This article Capy used the camera Sigma fp (the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame 135 mirrorless camera).
LENS Mount -SR/MC/MD
The Minolta brand is a major manufacturer in the era of Japanese film cameras.
In 2003, Minolta formally merged with Konika to form Konika Minolta, Inc.
In 2006, Konica Minolta officially announced its departure from the camera and photography business and sold part of its digital SLR camera assets to Sony.
SR/MC/MD all refer to the same type of ring, and all refer to the 45mm diameter Minolta mount ring.
SR period: 1958-1966, Minolta produced the SR series of monocular cameras, so called SR mount. MC period: 1966-1977, MC for Meter Coupled Continuous Exposure acronym, this period produced the famous Minolta SR-T101 negative camera. MC period coating color is more beautiful and light. MD period: 1977-2001, XD series camera was the main product, MD period has more vivid and colorful coating.
Although MC and MD both refer to the same type of rings, but sometimes lens sellers in the market will mix these names.
For example, when you are looking for Minolta MD 28mm f2.8, it is very likely that the following situation will occur.
The seller will tell you that yes, this is it, but actually look at the nameplate on top of the lens and it says MC version …….
The easiest way to distinguish MC or MD lenses is that most MC focus rings are made of metal and MD focus rings are made of plastic for light weight (the quality of workmanship is still very good).
Minolta’s lens versions are quite complicated, Capy found a website with a more detailed list of Minolta lens versions for your reference.
As for the Minolta 300mm f5.6 in Capy’s hand, it is written as MC TELE ROKKOR, which is accurately classified as belonging to the end of MC and the beginning of MD, that is, the lens produced in the MC-X era( still not sure…).
Capy’s camera is Sigma fp, belongs to the L-mount camera.
The easiest way to use a Minolta lens on an L-mount camera is to use the MD-SL adapter.
In order to shorten the closest focusing distance of the old lens, Capy usually connects the old lens with a macro adapter ring.
However, in practice, we find that even with a macro adapter, it is not very useful for telephoto lenses over 200mm.
It’s not as convenient as looking for a small macro telephoto (e.g. Contax 70-210 f3.5 for full focal length macro function).
Therefore, Capy recommends using a normal adapter ring.
Another reason is that after the macro adapter ring is connected to a heavy lens, the focus barrel will become very difficult to rotate because of its weight, so it is not recommended.
Lens build quality
Even though the MD series lens body is made of plastic, the actual use of the lens feels very sturdy, the overall parts of the joint where are tightly bound, no other old lens in the focus ring will feel the feeling of loose.
Lens hand feeling
Handle feeling on hand
For a 300mm lens, the Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 is not too bulky at nearly 700g, but it’s still a big guy.
Because Capy’s camera, the Sigma fp, is a brick and mortar camera without any handle, I purchased a Smallrig 2518 Sigma fp rabbit cage handle to increase the grip.
The good news is that the filter is only 55mm in size for easy grip, and with the usual smooth focus feel of the MD series, it is very conducive to manual focus use.
2. Focus and aperture
The Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 has a very nice touch of the diamond rubber on the focus ring, to the extent that you can feel it in your hand and turn it.
In addition, starting from the closest focusing distance of 4.5m, it takes Capy’s usual rotation range of 4 times to reach infinity, which is quite enough to focus even on distant landscapes.
Another advantage is that the front part of the lens does not rotate when the focus ring is turned, making it easy to use with various filters like CPL.
Aperture steps from f4.5 to f22.
The 5.6 aperture is a half-step smaller than the other famous Minolta 300mm f4.5.
But this long focal length is definitely enough to cream the background.
Besides, the price of Minolta 300mm f4.5 is nearly 3~4 times that of Minolta MD 300mm f5.6, and the full open aperture is not as sharp as the 5.6 version.
lens filters, hoods
The Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 lens has a 55mm filter.
The front does not rotate when the focus ring is turned, making it easy to use CPL and other filters.
The lens also has a retractable internal hood, making it easy to use on the go.
For this kind of lens with ancient coating, if you want to increase the anti-flare ability and maximize or restore the contrast of the lens, the “Len’s Hood + CPL filter” is a good choice.
“Len’s Hood + CPL filter” is definitely a must-have photographic accessories.
