Can I use my vivitar series 1 slr lens on any digital cameras?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by linda_bettler, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. I don't know much about digital cameras yet, but am wondering if I
    can use any of my SLR lenses on any of the digital models out there.
    I have a couple of Vivitar Series 1 lenses that I use on my Minolta
    X370 and X700 SLR cameras (not auto focusing). I'm trying to figure
    out if I go digital whether I have to start from scratch. I know
    this question probably is pretty basic to most of you, but I'm just
    starting to try and understand the digital market, so any assistance
    would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  2. .

    Hi Linda,

    Can you use Minolta-style manual focus lenses on newer auto focus DSLRs?

    Sure -- with duck tape!

    No, seriously, you're looking for any DSLR that ALSO has a (usually third party?) adapter available for Minolta SR/MC/MD lenses. MOST adapters are to take these older lenses to newer Minolta AF cameras, and so the Konica Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum 7/5/Sweet Digital SLRs take these adapters. Since the direct fit auto focus lenses are so good and so cheap and have been in plentiful production for 20 years, there is little or no demand for using the older lenses on the newer cameras anymore.

    Yes, the Minolta SR T and X-700 cameras were the best sellers in their day -- 1970's and 1980's -- but the Minolta AF 7000 was also the world's best seller in it's day -- 1980's and on. BOTH systems are great, though virtually completely incompatible, lens-fit wise.

    However, the lenses become 1.1x to 2x teleconverted on top of the 1.53x crop of the smaller sensor in the DSLR camera, making, say, a 50mm lens to have anywhere from 84mm to 153mm effective focal length, angle of view wise! Not your "normal" lens anymore, eh?

    Also, you loose the aperture by the teleconverter effect, up to 2 stops loss with the 2x adapter. Your 50mm f/1.4 becomes 153mm f/2.8 - nice, but weird!

    AND, your lenses become fully manual aperture operation where you stop down the aperture to meter the scene, and then take the picture, darkening the focusing screen as you go before releasing the shutter! So, those of us who try such adapters, we focus first, hope our subject stays put, then we close down the aperture to our choice, meter, then let the camera auto select a shutter speed, and CLICK! Then open the aperture again to focus on the next shot. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat ...!

    More info?

    Here form my own web page,

    Minolta MF lenses on AF cameras?

    A frequent inquiry:

    > does anyone know if there exists an

    > adaptor to allow MC or MD lenses to be

    > used on Minolta AF camera bodies?

    Yes, Minolta made two 2x teleconverter adapters of superlative optical qualities to fit Minolta manual focus lenses onto Minolta AF cameras, one for under 300mm lenses (S) and one for over 300mm lenses (L). Look for these Minolta brand descriptions and part numbers:

    Minolta 2x M/A CONVERTER-S 2583-107

    ... and ...

    Minolta 2x M/A CONVERTER-L 2584-107

    Use to search for sources, ignore the responses that claim to take your order and let you know when it is back in stock - they are search engine spam. The price range is new ~US$350 or so, to used at whatever anyone thinks it's worth - NOT a popular or fast moving item.

    Like all lens adapters, they may or may not physically fit a particular lens, and like all adapters, they may or may not degrade the image forming qualities of a lens below your own standards. Be prepared to "buy it and try it". Other manufacturer's made ~1.1x to ~1.6x teleconverter adapters of varying optical qualities to fit Minolta manual focus lenses to Minolta auto focus cameras, as you were sent to on eBay to see, and Sigma made one that even auto focuses when used on the Minolta AF series cameras - the 5000/7000/9000 (but NOT on later series Minolta auto focus cameras). is a reliable place to purchase new adapters on demand to fit your wonderful Minolta manual focus lenses to just about anything, or to fit just about any lens to a Minolta manual focus camera, including reverse adapters and filter rings for reversed Minolta manual focus lenses.

    Note that when any lens is fitted to another camera, almost all auto features are not implemented, and all lenses become manual focus, manual stop down metering, and often have a different focal length and different maximum aperture due to needing a teleconverter to accommodate the different distances from the lens mount to the film for each camera system.

