Minolta AF/Sony Alpha F.A.Q.
These are some questions that I've encountered frequently, with answers, of course. When the following text says “Minolta”, most of the time the same applies also for “Konica Minolta” and “Sony Alpha”.
- Do Anti-Shake and Super Steady Shot really work, even with longer lenses?
- Do Anti-Shake and Super Steady Shot work with all lenses?
- Does my camera have a backfocus issue?
- Is the sensor in my camera aligned correctly?
- Why can't I record videos with the 7D, 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Why can't I see a live preview of the image on the back LCD of the 7D, 5D, α100, α2xx, α700 or α900?
- I've mounted a lens with an adapter, but my camera doesn't release. What's the problem?
- Where can I download a manual for my camera?
- Can I use the α100's batteries in the α700?
- How can I check the total number of shots taken with a camera?
- Why does my camera only take images at 72 dpi?
- My camera reverts to default settings every time I turn it off. Why?
- Which lens works with which camera?
- Do I have to install all intermediate versions of a camera firmware, or can I just install the latest version?
- Do I have to install the firmware upgrade downloaded from my local Sony server?
- Will my Minolta lenses work on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Can I use my old APO converters with my SSM lenses, or do I have to buy the new D version?
- Can the 80-200/2.8 be damaged if I mount the Minolta converters?
- Do my Minolta manual focus lenses work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Do the Minolta converters work with the 80-200/2.8?
- Does Minolta make generic teleconverters?
- I have a G lens, but there's no “G” on the lens. Is it really a G lens?
- Is the STF lens a soft-focus lens?
- My lens can focus past infinity. Is it broken?
- What's a “D” lens?
- What's a “DT” lens?
- What's a “G” lens?
- What's a “RS” lens?
- What's a “SSM” lens?
- What's a “xi” lens?
- Will my Sigma/Tamron/Tokina etc. lenses work on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- What's a “(N)” lens?
- What's a “i” lens?
- Do new Konica Minolta and Sony lenses work on older Minolta bodies?
- Why do some lenses have 5 contacts, and some have 8?
- Can I stack the Minolta/Sony APO teleconverters?
- Do the Minolta/Sony APO teleconverters work with third-party lenses?
- Why is the STF lens manual focus?
- What is the “Beercan Lens”?
- Which Minolta/Sony TC works with which lens?
- I get massive overexposure with some lenses. What's the problem?
- What's a “SAM” lens?
- There is an unmarked button on my lens. What is it good for?
- Can I use E-mount lenses on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Can I use A-mount lenses on NEX cameras?
- Is using a full-frame lens on APS-C cameras like using a teleconverter?
- Will my flash work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Do the Sony flashes work on Minolta cameras?
- Does the Minolta 1200AF flash work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- How do I trigger a studio flash with the Minolta 5D or Sony α100/α2xx/α3xx/α4xx/α5xx?
- Which flashes work on my camera?
- Why doesn't the green Auto LED glow on my flash?
- Does the Sony ring flash work on Minolta cameras?
- Can I use Minolta/Sony Alpha flashes with the NEX cameras?
- Can the Sony HVL-F32X flash be used with Sony Alpha cameras
- Can I use regular AA batteries in the VC-7D?
- Does Minolta make extension tubes?
- Will my other accessories work with the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
- Where can I buy Minolta products and spare parts?
- Can I read the year of production from the serial number of a lens or camera?
Do Anti-Shake and Super Steady Shot really work, even with longer lenses?
Yes, they do work. It's been rumored often that in-lens systems are more effective, especially with longer lenses. This is wrong. The camera knows the focal length from the lens, and it adjusts its corrections according to which lens is used. Real-world tests have confirmed that these in-body systems are just as effective as in-lens systems, even with longer lenses.
Do Anti-Shake and Super Steady Shot work with all lenses?
Yes, with very few exceptions. AS/SSS should be turned off with the following lenses:
- 3×-1× macro zoom
- lenses with a mechanical focus range limiter when the limiter was activated when the lens was in the near range (i.e. when the camera could not focus the lens to infinity during power-on). The electronic focus range limiter of SSM lenses is compatible with AS.
Does my camera have a backfocus issue?
In a AF SLR there are three light pathes:
- From the lens, via the mirror, onto the matte screen (when the mirror is down)
- From the lens onto the sensor/film (when the mirror is up and the shutter is open)
- From the lens, through the mirror, via a secondary mirror, down onto the AF sensors (when the mirror is down)
|light path with mirror down|
|light path with mirror up|
To focus correctly, all three light pathes have to be the same length. If one of them is slightly shorter or longer, the three images seen by the photographer in the viewfinder, by the AF sensors and by the sensor/film will not match. For example:
- When the matte screen is misaligned, focusing with AF will result in sharp images, but in the viewfinder they look out of focus. At the same time, when focusing manually, the resulting images will be out of focus. Check if the matte screen is mounted correctly.
