25 years of the Minolta/Sony Alpha mount

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by howardstanbury, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. There's an interesting article marking 2010 as the silver anniversary of the Minolta alpha mount at the Photoclub Alpha site - well worth the read if you are interested in the photographic heritage of today's DSLRs from Sony.
    See here .
     
  2. Darn right, a landmark that should get more recognition ;)
     
  3. Very interesting reading! There was a digital back for the Maxxum 9000/7000? Has anyone seen or owned one of these, what were the pixel count and image quality like?
    It's a bit surprising to see Dave write that "The full-frame Alpha 900 came as a complete surprise in September 2008" - AFAIR from forum excitement in the two years before that it was probably the earliest and most openly pre-announced/leaked camera in dslr history.
     
  4. I was thinking in real time, sorry. In 2006, when Sony launched the Alpha 100, we never envisaged that almost exactly two years later they would have the world's first affordable full frame DSLR, and also the highest resolution 35mm sensor. Yes, of course it was leaked from early 2008 onwards, and by the time of the launch it was no longer a surprise. But in the long-term view Sony did surprise everyone. They took the Alpha system somewhere no-one thought would happen, in June 2006.
    David
     
  5. IIRC the "digital backs" weren't a digital sensor but that they provided for programmed or programmable "modes," much like one finds on some cameras these days. Or programmable user settings, etc. These may even have allowed one to set a different "auto" shutter/speed aperture algorithm. I seem to recall that some of the cameras could take a separate memory card like device with added "programs" as well. I think one of mine did but don't recall which one but do remember I never used the functionality that way.
     
  6. There's a great resource on the 9000 at www.9000.org, and this page describes the backs that were available. You'll see that there was a 'video still back' the SB-90S (-70S for the 7000).
    "The SB-90S uses a 2/3 inch CCD with 380 000 pixels, has a sensitivity of ISO 200, and relay optics acting as a 2x tele converter. It has automatic white balance with manual settings available on a small LCD display."​
    It was first shown at Photokina in 1986. David also mentions the device on page 2 of his article.
     
  7. I have a copy of Amateur Photographer about the 1986 Photokina, with a picture of the 7/9000 digital back. I was going to post it but Howard's link says it all. Minolta had such a lead in technology then.
    It's interesting that even in 1986 there was much talk about "still video" and a few cameras, for example a Panasonic Photovision 3100 which like the Minolta recorded on to floppy disc. There is also a quote by Kodak: "We believe that silver halide has a long and healthy life ahead of it. Meanwhile, electronic imaging will begin to grow. By the year 2000, each will have its place. When still video systems are ready for the mass market, Kodak will be there too."
    This is far from the earliest reference to digital, though. I've also got a little magazine called Photoguide, with an article "How Automatic Can You Get? by L. A. Mannheim, in which he describes various new types of automation. At the end of the article he says "For still cameras we want an even simpler system: again electronic, and not photo-chemical. Such a camera will be small enough to hold in one hand, yet will record a permanent and visible electric picture on single plastic discs the moment you expose. .... And for prints you would put the discs through a similar machine again."
    The date on the magazine is December, 1958.
     

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