Lenses for digital cameras

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by natureslight, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. I need feedback and opinions from all of you who shoot digital. I am
    in the midst of making the move from film to digital. I currently
    shoot with a Minolta Maxxum 9 - which I really like. I understand
    that Konica-Minolta is coming out with a digital SLR this fall. Now
    the question: I keep hearing conflicting things about the lenses for
    digital cameras ? that I might have real problems using my Tamron
    lenses with a digital camera because of electrical conflicts or
    something of this type. I have heard that I might have trouble using
    any non-Minolta lens with the new digital camera. I have also heard
    that this problem is generic to digital cameras regardless of
    manufacturer. Is this information valid or not? I can?t quite figure
    out why my lenses would perform differently with digital versus
    film, but then again I have yet to use digital for anything serious.
    Any feedback will be very welcome.
  2. Hi Irene, I have no firsthand experience with Minolta or Tamron (I shoot Canon) but I do think it's possible you could run into compatibility problems with new digital cameras and any 3rd party lens. There have been quite a few problems with Sigma lenses on Canon bodies, but in many cases Sigma will re-chip the lens thus fixing the incompatibility. Perhaps Tamron could do something similar, but I wouldn't count on it. Since the camera you are considering isn't available yet, no one can tell you for sure unfortunately. Perhaps when it is available you could try your lenses on a Minolta body in a camera store. I'd also ask Tamron what their policy is in case your lenses have problems. Good luck!
  3. I'd have to disagree with Beau. I don't think Minolta would be wise to engineer a camera with poor compatibility with existing lenses - event thrid party ones in Minolta mount. After all, if existing owners of Minolta mount lenses are principally hanging on to them in the hope of being able to use them on a Minolta DSLR, and news leaks that they don't work with the new camera, it will just give those people every incentive to dump their glass and buy Nikon or Canon instead. As a minimum I'd guess that anything that works with a Dynax 7 film body with work with the new DLSR, since that's the body the new model is based on.

    I think much the same logic has actually applied to Canon, at least in the mainstream digital age. Canon haven't introduced any new incompatibilities with their bodies since the Elan 7 film camera (well, if you exclude the intermittent problems that Canon 1D Mk II users have been having with some expensive Canon L IS lenses).
  4. Well, I'll have to agree with Beau and disagree with Mark. I don't think it would be wise for Minolta to worry about third-party lens compatibility, unless that/those third-party manufacturer(s) have licensing agreements with Minolta for their lens technology. Otherwise, it's the tail wagging the dog.

    If indeed there is a huge installed base of Minolta film SLR owners out there with significant inventories of third-party lenses, and Minolta's research shows that a significant percentage of them are just waiting for Minolta to release a compatible dSLR, then, sure, they wouldn't want to intentionally disappoint those consumers (unless they had a damn good reason or irresistable alternative up their sleeves).

    But the last thing any camera manufacturer can afford to do is let uninvited (unlicensed) third-party lens makers dictate its product strategies.
  5. every - or almost every - new canon camera doesn't work with some sigma lenses. when i got drebel after elan II, i had to send my sigma lens to factory, and they rechipped it for free.
  6. I think you'll find that any lens that works with an Elan 7 works with any Canon body released since then, except that a) many of Canon's own lenses (including all 50mm lenses) as well as third party ones do not provide the focus distance information used by E-TTL II - an innovation forced on Canon by the inadequacy of plain E-TTL with DSLRs - on the Elan 7N/7NE and 1D Mk II, and b) there are frequent problems when using the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS and 100-400 f/5.6 L IS on a 1D Mk II with IS switched on. Also, all EOS mount Sigma lenses made in 2001 or later work with all Canon EOS bodies. There have never been any reports of compatibility problems for Tamron lenses and Canon bodies. I'd expect that Tamron's record with Minolta mount is comparable.

    If Minolta are to establish any kind of position in the DSLR market I really don't think they can afford to make their new bodies incompatible with their existing lenses. For one thing, it would mean re-engineering their lens line - an unnecessary expense, as well as a nightmare for disposing of their existing stock of lenses. Secondly, producing an incompatible product is a strategy that only works if you are the dominant supplier in the market and have a product that will sweep the board, unless you are prepared to offer cheap upgrades that dent your profits. Minolta's new camera will have to prove itself in many different ways - anti-shake won't sell cameras if it doesn't have a good sensor, AF that works, etc. to compete with forthcoming offerings from other manufacturers. Now that the market for DSLRs is in its major growth and development phase, the optimal strategy for all manufacturers is to provide good backward compatibility. The innovation is in bodies, not in lenses. The only new lenses that can be expected are ones to enhance the offering at shorter focal lengths needed by crop factor sensors.
  7. Mark may be right, but that's the point; it's all speculation until the camera ships and you're able to try it. One thing's certain, problems *do* happen with 3rd party lenses. Not all of them, of course, but it's certainly far from being unheard-of. (I own one Sigma lens for my Canon cameras and it's worked fine)

    >If Minolta are to establish any kind of position in the DSLR market I really don't think they can afford to make their new bodies incompatible with their existing lenses.

    I don't think the issue is that Minolta will make their lenses incompatible with their own bodies. The issue is whether they'll make sure that every 3rd party lens works with their latest, greatest digital SLR body. That would seem to me to be a daunting task, a huge expenditure and largely un-necessary. After all, it's not Minolta's fault if your Tamron lens doesn't work - you'll have to ask Tamron about that. Each Tamron lens you buy means one more lens that Minolta didn't sell you. I'm not sure why they'd want to help their competition so much.

