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Minolta lenses kick ass!
Old 12-10-2010   #1
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Minolta lenses kick ass!

I'm just scanning a bunch of slides that my brother shot on my old X700 with a 50mm f1.7 and 28mm f2.8.

This was my first camera kit and served me solidly from 1998 to 2007. My god, when you look at the output from those lenses and consider how cheaply they go for on eBay these days, they're absolutely quality lenses. I find them very distinctive and prefer them to any of my Nikon AIS lenses. There's a certain softness and smoothness about the images. Normally we all crave 'sharpness'. I find the Minolta lenses the opposite but in a most appealing way.

Any others out there digging Minolta lenses?
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Old 12-10-2010   #2
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I used a SRT 102 with a 24mm VFC for a while and loved the setup. The film advance jammed one day and its been sitting on the shelf waiting its turn for getting sent the repair shop.
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Old 12-10-2010   #3
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I've got an old Auto Reflex half frame SLR and it came with a 57mm f1.4 Hex on it ... the first time I used the camera the lens amazed me. Like you say not blindingly sharp but the way it renders is beautiful.
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Old 12-10-2010   #4
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Keith, the Konicas were great indeed (still are), but back then Konica and Minolta were unrelated. Anyway, I love the Rokkor MC and MD lenses, and the SRT 101 is one of the best SLRs ever, I think.
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Old 12-10-2010   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
Keith, the Konicas were great indeed (still are), but back then Konica and Minolta were unrelated. Anyway, I love the Rokkor MC and MD lenses, and the SRT 101 is one of the best SLRs ever, I think.

You learn something every day!

Is the SRT 101 the camera that has the rather odd shape ... sort of like rounded shoulders? I've always had a desire to own one of those!
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Old 12-10-2010   #6
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I have an SRT101, XG1, X700 and an XD11. The 101 and the XD11 re the best of the bunch. The 101 is a solid mechanical masterpiece and the XD11 is the last camera they built with a metal body. The other two don't share their reliability. I have an 35mm F1.8several 50mm F2, an 85mm F2 and a 100 F4 and a set of extender rings. Their output is better than several lens I have afor a Nikon D90 and I think are equal to some of my Leica lens. In a nutshell, they are simply great cameras and lens. 'nuff said.
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Old 12-10-2010   #7
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Here's some of the shots I just scanned. The bokeh just knocks me out.
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Old 12-10-2010   #8
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Sounds like I ahould put a roll through my X570.
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Old 12-10-2010   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
Here's some of the shots I just scanned. The bokeh just knocks me out.
I'm a sucker for that kind of smooth bokeh! Looks like a great lens for candid portraits, not so much for landscape...
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Old 12-10-2010   #10
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Minolta SLR glass is great! In addition to the lenses mention by the OP, the 35/2.8 and the 85/2 are both very good. Some have noted the similarity in rendering between Minolta SLR lenses and Leica lenses, which is not surprising given the collaboration between the two companies in the 70s. Nowadays, Minoltas don't seem to get much respect, but the glass is quite special, IMO.

50/1.7:



85/2.0:



35/2.8:

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Old 12-10-2010   #11
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I have a Minolta SRT-101 with a 55mm f/1.4 and a 135mm f/2.8. I've not tried the 135mm, but the 55mm is dream lens! If it wasn't for the difficulty I have in focusing the camera due to the screen, I'd use it. As it stands I can't see paying what it would cost to get a better body, so it sits in its bag.

I also have a Minolta A-2 Rangefinder, but it is sadly gummed up. One of these days I'd like to get it fixed for the fun of it.
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Old 12-10-2010   #12
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Great shots. I'd love to try the 85mm.

I gather the 58mm f1.2 is legendary but seems to command a premium price.
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Old 12-10-2010   #13
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I went on a Minolta bender a few years back and still have my black XD11 with a 24mm f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.4, an 85mm f/1.7, and finally a 135mm f/2 (with a 72mm filter! that lens is just nuts). I've been working with Leica this year, but I always pull out the XD11 with the 135mm to take backstage photos of my daughters at their dance recitals. Knocks my socks off every time.

