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Thread: MD/MA Adapter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Cool MD/MA Adapter

    Well, since I re-inherited a Minolta SRT 101 DSLR (circa 1974-1979), it came with a couple of lenses ... so I figured, what the heck, get an MD/MA Adapter

    Well, after placing the adapter device on my α700 ... these lenses have manual aperture trigger, because of the stem inside of them that the cameras pushed and activated the aperture blades. Well, there is no way to make that work on the Minolta 58mm f/1.4 lens with the adapter.

    On the other hand, the Sun 85-210mm f/4.8 is a small zoom lens, compared to a modern 70-200mm f/2.8. The lens has incorporated in it a non-removable "pistol grip" with a trigger. The trigger has a cable coming out of the back of it, that runs under the camera body and is used to not only mechanically trip the shutter release on the camera, but it also mechanically closes down the aperture, at the same time.

    The design of modern shutter releases is now electrical, not mechanical, so this cable can be ignored and not used. Even if you could use the mechanical cable release, you would have to remove the Vertical Grip from your Alpha camera. It is irrelevant, now.

    Again, this trigger activates the aperture setting you dialed in on the lens' aperture ring. There is a slide switch on the right side of the grip, at the top, that deactivates the trigger and allows you to "full time" manually close down the aperture by simply dialing it down yourself. The advantage of the trigger is that you can do your focusing wide open, squeeze the trigger and get the shot.

    Name:  SRT101-w-85-210.jpg
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    Name:  A700-w-85-210-on-adapter.jpg
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    Personally, I have never seen a lens like this, before. It really is kind of neat and it does what the 58mm f/1.4 PRIME cannot, on that adapter ... close the darn aperture down. I'll do some samples comparing it against the 70-200mm. The most unfortunate thing is, the M.F.D. is nearly 9-feet on it, mostly limiting it to outdoor use only, some some serious flash support.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 03-15-2010 at 10:07 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Nice Don. If you take a look at my gear list, I'm pretty much worse than you now for having a bunch of junk. I'm veering toward being a camera collector, but trying to resist (my wife is none too happy). I don't have any Minolta manual focus gear. They are supposed to be some of the best, but they can't be adapted to modern cameras (other than micro 4/3) without glass in the adapter, like Canon FD. (Edit: these lenses can be adapted without glass in the adapter, but will not focus to infinity. Still very useful for certain applications.)

    My 5D now spends a bit of time with M42 or Nikon F glass mounted, and I even picked up an M42 adapter for that A100 I have. In fact with Canon you can use Olympus OM, Contax/Yashica CY, Nikon F, M42, and on a crop camera you can use Pentax K. However probably the best investment is M42, and Sony can use those. Pretty much any system except Nikon can. And since many of the M42 lenses were used without stop down metering in the camera, many of them have pre-set apertures, which are a huge help.

    Both my Helios 44-2 58/2 and Super-Yashinon-R 135mm/2.8 have one clicking wheel to choose the aperture you want to step down to, and another click-less to actually step-down. You turn the click-less wheel all the way one way to focus and compose, then just twist it all the way in the other direction and you know you are at the desired aperture. Meter (or if using aperture priority let the camera do it for you) and shoot. Adds an extra step, but still very easy.

    Plus M42 is a screw mount, so the adapters are cheap and easy to make, and have no moving parts. My cheap Nikon F adapter lost the locking pin after only about a dozen removals. And you can leave the adapter on, and your camera basically becomes a digital M42 camera, with all the features and compatibility that most of the original M42 cameras had in the first place.

    As for the stopping down bit with older lenses, it seems like a smart engineer could design an adapter ring that translated the Alpha mount stop down lever movement to whatever the adapted lens used. This wouldn't really be possible with Canon's all electronic EOS mount, but when using adapted lenses on Sony or Pentax, it seems like the aperture lever could activate the adapters aperture lever.

    At any rate, it sure is nice that that gun lens has a stop down method, but, um, WTF, I have never seen another lens like that.

    Back when SLRs dominated amateur photography, and you could run into Sears or KMart and buy a store branded SLR, they sure did some wonky stuff.