    >For one thing, it would mean re-engineering their lens line

    I would think Minolta's lenses would be fine - the question is whether Tamron's lenses will work, not Minolta's. That would mean that Tamron might have to re-engineer their line and that might just put a smile on Minolta's face because they'll be selling Minolta lenses while Tamron struggles to catch up. Again, all of this is speculation and conjecture, but I fail to see how it's in Minolta's best interest to make sure your purchase of a competitor's lens is a happy one. Again, to me the bottom line is this: It's *possible* it'll work fine. But it's also possible it won't. Try it first when the camera becomes available. Best wishes . . .
  8. Think about it- if Tamron wants to stay in business then their lenses have to work, but this only applies to new manufacture. But test it. I've adopted the practice of buying new lenses for new bodies.
  9. From an interview with Minolta:


    Expectations for new lens lineup
    Helberg: It was announced all lenses are enabled the Anti-Shake function. Is the AF500mm f8 Reflex included too?
    Ishizuka: Yes, we aim to incorporate that lens. We haven?t fully completed the compatibility testing yet, but logically it is proven suitable. To confirm the operation with an actual body and entire Dynax lens range is a considerable task, this is being undertaken at the moment.
    Helberg: Indeed, the expectations for this camera add to its appeal, with the wide variety of lenses as if being equipped with an Anti-Shake system. Although the conventional lenses are all useable, we still expect some new lenses exclusively designed for the Dynax 7 Digital. Are there any plans in the Development Centre for lenses optimised for the APS-C size imaging circle to get the best image?
    Ishizuka: Our lenses are compatible with both conventional film and digital cameras at present, and it is natural to expect that such lenses form part of our plan. We will try to release some information as soon as possible. Within the premise that many of our consumers still enjoy conventional film SLR photography, we have to offer the best product line-up. There is an idea for the future, that for customers of Digital SLRs we will propose an exclusively designed APS based platform lenses that bring benefits for their size, weight and so on.


    Full interview at


    If Minolta wants to sell more lenses, first they have to sell more cameras: then they need to provide competitive lenses at competitive prices across various price/specification levels. If they do this, then the inroads into their market made by 3rd party lens manufacturers will be less. Failure to do this not only opens them up to competition from lens manufacturers, but also from camera manufacturers, since at the end of the day, it's the whole system that sells. I'd also suggest that even where a photographer starts by buying cheaper third party glass, provided they stay with the system they remain a market for future sales of quality own brand glass, as well as for body upgrades. Create incompatibility, and you create the incentive to look around at alternatives - it's that simple.
  10. >Is the AF500mm f8 Reflex included too? Ishizuka: Yes, we aim to incorporate that lens. We haven?t fully completed the compatibility testing yet, but logically it is proven suitable.

    That's all very interesting, and maybe I'm just dense, but try as I might I cannot see how this has anything to do with *third party* lenses like Tamron, which I believe was the question. The AF500mm isn't a Tamron lens is it?

    To reiterate my point one more time, I'm not saying Minolta's new digital camera won't be compatible with Minolta lenses - that would be silly. I'm saying that it's possible that the new camera *may* not be compatible with 3rd party lenses like Tamron and Sigma. This happens all the time with Canon and Sigma. And there are plenty of people who are stuck with Sigma lenses made for older Canon cameras that Sigma will not re-chip and thus the buyer is stuck using the lens on an older body or can't use it at all.

    If Minolta is somewhere on record that they will support older, 3rd party lenses that they did not manufacture, then that's great. But I don't see that in this quote or the provided link, which I read. Perhaps Tamron has a statemtent on their website.

    If Minolta hasn't "fully completed compatiblity testing" on their own lenses, is it safe to assume they've completed compatibility testing on *any* competitor's lenses? The big three are Sigma, Tokina and Tamron - how long might it take to test all of those?

    Another rhetorical question: If you had three or four Tamron (or Tokina or Sigma) lenses made with a Minolta mount, would you buy this new Minolta digital camera without testing your lenses first, or buy it site-unseen banking on the speculation that they remain compatible?

    The point was made that it's reasonably safe to buy *new* 3rd party lenses for a new camera and I would agree that's a safer bet. But Irene's lenses are not new. Best wishes . . .
  11. Tamron Service Update From: http://www.tamron.com/about/updates_minolta.asp

    ">Compatibility with Minolta Maxxum 3 Date
    The Tamron AF28-300mm XR (model A06) may not auto focus properly when used on the Minolta Maxxum 3 Date camera. Testing has shown that the lens may not perform the AF funtion when the camera power is switched OFF and then turned ON again. However, if the lens is detached and re-mounted while the power is ON, AF will operate normally.

    Please note that this problem only exists with the combination of Maxxum 3 Date camera and Tamron 28-300 XR. The Tamron 28-300mm XR lens (A06) will auto focus properly with all other camera models from Minolta.

    Tamron USA, Inc. can upgrade the CPU free of charge to be compatible with your Maxxum 3 Date."

    To Tamron's credit, they will fix it for free. But this sort of stuff happens, and I believe that was the question that was asked. Best wishes . . .
  12. From the following post on dpreview, I deduce that Minolta probably ARE evaluating at least the more popular 3rd party lenses with the new camera:


    From other posts there I note that their earlier attempts to produce a DSLR founded exactly on not taking the trouble to consider the lenses that likely buyers actually own already - see


    and following.

    Moreover, Tamron generally have an excellent record at reverse engineering lens mounts to give good compatibility with marque bodies, and back this up by offering a 6 year warranty. While it's possible that the new camera could have problems with certain lenses (after all, as I pointed out above there are problems with some of Canon's OWN lenses and their new flagship DSLR which seem to need replacement of the lens mount and image stabiliser to fix - an expensive modification if the lens is past its measly 1 year warranty), I think that Minolta are making a big effort to avoid problems. By using the existing Dynax 7 film body (and therefore lens protocols etc.) as the basis they are also reducing the technological risks.

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