The 28mm Minolta MD f/2.8 Rediscovered.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. When it comes to using 28mm Minolta lenses I've always automatically picked up the very fine Minolta MC f/2.5, but it occurred to me the other day that I'd never really tested this MD 28/2.8, so I fitted it to a Sony digital camera and took a few shots around the garden. The results were impressive, to say the least, so I decided to do the proper thing and fitted it to a Minolta film camera . Here's how the outfit looked.
  2. Now, I don't know which version of the lens this is, as identification is difficult due to the number of variations that Minolta introduced over the years. I suspect that it's one of the last versions with a 5 element /5 group configuration, as opposed to the former 7/7 formula of the earlier models, but if some Minolta enthusiast can point out the error of my ways I'd be most appreciative. It's very lightly constructed, but beautifully tight, positive and fluid in it's movements, and has that great ability to snap in and out of focus in the viewfinder. Nicely coated, it's surprisingly flare-free, and very contrasty; I shot two rolls of Ilford FP4 Plus and altered development on the second roll to bring the negatives more into my required gamut for scanning. Perhaps I struck it lucky and acquired a really good example of this lens, but in rough tests I conducted on the digital platform it performs at least as well as the MC 28/2.5, (which has a pretty good reputation), delivering excellent colour rendition and more contrast than the older MC. Even wide open, the performance is excellent, with only minimal degradation in the corners of the frame.

    The camera is familiar to most of us on the CMC Forum. One of the "X" series of Minolta SLR's, it was introduced in 1981, the "M" signifying that it could utilise the Motor Drive 1, with which it is shown here. It provides a choice of aperture priority AE or manual exposure, the selected shutter speeds being indicated by a series of diodes to the right of the very bright viewfinder, with apertures displayed via a Judas Window above the lens. It's a nice, simple camera to use, and I find the motor drive contributes an improved weight and balance. The "X" series were a little too lightweight for my tastes, especially in comparison to the SR series that came before, though the construction and finish is hard to fault, but if you tote a Nikon FE of about the same era and specifications and then the XG-M, you'll be aware of the difference. The metering is centre-weighted averaging and is consistently accurate in both auto and manual modes.

    I took a series of photographs around my usual haunts, and developed the FP4 in PMK Pyro. The negatives were some of the best I've achieved in some time, brilliantly sharp with excellent tonality, perfect for scanning and, in some case, approaching Medium Format quality. I post some samples, the scans having been managed with Silverfast SE software on the Epson V700.
  3. Oops! I've just noticed that I mistakenly stated that the camera is fitted to the Motor Drive 1; in the illustration it's attached to an Auto Winder G.
  4. Nice work, Rick. I have the Celtic version of this lens.
  5. Excellent presentation. Those shots are fantastic. I am curious about the 28mm focal length. It seems to me that the 28mm lens is often neglected. I am guilty of this too as I usually use 35mm and 24mm as my preferred wide angles even though I have several 28mm lenses. I wonder how many of us actually actually use 28mm lenses? I may have to rethink my arsenal.
  6. Back in my SRT days I had a 28mm, but then when I switched to a Canon system, my wides were a 20mm and 35mm. Good lenses for sure. But this Christmas I received a 28mm f2.0. Oh my, what I had been missing for all those years. The 28mm instantly became my go-to.
  7. Very nice indeed. That PMK glow is so nice and the tones and separation comparable to MF as you mentioned. I just came into a Minolta X-300 body. I have a kit with a Rokkor 1.4 and two short after market zooms. Unfortunately, my 35mm Rokkor is hazed.
    I debated getting a new WA for this kit as this fits my I know which one to go for!!
  8. I have a few of these and I like them. Your photo are a good test. I think the camera you are showing has a Winder G on it and not a Motor Drive 1. I have several 28/2.5 MC Rokkor lenses. These tend to have darkened over time so I gave them the UV treatment. This lightened them nicely but there is still a color cast. The cast is easily filtered out when I use color print film but I would not use them with color slide film unless I put on some kind of color correcting filter. There is a 28/2.8 MD on one of my X-9 bodies now and it has the original hood. I don't know whether I have all of the 28mm Minolta manual focus lenses slower than f/2 but I must have most of them. These include the different Celtic models. I have and like many Minolta cameras but I do not care for the XG series. There are too many plastic parts in the winding mechanism and the electronics are not especially reliable either. If you have one in good condition it is pleasant to use. It just might not stay in working condition.
  9. Thanks or the comments.Yes, Jeff, I realised after I'd posted that I'd taken the MD1 off and fitted the Autowinder for the purposes of the photograph, but I did try to make amends, above! I share your opinion of the XG's, having several in a box with the dead capacitor problem. Thanks Chuck, there are usually plenty of these lenses available at reasonable prices; apparently Minolta sold them in their thousands, in the various models and configurations. Yes, Daniel and Charles, it so happens that I very rarely use the 35mm focal length, finding it a little too close to a standard lens, and the step down from 28mm to the 24mm seems to be visually quite a leap. The 28mm is a nice compromise. Mike, I recall seeing some of your nice work with the Celtic, over the years.
  10. Thanks, Ian, I knew that the 5/5 formula was adopted in 1983, but the lens is very similar to the 7/7 version introduced in 1981. Both are known as MDIII, and their weights, dimensions and filter threads are identical. The only apparent difference is in the size and appearance of the front element and surrounding ring, but without both lenses on hand it's difficult to make the comparison. There's very clear photograph of each on the excellent Ad Dieleman website, and from the illustrations there I'm pretty certain the copy I have is the 5/5. Here's a link:
  11. Great clean photos, love the hat column Rick, catchy as always. Sorry have not been around here much, but have you given up color, especially since you are in the middle of the warm season by you?
  12. I'm pleased you're visiting the forum Ralf; please stay around! We're really not having a warm season, as it's just about the most topsy-turvey summer I can remember, with constant cold fronts and strong winds lashing the country. We even had a sprinkling of snow on the hills behind our place a couple of days ago, previously unheard of for January. I'm doing very little colour on film these days, having decided that I can do it better on digital, but I'm concentrating on traditional B&W, an area where I feel digital really doesn't compete. And, of course, it's such fun using the old lenses on a full-frame digital camera, being both quick and affordable.
  13. Rick, thank you for this interesting link. Yes those version look very similiar. I had MD 28/2.8 but not sure which one exactly, and anyway traded it for 35/2.8.

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