If you're going to dabble in MC and MD lenses, check out the Rokkor Files, http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20Reviews.html. Don't say I didn't warn you, though. It's addictive.
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Old 12-10-2010   #14
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Generally speaking -- since folks are talking about Minolta and Nikon -- what you'll find is that Minolta shines over Nikon in the wide angles (with a few exceptions, like the Nikkor 28mm 2.8 AiS and the 28mm f/2, which the Rokkors can't touch), equals or occasionally betters them in the middle (the MD Rokkor-X 50mm f1.4 is the sharpest 50/1.4 I've ever used by far, with the most vivid color rendition and contrast, despite what y'all say about sharpness. The 55s and 58s have a soft look but not the 50/1.4. I have a 58/1.4 Rokkor and had a 58/1.4 Nikon which I sold for five times what the Rokkor would bring me, and the Rokkor is by a mile the more beautiful lens. Nikon shows its strength in the tele's. The 85s are gorgeous from both makers, though Nikon's 85/2 is more lovely than the late-version 85/2 Minolta produced; the Rokkors shine at 85/1.7 however, better than the Nikkor's in that max aperture. (actually theirs are 1.8 -- an old pre-Ai and the new AF-D). But every 100mm-105mm lens Nikon has produced is a masterpiece, including their E-series f/2.8. The 135s are taken all together about equal (edge to Rokkors perhaps for their 135/2 but you can't touch one now anyway from either company; and Rokkor offers a cheap f3.5 that's a secret gem); but then the Nikkor 180s, 200s, 300s, 400s -- these are the best long lenses ever IMO.

Now I've heard -- largely from this site, where all RF users cherish one SLR the Olympia OM - and I've invested in an OM camera and 24, 28, 35, and 100 f/2.8s, along witht eh 50/1.4, but I haven't shot enough with them yet to have an opinion. People say they are the best. If the famed and expensive OM 24mm lens equals the (of course, cheaper) Rokkor I'll be very surprised: the MD Rokkor X 24/2.8 stands withthe 50/1.4, and the Nikkor 105/2.5 as the best SLR lenses I've ever used. Not that there aren't better, I just haven't used 'em....

Oh, and the price: all the other premier lenses of the MF era -- Pentax, Nikon, Olympus, Canon -- can be fitted out for good use on digital SLRs. Not the Rokkors. That's why the prices are so low -- although they are rising for certain lenses because some folks are actually cutting them and putting different mounts on the shortened barrel....
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Old 12-10-2010   #15
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It's significant that Leitz chose Minolta as partners in the 1970s; this was synergistic - if memory serves Minolta used to (do they still?) research & make optical glass
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Old 12-10-2010   #16
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To add a bit to the thread:

- Minolta and Leica had a relationship that started at least as far back as the early 1970s and continued until not long before the Konica-Minolta merger (which I still regard as a mistake on the level of the HP-Compaq merger, but that's another argument for another time). Minolta was also the only Japanese manufacturer, besides Nikon, to manufacture the very glass that went into their lenses.

- The quality of Minolta's camera bodies, as well as lenses, was noticeable well into the autofocus era. I used their Maxxum 9xi cameras for the better part of a decade, and regarded the cameras and lenses as second to none. I would rank their AF 28-70mm f/2.8 G zoom, to cite one example, above both Nikon's and Canon's equivalents overall, though not by a whopping margin. And, I'm still happily using a Minolta Dimage Scan 5400 film scanner.

Yes, Minolta knew their stuff, although, from a business standpoint, they played Chrysler to Canon and Nikon's GM and Ford (although who was whom between those two depended on the decade, right?), striving and frequently unstable, but occasionally bringing forth technological breakthroughs well before the others.


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Old 12-10-2010   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrow6224 View Post
...Oh, and the price: all the other premier lenses of the MF era -- Pentax, Nikon, Olympus, Canon -- can be fitted out for good use on digital SLRs. Not the Rokkors. That's why the prices are so low -- although they are rising for certain lenses because some folks are actually cutting them and putting different mounts on the shortened barrel....
Worth noting here that the Sony Alpha series of dSLRs arose from a Minolta heritage, and will take the later Minolta lenses. Here’s one inexpensive avenue to fine glass on the Sony dSLRs.
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Old 12-10-2010   #18
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Doug,
The SONYs take only the Minolta AF lenses. The Rokkors need an adapter which multiplies the image in order to reach infinity (I might not be saying that right, but essentially there's no way to adapt a Rokkor lens to anything EXCEPT the m4/3 mount without have to use some cheap piece of glass that utterly undermines the image quality. Anyway as a result of the SONY's using them, the better AF Minolta lenses have risen sharply in price in recent years from what I have noticed.
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Old 12-11-2010   #19
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I have a couple or three RF Minoltas. I have used one, a Hi Matic F. I was very impressed with the output- i.e. rendering and clarity. Far too good for this sort of camera. I wondered if it marginally beat the snot out of the Nikon 50/f2 on my S3.
I am in denial on this issue however. Minolta hiding their lights under a bushel nevertheless. Great lens.
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Old 12-11-2010   #20
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I have five or six black SRT101 bodies, and the motorized SRM pro model, and I'm happy as a clam. The 21mm F2.8 MC, 35mm F1.8 MC, 50mm F1.2 MC, 85mm F1.7 MC, and the 100mm f2.5 MC are all my favorites. All MC Rokkor lenses are great, I much prefer them to Nikon.