    Which brings up another point, sometimes those Sears branded lenses are excellent, made by companies that at the time were as good as Sigma and Tamron and Tokina are now.
    Last edited by laydros; 03-19-2010 at 08:07 AM.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    Welcome to the collectors club, Jason. LOL

    You're right about the M42 preset lenses, they are much easier to use than counting clicks and hoping for the best, I have several Russian preset M42's and they rock.

    Although you are correct in saying that Minolta MF lenses need a "glassed" adapter to A-mount (unless you convert then to M42 first), I wouldn't discount them as useless. All the Macro photos I have posted are with the MD Macro 50mm f3.5 or the MD Macro Rokkor f4 and they are not too dusty.

    Have a look at these two pics and tell me which you think is the M42, one is a Minolta MD 135mm f2.8 with the Lao glassy adapter and the other is an M42 mount Zeiss MC Sonnar 135mm f3.5 both at f5.6 and focussed on the numbers.
    Name:  MD-Sonnar 01.jpg
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    or
    Name:  MD-Sonnar 02.jpg
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    "I don't have any Minolta manual focus gear. They are supposed to be some of the best, but they can't be adapted to modern cameras (other than micro 4/3) without glass in the adapter"

    says you

    they don't have the right coating for digital but they do ok if lighting is right

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    1,760
    btw you can use all the mc/md lenses with a glassless adapters...as long as you don't need full length to infinity...great for macro and close up work

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Well, I'll be honest, guys, I simply bought the adapter to make SOME use of the lens, if needed. Having it be completely useless seems to lack a certain level of "thrift."

    Now, there is a word you do not hear too much of, but I do believe it may be on the rebound, considering the plans the big boys have in store for us lesser beings. Sheesh! The "jolly junk pile" might be your only source of light capture remaining affordable.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    So sorry, I'll add an edit to my post too. These lenses can absolutely be used for macro work, and are great for it. Since macro is often manually focused anyway these are often excellent for macro work.

    Also, I certainly didn't mean to imply useless. The primary reason for that Nikon FE isn't to adapt the lenses to my Canon (I already have a 50/1.8, a 35/2, and I have a 100/2.8, which is pretty darn near 105/2.5) but to actually shoot with it. I went with Nikon simply because they are one of the more adaptable brands, but I was super happy with my Canon FD gear, the A-1 is still one of my favorite all time cameras. And Minolta stuff is also excellent. It has surprised me that so many people consider manual focus and film to be useless. I guess no good pictures were ever shot before 1985.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Peter, the top one looks sharper on the letters at the bottom and the bottoms purple looks a little better. I'm going to guess the top is the CZ, the bottom is Minolta, but its a crapshoot. Without knowing the reputation of those lenses and the glassed adapter better I don't know. Also the CZ isn't stepped down quite as far as the Minolta, and the Minolta is probably a newer design. (of course I'm starting to learn that almost every 35, 50, and 135 is a copy of CZ design, and really most lenses in general are).

    However in general I see CZ as being some of the sharpest lenses historically, and Minolta as having great all around lenses, but some of the best red-purple rendering, historically.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    2,152
    Jason, you got that spot on, however the lack of sharpness on the lettering is down to DOF considerations rather than the lens. Because of the glass in the adapter the focal length of the lens is around 150mm so the resulting nearside DOF is less (1") than with the Zeiss. This is the same shot at F8 with the Minolta but the nearside DOF is now getting on for 2" so the lettering is improved.
    Name:  MD-Sonnar 02 F8.jpg
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    The Zeiss comes in several variations, mine is the newer 4th generation black MC (Multi-Coated) Sonnar s/n 15812 which dates it, I think to the late eighties although the first versions of the MC lens came out in the early 1980s. The Minolta I got with the X700 in 1981 (I think) so age wise the Minolta is older.

    The Zeiss is one of the most popular and renowned lenses in M42 history, known for its sharpness and short MFD (3 feet) compared to most other 135mm lenses. I bought it primarily to see how the Minolta 135mm, with the glassed adapter, compared to a good M42 lens without and whether it was worth adapting the Minolta to M42 mount to get rid of the extra glass.

    I focussed the lens' on the numbers on the bottle label so here are crops of the centre at f8 ...
    Name:  MD-Sonnar 03 CC.jpg
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    and for good measure wide open.
    Name:  MD-Sonnar 04 Wide Open.jpg
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    So what do you reckon I should do?

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