worth to spend more on a zeiss? It's a matter of needs and taste. I'd rather prefer to have colors as I like without any further post processing. AS I LIKE, I'm not saying as they should be.

The zeiss is in the bottom of the first picture, follows the effort to match the pictures:

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 17,678
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

Hi Eric,

I've been shooting Minolta Maxxum gear since around 1991 and have used some 20 or so Minolta (plus a few 3rd party) lenses.

Despite that, every time I hear the phrase "Minolta color" I figure it's either someone imagining something that isn't really there or my inability to distinguish something that's not very obvious.

Lenses ... supposedly, in days of yore, Minolta made an effort to maintain consistency in color from lens to lens for the benefit of pro photographers. It's nothing I would have ever appreciated, shooting nature subjects on slide film, and other subjects on print film subject to color correction by my lab.

They you had the KM 7D camera (and the 5D). Each camera has its own jpeg engine not to mention its own color filter array which can affect raw photos. KM 7d images were nice. Sony A700 images are nice. I've never taken time to shoot the exact same subject then convert them with the exact same white color settings and it would be a moot point anyway as KM stopped making cameras ! (Of course, we don't know to what degree the Minolta color of the 7D was Konica color, either).

I guess there could be something to "Minolta color" ... measurable differences in the colors from older Minolta lenses, but I suspect that Canon users prefer Canon color and Nikon users prefer Nikon color ... sort of like Minolta has a rather undeserved reputation for producing lenses with awesome bokeh, when in fact they've produced a handful of very good lenes and some mediocre ones just like everyone else.

  • Dennis

-- hide signature --
mastroalex Regular Member • Posts: 391
The glow

More than colors, Minolta's colors are about general appearance of the picture, less sharp, but overall more pleasant. These results are a quite similar to beercan vs Sony 70-200mm that I did several months ago when I bought the Sony. I decided to keep the beercan anyway.
http://artaphot.ch/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=177&Itemid=43

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 17,678
Re: The glow

I bought a 28-70/2.8 off eBay for my 7D. It had a glow. Seriously, wide open, subjects had a sort of an aura about them. A soft focus look but with detail. Turns out the rear element needed cleaning and when I did that, the glow went away !

Now we just need someone to talk about how a lens "draws" an image

  • Dennis

-- hide signature --
jimb100 Senior Member • Posts: 1,292
Re: What is "minolta color" & can you reproduce it in PP?

I like "Photoshop Color" because it can be any color I like.

I also like "Photoshop White Balance", Exposure, etc.

I'm always amused when people on this forum talk about how they need a particular camera or lens to achieve a certain technical "look". Composition aside, shoot raw, use photoshop, make it any way you want.

Dennis wrote:

Hi Eric,

I guess there could be something to "Minolta color" ... measurable differences in the colors from older Minolta lenses, but I suspect that Canon users prefer Canon color and Nikon users prefer Nikon color ... sort of like Minolta has a rather undeserved reputation for producing lenses with awesome bokeh, when in fact they've produced a handful of very good lenes and some mediocre ones just like everyone else.

  • Dennis

-- hide signature --
Alec
Alec Contributing Member • Posts: 695
Re: Minolta Color Heritage

"Minolta color" is broader than any one technical property - it had to do with company focus on colorimetry and industrial / medical / scientific vision systems which they had worked on besides their photo equipment.

They were the only camera company that also produced light meters, including the color meters predominantly used in the photo studios and motion picture industry the world over. They've made the most sophisticated by far 4x5" color enlarger. Minolta has been just more serious about color in general than the other guys, and it showed in whatever photo gear they worked on.

In the film days, their lenses' coatings and glass were designed for a very high degree of color consistency between different lenses - way higher than the other makers (who just picked the glass and coatings to get the job done more straightforwardly for a given performance level.) If you were shooting an art catalog or interior architecture on slides on Minolta, you could switch lenses without the color jumping even a little bit from slide to slide.

Fast-forward to the digital days. Lens color consistency mattered less as it could be tuned in software; however, camera sensors became the new battleground for quality and related tradeoffs. Minolta continued with its color focus, using denser and / or narrower band microfilters on the somewhat unusual Bayer pattern of Red, Green1, Blue, Green2. The two greens were subtly different, allowing the camera to better discern the colors in the middle of the visible spectrum where human vision is the most color-sensitive. Actually this was pioneered on Minolta RD-175 DSLR circa 1995, which is the only 35mm format 3CCD DSLR that I know if. Of those 3 CCDs, 1 contained red plus blue pixels, and the other two CCDs contained two different kinds of green pixels. Needless to say this was a bit ahead of its time.

All these enhancements were oriented towards absolute max. quality imagery (naturally produced at or near the low base ISO). I.e. optimal for in daylight, studio, and flash light photography, at the expense of high ISO performance.

Sony continues this heritage to this day, albeit in a more balanced fashion. DxO rates A900 color response at 87.22 (on a 0-100 scale), which is on par or better than some medium format digital backs, whereas the latest Nikon D3X is 78.68. Of course there are many other metrics (like high ISO performance, preferred by photojournalists and casual shooters alike over things like color). Conversely color and absolute quality (at whatever low ISO) is preferred over sensitivity by studio, fashion, glamour, product, architecture, pictorial and similar applications.

So that's Minolta color for you

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Nikon D800 Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D Sony 50mm F1.4 Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* +33 more
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