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Minolta MD vs MC lenes & best body for them.

Michael Rodgers , May 01, 2003; 01:30 a.m.

I have an old but much loved Minolta X-370 that alas needs replacing. This is an X-370 not the X-370s.

I of course have an even more beloved set of lenses that fit my X-370.

What camera body should I consider in replacing my X-370?

I'm a simple guy and have never been really interested in complicated program mode cameras. Aperture priority auto is good enough for me, but then again I didn't even want that when I got my X-370 long ago when I was a teenager. I was "too cool" for anything but pure manual but aperture priority auto became a good friend.

I still have those purest tendencies and must have a purely manual mode but I wouldn't mind an upgrade. I don’t want to spend more the $200 or $300 so a used camera would be fine.

Any new camera body I buy should have a manual mode, aperture priority auto mode, TTL flash capability, and depth of field preview at a minimum. The later two features are missing on my X-370. I'd probably miss the AE lock feature too, even though I don't use it much.

Of course my old set of lenses must fit and work well on the new body. I have the 35mm/f1.7 lens that came with the X-370, a Tameron SP 60-300mm/f3.8 and a Tokina 24-40mm/f2.8 wide angle zoom. All are MD mount…I think. The Tameron SP says MC on it but an adaptall 2 M/MD has been added. I have absolutely no interest in auto focus lenses.

Any suggestions?

Also, what exactly is the difference between MD & MC lenses? Is it just the mount? What is MD? What is MC? Will my old lenses be able to accommodate a DOF preview feature?

Responses


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Ron Chappel , May 01, 2003; 06:37 a.m.

The tamron 'MC' will probably mean 'multicoated' and likely had nothing to do with Minoltas mount names.As far as i know the MD mount was identical to the MC but for one added little tab which let the program cameras read the maximum(?) aperture.In other words all of your lenses should work on any MC/MD mount minolta,but MAY not work in program mode(and shutter priority mode?) on cameras that are capable of doing so.If you get no definite replies,then post this question in the unarchived forum.I know there are some guys that would know this for sure but they may not look in this forum

Brian Southward , May 01, 2003; 07:00 a.m.

All the MC and MD lenses will work on all the Minolta manual focus bodies. The MD lenses are later and have better coatings.

The MD lenses have the ability to use the shutter priority auto mode on those few models that had it, though I believe the X-700 can operate in shutter priority with a MC lens on it as well. The models that definitely need MD lenses to get the full feature set are the XD models.

If a DOF preview lever is present on the body, it'll work with any lens (some old MC lenses had DOF preview as a lever on the lens).

The only body to give you all the features you want is the X-700. If you can do without TTL flash metering I think the XD-11 is a better camera.

Michael Moon , May 01, 2003; 07:50 a.m.

Your TTL flash requirement rules out a lot of Minolta MF bodies. You may be limited to an X-700 if you insist on TTL flash, but I'm not sure (I never made it a requirement). My daughter and I get along very well indeed in the manual focus world with, respectively, an XG-M and an XK. There are a lot of abused XG-Ms out there, so make that purchase with caution. XKs tend to command higher prices and many show a lot of brassing and prism & plate dings - but withstand the abuse and keep on going. They tend to be a lot more reasonably priced than their competitors, and the MC/MD lenses all work on it. Apart from being reliable, accurate picture takers, the Minolta manual line has the advantage that there's an abundance of top quality, underpriced lenses out there. SOme Minolta bodies that have stop-down metering (including the XK) give DOF preview with any MC/MD lens.

Gary Watson , May 01, 2003; 08:39 a.m.

The X300-X500-X700 series bodies are the newest, best-selling, and likely most plentiful(maybe even least expensive)options.The XD-XE bodies are also a possibility, though they lack TTL but do have aperture and shutter priority with MD lenses only(MC lenses will only allow aperture priority use).I've stupidly passed up several XD-XE bodies in the last couple years.They're probably the nicest of Minolta's all-metal bodies:great ergonomics and maybe the quietest SLRs I know.As others have indicated, it's a great system that just happens to be ridiculously inexpensive.If the body has a DOF button, then the lenses will stop down to the selected aperture. Some Minolta MC lenses also had a small switch that stopped the aperture down independent of the on-camera DOF.

Bruce Feist , May 01, 2003; 10:21 a.m.