The beauty and ugliness of bokeh is different for everyone, so Capy simply shares my subjective feelings.
The bokeh is slightly bilinear, but picking the right background can make the whole background melt away, depending on how it is used.
The chromatic aberration is obvious in the highlights at full open aperture, and there is an obvious purple edge, which is improved after converting the aperture to f8 or f11.
3. Flare resistance
The Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 has a lime green coating and is surprisingly good at resisting flare.
When facing distant scenes, telephoto lenses are often foggy and gray due to atmospheric dust and poor flare resistance.
This lens can suppress this situation to a considerable extent.
4. Contrast and sharpness
The Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 performs well at full open aperture, and if the sharpness is adjusted by +1~2 steps in the body, a very satisfactory level can be achieved.
As mentioned above, because of the lens’s ability to resist flare, this lens has good contrast and color reproduction at all aperture levels, with the best quality falling at f8 and f11.
Please refer to the section on the lens performance of the CANON 85mm f1.9 L39 for an explanation of microcontrast.
Old lens focusing good tool – magnifying viewfinder
Peak focus can support manual focus to a considerable extent.
However, when using a focal length of 200mm or more, the magnitude of hand-held screen shake will make focusing much more difficult.
This is where the external camera magnifier can be of great help.
Capy’s camera is a Sigma fp, which has been officially produced with its own Sigma LVF-11 magnifying viewfinder.
Specification is 2.5 times magnification, can provide high quality viewing enjoyment, and at the same time have the function of sun shading.
So Capy later chose the MK-VF2 LCD magnifying viewfinder
Unfortunately, it is hard to find on Ebay or Amazon, but you can select other brand of viewfinder, like GGSfoto, also can get good experience.
In addition, the rubber part of the viewfinder above, because it will block Capy’s glasses, so I directly used scissors to make some cuts.
Although it’s a little ugly, it’s more important to be practical.
The last and most important point is that the whole group with the weight of 1.6 kg.
If the camera strap directly hanging on the neck will be very uncomfortable, it is difficult to walk for a long time.
Therefore, Capy’s recommended way is to use Peak Design’s Capture V3 or V2 , and then add Peak Design’s quick release version to the bottom of the camera and hang it directly on the backpack.
The picture below shows Capy’s outfit at the zoo, with 2 cameras and 2 mirrors, from morning to afternoon, after 5 hours of walking and jumping.
1. affordable price 2. very good anti-glare ability 3. very light in this Focal length 4. built-in hood 5. full open aperture good sharpness 6. long focusing stroke for precise focusing
1. full open aperture purple edge obvious 2. aperture only to f5.6 3. telephoto old lens focusing is not easy, you need to match the zoom viewfinder assistance 4. the nearest focus distance of 4.5m, no macro function 5. slight bilinear bokeh 6. no tripod ring attached to the lens
The Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 is an unbelievably inexpensive and lightweight telephoto.
The lens has good resistance to flare, allowing color reproduction at all apertures.
The f5.6 aperture may not be the largest aperture, but for creating creamy bokeh, the 300mm lens is definitely capable of producing it.
The performance of the full open aperture is good, but the purple edge of the highlights is a bit troubling, and some improvement will be obtained after tightening the aperture.
If you want to shoot landscapes, stopping at f8 or f11 is a good choice.
For the smoothest bokeh, feel free to use the maximum aperture of f5.6.
The nearest focus distance away from 4.5m some restrictions.
But for medium telephoto subjects at 5 meters away, the Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 is at its best.
This lens has bright and pleasing colors that will definitely satisfy your needs, as long as you can hold it.
Contax 300mm f4: Contax famous telephoto lens, with T* coating, good anti-flare and anti-dispersion ability, weight is heavier 1200g, nearest focusing distance 3.5m, price is about 200~300 USD.
Nikon AIS 300mm f4.5: 1158g, comes with a tripod ring, has the same good anti-flare ability and sharpness as Contax, full open aperture will have some slight dark corners, the closest focus distance of 3.5m. Price is about $130~300.
Takumar 300mm f4: 946g, the closest focus distance of 5.5m, rich in color, but anti-flare and anti-dispersion ability is less, bokeh bilinear than the Minolta MD 300mm f5.6 is also a bit higher, the price is about 80 ~ 150 U.S. dollars.