Cheap Minolta glass
I was just looking at Minolta lenses at KEH for the first time in a while, since the 35 f/2 was mentioned, and I don't remember how much those go for. KEH didn't have the 35 f/2, but most of the Minolta glass has gone down quite a bit in the last year or so. One could build a strong bag of older film lenses for quite cheap. The 50/1.7 was pushing $150 a year and a half ago, sometime $200 buy it now on ebay, but KEH has them for $79 in EX condition. The 50/1.4 comes in under $250. No doubt the Sony 50/1.8 has an effect on this. The excellent 24/2.8 is only a hair over $200, and the 28/2.8 (very good, just not great) is south of $100 in EX condition. Unfortunately Minolta doesn't have as much in terms of good quality cheap longer primes available (and I honestly don't remember many existing, was there ever an 85/1.8 or 135/2.8 or so?)
But there are some good, moderately fast zooms as well, many covering the longer range. The first that comes to mind is the 70-210 f/4 "Beercan." I had one and loved it, and it has a bit of reputation. Kinda odd for internal zooming, but not internal focusing. I rarely saw them go for less than $200 on eBay, which of course would be without warranty, here it can be had for $215 in LN condition with caps and 90 day warranty, or less without caps in EX condition.
Additionally some mid range zooms like the 24-105 for $159, (which Don had some serious issues with, but some people really liked), the 28-85 f/3.5-4.5 (I had one of these too and loved it) for $72, and the 35-70 f/4 for $47. Unfortunately it looks like Peter's favorite (favourite ;) ) the 28-135 is not available without giving up your first born, or a bit past $300.
These are older lenses, many without replacement parts available, and certainly without manufacturer warranty. They were not designed with digital in mind, so optics and coatings may not be optimal. However they are almost all super sharp, well built lenses, and the prices are killer. Not to mention, don't discount the value of picking up something like the 50/1.7, 28/2.8, a couple of rolls of HP5, and just about any film body, a 7000 in bargain condition for less than $15, or EX for $53. You will learn a lot, and really improve your photography.
The first 28-135mm I bought was $199 BIN on ebay with Tiffen filter and no front cap. It had a scratch on the front element but was still super sharp.
The second one I bought was $399 BIN and was in mint condition with original caps.
The first was a Maxxum and the send was not.
I wish Canon had something similar to it. Focus was blazing fast on it!
Jason, the 85's were all f1.4 including the G lens
The 100 was f2
135's only came at f2.8 but included the unique STF model.
Above that you're into the APO G's of 200/300/400/600
With the oddball Reflex f8 popping up at 500mm.
Of course, if you want to include Manual focus, you'll find
85mm f1.7 and f2
to name but a few.
The 28-135mm? Well, it's a classic and deserving of "G" Status. Bought mine in '85 (maybe'86) and if I were forced to choose only one lens from my collection, this would be it.
So it sounds like they never really offered any consumer level primes past 50? Was the 100 f2 a bit cheaper?
That 58mm f/1.2 is a loved lens. I don't think I'll switch up my digital/AF kit anytime soon, but I am loving my film cameras more and more. I'm actually starting a darkroom class this week. I really like the Canon FD stuff, but might try trading it out for something like an XD-11 or so.
Was the XD-11 of similar build as the Nikon and Canon F-1, or was it more like the Canon A-1 level?
I don't recall the 100mm f2 being particularly cheap, and thinking about that I remember there was also a 135mm f2; I only ever saw one and I've never seen a secondhand one for sale.
The XD11 was the XD7 in Europe, a top pro camera and arguably the best Minolta ever and built like brick whatnot. The body was used also for the Leica R4 and the chassis continued with Leica through to the R7. The XD7(11) camera had everything including the first with A&S priority modes. If the battery fails it is still operable in manual mode.