Minolta/Leica Lens Collaboration Clarification

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by theaudiodoc, May 25, 2006.

  1. I'm wondering if one of the Minolta historians amongst us would mind clarifying
    something. I keep reading in this forum and else where, that certain lenses were
    the result of a joint Minolta/Leica collaboration. However, I'm not clear as to
    which lenses these were and if this collaboration took place in the MF or AF
    eras. The lens I hear mentioned the most is the 70-210mm f4. Exactly which
    lenses were they? Since I know that the XE-7 and XD-11 were jointly developed by
    Minolta and Leica, I would have thought that the lenses would also have been
    from MC/MD Rokkor era.

  2. I think Leica had something to do with the Pre-AF era because on the Michael Hohner Minolta/Sony site I don't see any Leica stuff associated with Minolta AF products. As for the 70-210mm f4, I always hear people rave on about the Minolta AF lens with those specs that looks like a Beercan. After seeing results from this lens I can see why they rave. I thought all old Leica lenses would have been primes, but that may not be the case.

    Tim H
  3. What actually happened is, several Minolta Lenses from the MD-Rokkor generation were taken as-is, given Leica R-mounts, and put through the Leica QA process, and branded Leica. I am certain that these lenses included a 70-200mm f4 zoom, the superb 24mm f2.8, and the 16mm f2.8 fisheye. I also believe that there was a 28-70mm zoom as well. From my recollection, the Leicaphiles never were too happy about the quality of the zooms, but the 24mm definitely passed muster with the red-dot heads.

    Similarly, Minolta initially re-branded and subsequently manufactured themselves under license the 40mm f2 Rokkor C and the 90mm f4 Rokkor C for the Leitz-Minolta CL. Those two lenses were strictly Leica designs, although Minolta may have tweaked them later by the time the Minolta CLE had come out.
  4. I should add, only the cameras (XE-7 and R3), (XD-11 and R4), and the Leica and Leitz-Minolta CL were actually jointly developed. The various lenses were basically developed entirely at Leitz for the rangefinders, and entirely at Minolta for the SLRs, and cross-licensed)
  5. Good summary Douglas. Also it's important to emphasise that, e.g., the XD-11 and the R4 were not the same camera. Leica and Minolta shared design ideas (most of them coming from the Minolta side) but the two cameras were built in separate facilities and probably had no finished parts in common. I love my XD-7 (Euro version of XD-11) but it's no Leicaflex.
  6. The Leica 28-70/3,5-4,5 was made by Sigma, Minolta was not involved. Maybe you mistook it for the Minolta MD 35-70/3,5, which was re-labelled for Leica. The Minolta AF 35-70/4,0 looks very much like the MD with f/3,5. Maybe the optical design is the same, but the maximum f-stop is just given more "honest" for the AF lens.
    The newest Leica 35-70/4,0 is a Leica design and not related to any Minolta product.
    Erwin Puts (a Leica-phile) states that Leica did not design 35mm zoom lenses before 1995.


  7. Oddly enough the 70-210 f4 "beercan" is in fact a 75-210 according to the Data Memory on my camera and somebody else supported this from their 7D. It was also said that this would fit in with the MF version on which it was apparently based.
  8. And again, two lenses are mistook for another. The 70-210/4 was always labeled like this, both MD and AF. The 75-200/4,5 is an older Minolta design, which had also been rebranded as Leica (this 75-200/4,5 never had a AF version, BTW).

    For sure, focal length ranges and f-stops are often "optimistic", so maybe, with the accepted tolerances, the 75-200 could have had about the same range as the 70-210. But I don't know.