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Old 12-11-2010   #21
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My first camera, after years of longing to return to photography, was a Minolta X370s. It was a very good camera, and the lens, though slow, was quite good: a 35mm f3.8-5.6 IIRC. My only beef is the focusing system/screen: for some reason it was difficult for me to focus well. I attributed the problem to failing eyesight and took a turn into Nikon street. But I have fond memories of my Minolta system...
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Old 12-11-2010   #22
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I own two Minolta cameras:

Minolta 7sII with Rokkor 40mm 1.7 lens, and
Srt 101 with 58mm 1.4 and 35mm 2.8 lens.
Also, I've used, for several rolls, Minolta maxxum 600si with Sigma zoom 28-70mm lens.

I wouldn't make a review of the bodies and the lens, but on that how I feel shooting with the cameras:

- with SRT 101, I really feel the camera, the sound, the weight, it feel very solid. Also, 58mm 1.4 lens are very attractive and soft:


- with 7sII, I don't feel the same level of shooting like I have with SRT 101, maybe it is the very quite shutter, maybe because it's smaller and lighter, and also it's RF against SLR, which might be a good fact.
40mm 1.7 lens is not as soft as MC rokkors, but really nice and sharp:


- with 600si - it's big, is very automatic, it's not light, It's a good solid but very plastic camera which I didn't like it much. However, I made my very first wall print with it, and 25sec exposure, with 3times pull proces :


In the end, every camera has its own job to do:
SRT 101 with 58mm 1.4 it's very nice for portraits and people;
7SII is brilliant for street shooting.
600si, is good for sport/wedding photos I guess, etc..
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Old 12-11-2010   #23
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In the late 60s, the STR series of Minolta was carried by many pro photographers. When I was shopping for an SLR in 1970, I considered it. But thought it sort of lacking in features to the Nikon (or even Canon, but Canon accessorized all their features for more money). At any rate I chose a Yashica TL Super, the poor man's Nikon.

I have an SR T 101 and MG-1. The meter of the 101 isn't working, but I rather like the MG and the Minolta lenses I have. The Minolta lenses were always known as good, but Nikon and Canon were preferred, probably for their support.
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Old 12-11-2010   #24
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Two things happened in the 1970s that ended Minolta's early success with the SRTs in the professional SLR realm -- mismanagement in the marketing (and some aspects of the design) of their rather excellent XK/X1 professional series, which in 1972 offered interchangeable screens and a sophisticated auto-exposure system; and then the reliability problem in the cameras: Minolta was always way out front in electronic innovations but the cameras electronic systems proved a little delicate. They were first with pro-level auto-exposure (I believe) and first with combined aperture/shutter priority system (XD-11) and first in auto-focus (Maxxum). The glass is simply unbeatable at the going prices of the premier Japanese SLRs. But the overall business minds were never as shrewd as the competition.
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Old 12-11-2010   #25
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I love my minolta lenses too

I am always suprised by the quality of the 35 2,8 .

I use a 28 3,5 too wich is really good (I read a lot of critics on it, maybe I have a good one)

considering the cameras, the srt is fantastic, the XD7 is very nice mith aperture/speed priority, and the SR7 is the one I love the most ( I changed the condenser of it and replaced it with a SRT condenser so that I have a bigger finder) because of is funny (yet accurate) meter
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Old 12-11-2010   #26
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Since my SRT broke recently, I only have one lens left.

Rokkor 45mm f2 on E-P1

Incredible sharpness von oliverleschke auf Flickr
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Old 12-11-2010   #27
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I wanted a point-n-shoot for the wife, so I bought her a black XE-7, and had it completely overhauled. It melds perfectly with my vintage (highly coveted) SRT/M system. In fact, sometimes, -I- use it. You really can't go wrong with their -earlier- stuff. Their lenses blow away Nikon glass IMO. What matters is the image.
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Old 12-11-2010   #28
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Happy to see Minolta getting some love here. Thanks Riverman!. An SRT 101 was my first camera, way back in 1974. Second camera was a well used XK in the mid 80's. I am still useing it and Minolta continues to be my main SLR users (altough I have branched into Nikon and Pentax as well). People talk about the tremendous reliability of Nikon, but it seems like about half of the old Nikons out there have dead meters. Never had meter problems with Minolta.