In the earlier answers, people seem to brush aside the X-700 as "Well, it will do what you want, but...". What do people dislike about these cameras? I have a pair of them which I'm very fond of. They've been reliable, they're versatile, and they're reasonably ergonomic.

Bruce Feist

Frank Mueller , May 01, 2003; 10:26 a.m.

There is a wide range of camera bodies for you to choose from, and I am sure you would be happy with pretty much any of them, but none fits your requirements nearly as well as an X-570 (outside of North America the same camera was called X-500).

What limits your choice is TTL flash capability. In the manual focus Minolta system only the X-700/600/570/500 have this feature. The X-600 is a rare Japanese market only camera. The X-700 has a program mode , but has a crippled metered manual mode; ie it does not diplay aperture and shutter speed in the viewfinder, which the X-570 does. In addition, the X-570 can be used for slow sync flash. The X-700 needs to be 'tricked' for you to be able to do this. In my opinion, these features make the X-570 a more desirable camera than the X-700, and it tends to sell for considerably less on the second hand market. You will rarely see a X-700 for under $100, while a X-570 in perfect condition can go for as little as US$50 on eBay.

At some stage you might also wish to pick up a SRT as a fully manual camera, and once you have used a XD or XE, you probably won’t want to live without them, but for the meantime I believe a X-570 would be you best choice.

With 1 or 2 exceptions involving rare lenses and bodies, any manual focus Minolta lens will fit on any manual focus Minolta body. The MD feature of MD lenses is only used by XD series bodies for their shutter priority mode (S) and the X-700 for its program mode (P). The MC (meter coupling) feature of MC lenses is used by SRT series and all later bodies (ie only the old SR series bodies don’t use it). DOF preview will work with all of these lenses.

You can download the X-570 user manual directly from the (link) " rel="nofollow"> Minolta USA web site.

Scott M. Knowles , May 01, 2003; 11:50 a.m.

The cameras I'd recommend are the X-500/570 or X-700, probably the latter except the X-5series has a better viewfinder information display than the X-700 (actual shutter speed), but the X-700 has more features which Minolta built the system around. Another model to consider is the XD-11, the only model with shutter priority mode (on other Minolta camera has his mode - Minolta focused on aperture and program modes in latter models). It lacks some features of the X-700 but is a great camera and has a faster flash sync speed from the vertical shutter.

I personally wouldn't recommend the XE-7, although it's a great camera, solid, quite, well designed and constructed, but it's dated and heavy, and has a darker focusing screen. It has the size, shape and weight of the SRT-series, where the XD-11 is more on the size and weight of the X-series bodies. The XD's problem were the leather cover which tends to shrink and peel off. The shrinkage isn't fixable, but was partly solved with the latter XD (japanese) model.

The differences between MC and MD lenses are extensive depending upon the individual lens-series, and generally are better aperture blades, newer lens coatings, different materials, and especially the MD and X-600 tabs, but also can include new lens designs and glass. Some MC->MD were simply same optics in newer barrel construction, and some were complete redesigns with faster maximum apertures. For specifics look at the various book and lens guides.

Good luck.

Raymond Sutyak , May 01, 2003; 03:32 p.m.

A good desciption of the differences between MC and MD lenses can be found at the following website: http://www.pcisys.net/~rlsnpjs/minolta/x.html

Tom Montemarano , May 01, 2003; 11:17 p.m.

You wrote: "Any new camera body I buy should have a manual mode, aperture priority auto mode, TTL flash capability, and depth of field preview at a minimum. The later two features are missing on my X-370. I'd probably miss the AE lock feature too, even though I don't use it much."

I'd recommend the X-570 (or X-500). It has all the features you mentioned. Since I often use mine in manual exposure mode, I appreciate that the viewfinder shows both the camera recommended shutter speed and the set shutter speed. Since the aperture is also displayed in the VF, I can compose, adjust exposure and shoot without taking my eye from the VF.

The camera can use most if not all of the optional equipment that the X-700 can. That includes power winders, the motor drive (MD-1) which also makes a nice (but heavy) vertical grip, the multi function back, interchangable view screens (by a service center), etc.

The features that it doesn't have are Program exposure mode and a dedicated exposure compensation dial. On the X-570, if you are in aperture priority and want to copmpensate the exposure, you change the film speed.

Tom


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