    Tamron is the only exception to this with their Adaptall 2 series of lenses which fit all Minolta 35mm SLR cameras, manual and auto focus, with adapters that have NO teleconverter effect, though they do loose their auto aperture operation on auto focus cameras and become manual stop down metering lenses. See for their modern series of Minolta-fit manual focus lenses. If you are planning on one set of lenses to use on different manufacturer's camera bodies, this is the only way to go.

    However, most people prefer the benefits of fully functional features from their investment in Minolta-fit manual focus lenses, so they eventually settle down on a matching Minolta manual focus camera body for them, especially when they realize that there is usually a teleconverter effect, and the loss of automatic features, when adapting lenses to fit between different camera body styles, and so they just "settle" on an inexpensive Minolta manual focus camera to use with their Minolta manual focus lenses, and do not try to use such lenses elsewhere.

    Tell me more about what you are after!


    Love and hugs,
    Peter Blaise Monahon
    Minolta Vivitar Tamron Fujifilm Ilford Kodak Adobe Hewlett Packard et cetera Photographer

    PS - "Vivitar" makes Serise 1 in AUTO FOCUS mount, but they are NOT the same designs as your older manual focus Vivitar Seris 1 lenses, instead, they are made by Samyang (Korea) or Cosina (Japan) and may or may not please you. I do not find they have as extensive a set of features and benefits as the originals, such as I find them to have more limited close focusing, for instance.
  3. As above, you will need an adapter. The issue is not with the Vivitar lens but the Minolta MD mount. Minolta has discontinued the MD/MC lens and moved to auto focus AF mount. The AF mount has longer flange to film setting then the older MC/MD mount but still shorter then most other DSLR. This complicates the making of lens mount adapters. As a result, the only adapter available for these older Minolta lens is for converting it to the newer AF minolta such as Minolta 5D and 7D. As above, Minolta only make MD-AF adapter with a 2X Tele-Converter function built-in. 3rd party converter is available with lower power TC. As with all TC, it does degrade lens performance by some. Lacking Minolta's low power converters do not help matter. If you have a Vivitar Series 1 90/f2.8, 135/f2.3 or 200/f3, these are great lens. It may be worthwhile to get one of the 3rd party adapter for a Minolta 5D/7D. Note: Assuming you have decided to select a Minolta DSLR. You will also have all the fully manual requirements for these lens. I don't have a Minolta 5D/7D but a Vivitar series 1 200/f3 with anti-shake (360mm/f3) does sound interesting. See adapter picture below.
  4. Thank you for your replies. I haven't really been very active in photography for a while, and your replies have been helpful. I think I'll probably go ahead and get something less than a DSLR for my first digital camera experience and go from there. Thanks again!
  5. Hi, Linda.

    Another option you might consider is an adapter available to fit Minolta MC/MD lenses like your Vivitars onto the Olympus E-1 and E-500 Digital SLRs (some problems with the E-300).

    These suffer from some of the restrictions detailed above such as stopped down metering and manual diaphragm, but they don't require any glass elements to retain infinity focusing, so the optical quality is not affected. As these cameras have smaller sensors than the Minoltas, the effective focal length is doubled, so a 70-210mm f/3.5 becomes a 140-420mm f/3.5. More information here:

    Hope this helps!
  6. I really don't know much about the Vivitar Series 1 lenses, except that I absolutely love my 90/2.5 and fully intend to use it on my first DSLR when I get it next year. Of course, for me this is easier in that my Vivitar is in Nikon F mount - it's almost permanently attached to my Nikon F3HP. What I don't know here is whether or not a lens mechanic can readily pull the Minolta parts off the back of yours and put Nikon or Canon parts on.

    If you can get the adapter switched, you then have to determine whether or not the body you are considering will behave with it. On the Nikon side, the D2 and D200 models will meter with the camera in matrix mode, as will the Kodak DCS series, while the D70 leaves you with an absolute manual machine.

    This has been a real issue for me, I'm not switching until I have saved up enough to get a body that will work smoothly with my manual-focus glass. I have quite a bit of it, and some of it is excellent. This definitely includes the one Vivitar Series 1 in my kit.


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