As for glass, an MC 100/2.5 was my second lense, still have it and it is still one of my favourite lenses.

I confess to now having a small army of Minolta lenses and SRT bodies. Sometimes the price is so cheap I can't pass them up.
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Old 12-11-2010   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
Here's some of the shots I just scanned. The bokeh just knocks me out.
Nice. What film?
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Old 12-11-2010   #30
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Quote:
essentially there's no way to adapt a Rokkor lens to anything EXCEPT the m4/3 mount without have to use some cheap piece of glass that utterly undermines the image quality.
Not entirely correct. I use Rokkor on my standard 4/3 camera without any glass in the adapter and I suspect Canon can use them as well.

I have an SRT101. Beautiful camera. I love the TTL match needle meter in it. It's big, reasonably solid and smooth.
I also have the X-700 and while I should love it, I just can't feel it. I don't like led meter lights much and I can't seem to focus well with it either.

Most of all, I absolutely love the dreamy creamy quality of the MC 58/1.4 opened up on my e-520. It just oozes character for an slr lens. Probably depends on the copy though.
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Old 12-11-2010   #31
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One of the finest photographs that I have ever seen was taken with the "humble" Minolta SRT 101, W. Eugene Smith's masterful Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, one of those rare photographs that has transcended both art and photojournalism, and has changed the world in its wake.

This photo has haunted and inspired me since the first time that I saw it in Life Magazine in 1973. Mr. Smith paid quite a high price for his work in the Minamata photo-essay, as explained in the linked article.
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Old 12-11-2010   #32
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I have had Minolta "GAS" for a while now.

The Minolta Sisters by carlosyashinon, on Flickr
Next week I will take delivery of an XD-11 that has been rebuilt by John Titterington.
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Old 12-11-2010   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrow6224 View Post
Doug,
The SONYs take only the Minolta AF lenses. The Rokkors need an adapter which multiplies the image in order to reach infinity (I might not be saying that right, but essentially there's no way to adapt a Rokkor lens to anything EXCEPT the m4/3 mount without have to use some cheap piece of glass that utterly undermines the image quality. Anyway as a result of the SONY's using them, the better AF Minolta lenses have risen sharply in price in recent years from what I have noticed.
You can convert the md/mc lenses to eos mount, but it is permanent and involves a great deal of diy. There are also a MC/MD mount that replaces the eos mount on the camera side, of course not very handy when it comes to using your EOS lenses

http://www.nanoer.com/md_eos_conversion.html
http://digitalrokkor.altervista.org/why.html

Last edited by sig : 12-11-2010 at 16:38. Reason: added links
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Old 12-11-2010   #34
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Here's one taken today with the MC Rokkor 58/1.4

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Old 12-11-2010   #35
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Another

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Old 12-11-2010   #36
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One more Rokkor @ f2.4 I think.


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Old 12-11-2010   #37
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I think this is the Rokkor 58/1.4 also. I took it last summer. Dreamy.


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Old 12-11-2010   #38
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Nice. What film?
Kodachrome 64. All too soon to be gone forever :-(

Even under the dull light of an English November it definitely has a certain quality to it.
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Old 12-11-2010   #39
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Quote:
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I think this is the Rokkor 58/1.4 also. I took it last summer. Dreamy.
Dreamy indeed. For me, MD lenses are all about the bokeh.

Honestly, I prefer the rendering of MC / MD lenses to any Nikon lens I own.
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Old 12-11-2010   #40
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I've always loved and still extensively use my Minoltas - SRT201, X370, X700 and a bunch of MC and MD lenses. Just workhorse cameras and wonderful lenses.

Minolta and Leica did collaborate as noted and the wonderful MD Zoom Rokkor-X 35-70mm f3.5 and MD Zoom 70-210 f4 lenses were issued as Leitz lenses.

Minolta never had the same recognition as Nikon or Canon because they didn't pursue the professional market.

After all the innovation and quality gear, it's a shame Minolta is no longer in the business (same for Konica). I think Minolta's failure to make autofocus and digital cameras compatible with the MC/MD lenses was their downfall.
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