  9. Georg - not sure I follow your post. I was only talking about the 70-210 f4 AF labelled as such. However it does appear to be an "optimistic" label.
  10. Correction regarding the zooms - the longer zoom was an 80-200mm f4.5 which was origninally a Minolta MD Rokkor-X, and the shorter 28-70 zoom didn't come from Minolta - another poster mentioned Sigma, I have no reason to doubt that, as THAT lens is notoriously not Leica-quality. The 24mm and the 16mm fisheye primes for the Leica R series were definitely originally Minolta MD Rokkor-X designs
  11. Brian, actually, while the Minolta and Leica SLRs were different cameras, they shared many common parts - in particular, the entire shutter assembly of each camera is the same between R3 and XE-7 and between R4 and XD-11.
  12. Thank you all for your input. This is an interesting topic indeed! Is there any documentation/credible sources that can confirm any of this information? I notice that photodo lists a LeicaR Vario-Elmar-R 70-210/4 (MTF 3.3 -- not bad) and a LeicaR Vario-Elmar 80-200/4 (MTF 4.2 -- much better) and also LeicaR Vario-Elmar-R 35-70/3,5 (MTF 3.6) also a LeicaR Vario-Elmar-R 35-70/4. It would seem to make sense that early on they would OEM the zooms from other manufactures like Minolta. After all zooms are a compromise and it would seem that Leica didn't make many (compromises). I for one am not crazy about zooms. I usually go with my primes. They have their place though, when you want to travel light. But some of the zooms mentioned are not especially light weight. I have acquired the MD 70-210 f4, MD 75-200 f4.5 and 28-85 in recent months, but haven't used them much yet. AF wise, I really like my 24-50mm f4 and 24-105mm (other than the 62mm filter size) and wouldn't mind complimenting those with the 100-300mm APO D or 100-400mm APO. My favorite lenses are still my AF100mm f2.8 Macro D and my AF 50mm f2.8 macro D. Those two lenses are hard to beat, even by the likes of Leica. JMO.

  13. AF 100mm f2.8 macro - stunning and dual purpose

    AF 50mm f2.8 macro - does not get much work with 100mm available so about to sell it

    AF 24-105 - good everyday, travelling light lens - lenshood a bit of a bore

    For you to think about :-

    AF 50mm f1.4 or 1.7 - just very, very good

    AF 70(75)-210 f4 "beercan" - yes big and heavy but reassuring and the results are the reason it is so popular and commands such a premium

    Also looking for something good in the 100-300 range - am working on it.

    Just a few thoughts.
  14. Thanks Bill,

    I actually have the 50mm f1.7. I like to use it with my Maxxum 5 if I want to go small and light and fast. The 50mm f2.8 D Macro IMO is sharper, better color and better results if I need to use flash -- and can be used for macro. This is kind of my standard lens on my Dynax 7. I'm waiting to see if Sony updates the 50mm f1.4 to a D version before considering another 50. I've heard all the accolades for the "Beer can". I need to see how I like the MD Rokkor "Beer can" before considering the AF version. I've been watching those on eBay -- have been selling typically for about $200, US. I'm hoping that Sony includes the 100-300mm D in their lineup. Together with the 24-105, would make a good travel combo. Any good photo ops down under this weekend? Summer hit us early here in the Rockies with temps in the 90s the past couple weeks. We have a long weekend, and wouldn't you know it, it cloudy and rain is forecast!

  15. Robert - the 50 macro is going as I am happy to use the 1.7 for nearly all 50mm situations. The AF "beercan" goes from anywhere about 80 quid upwards here, mostly upwards ( 1 quid = 1.75 bucks approx.). Glad I got in before the rush for a change :)

    The rumour ( repeat rumour ) is that there will be a new 100-400mm first - we shall see.

    I shall be a true English gentleman and maintain a stiff upper lip as regards the "down under" bit. That is reserved for the Antipodean areas.

    It is also a Bank Holiday weekend here and it has mostly been hissing down so far. Spring was a week in March and early Summer was one day last week - par for the course :(
  16. Bill,

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the "down under"! I'm really embarrassed about that mistake! We are a truly international group in this forum, and that was just an old guy forgetting who is where. Anyway, hope you have a chance to take some photos dispite the "hissing", which is what it doing here as I type. I know this weather all too well, having lived in Germany for many years.

    I certainly hope the rumors about the 100-400mm APO D prove to be true. I know that the Minolta insider dropped that hint over on dyxum.com.

    Thanks for being an "English gentleman"!

  17. There is something on the manual 70-210, 75-200 and 80-200 lenses here: http://members.aol.com/xkaes/8020045.htm . I have got one of the 80-200mm ones (I think it's the MD version). I haven't used it much yet, but plan to this summer.
  18. Thanks Sam,
    Just checked back with this thread and found your post. That is exactly what I was looking for. I've got both the MD 75-200mm f4.5, and the 70-210 f4. Also haven't tried them out yet.

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