- When the AF sensors are misaligned, focusing with AF will result in out of focus images, both in the viewfinder and as a final result. Focusing manually will result in correctly focused images.
- When the sensor/film is misaligned, both focusing manually and with AF will result in correctly focused images in the viewfinder, but the resulting image on the sensor/film is out of focus.
When you try to test your camera, it's best to use a lens with a shallow depth of field (e.g. a 50/1.4 or a 100/2.8 macro) and shoot wide open. Otherwise a deep depth of field may bury small amounts of misfocus.
Also note that these focusing problems are never a lens problem but always a camera problem! Auto-focus is a feedback loop, and the camera will move the lens to what it considers the best focus. If you had a lens with a slightly misadjusted focusing barrel, the camera would simply move the lens further or less far to achieve an in-focus image. AF never moves the focusing barrel to some pre-determined distance and expects a focused image there. When you have a really banged-up lens, e.g. with loose lens elements, you will never get a sharp image at any point, or severe chromatic abberations, distortions or vignetting, but never images with the focus at the wrong distance. If you see different results with different lenses, it's always that the same amount of misfocus (caused by the camera) will result in different levels of unsharpness, depending on depth of field and the lens' optical construction.
OK, here's how you test your camera:
- Choose a single AF sensor, e.g. the center sensor.
- Don't aim your camera at a test object at an angle. The AF sensor may not be exactly at the spot that's indicated in the viewfinder, and there are patterns at different distances covered by the AF sensor. You never know which part the camera actually focused on, so such a test will not tell you anything.
- Instead, choose objects that are flat and not too small (should be at least twice as big as the AF sensor's indicator in the viewfinder) and place them at staggered distances from the camera. The objects must have some contrasty patterns for AF to work well. The backs of books or CD covers are good objects. Use a tripod. Make sure you have enough light.
- Shoot with wide open aperture. Focus manually and with auto-focus. In both cases, the object which you focused on should be the sharpest one. Objects closer to the camera or farther away should never be sharper than the one you intended to be in focus.
- Check the resulting images. If you find misfocus in your manually focused images, the matte screen or sensor may be misaligned. If you find misfocus in your AF'ed images, the AF sensors or image sensor may be misaligned.
- Repeat your tests to exclude possible user errors.
- If you find different results when using lateral AF sensors instead of the central sensors, the AF sensors or image sensor may not be precisely perpendicular to the optical axis. Also see “Is the sensor in my camera aligned correctly?”.
If you find a problem, send your camera to a service facility. They have the knowledge and equipment to find the root cause and re-adjust the sensors.
Is the sensor in my camera aligned correctly?
There are three possible problems with the alignment of the sensor in a DSLR.
- The sensor is not placed at the correct distance from the lens mount, causing backfocus or frontfocus. See “Does my camera have a backfocus issue?”.
- The sensor is not aligned perpendicular to the optical axis. This will cause an image in which focus shifts from left to right, top to bottom, or from one corner to the other.
- The sensor is tilted left or right, causing tilted images.
Here's how you can test for the latter two problems. You need:
- Your camera and a lens with a narrow depth of field, e.g. a 50/1.4 or a 100/2.8 macro. As above, a large depth of field may hide the problem.
- A tripod.
- A mirror. It can be either hanging on the wall or lying on the floor.
- A long straight object, e.g. a longer ruler, piece of wood etc.
Test for #2:
- Mount the camera on the tripod and aim it at the mirror. The center of the lens in the mirrored image must be exactly in the center of the viewfinder. This aligns the optical axis exactly perpendicular with the mirror, without using any measuring equipment.
- Place a sheet of paper flat on the mirror, e.g. a page from your newspaper. The paper should be as flat a possible on the mirror.
- Re-focus manually so that the center of the page is in focus.
- Shoot with wide open aperture.
If the newspaper is equally sharp across the picture, the sensor is aligned correctly. If it's sharp in the center and increasingly unsharp towards the edges (equal in all directions), this may be caused by decreasing edge performance of the lens, or by field curvature (i.e. the fact that the plane of focus with this lens is not perfectly flat). If you vary focus slightly, and at some point the edges are sharper than the center, it's field curvature.
If, however focus shifts linearly from left to right, top to bottom or from one corner to the opposite corner, the sensor is probably misaligned.
Test for #3:
- You don't need the tripod for this test.
- Hold the long straight object flat against the base of the camera.
- Again, aim your camera at the mirror, with the mirror image of the lens exactly in the center of the viewfinder.
- You don't have to hold your camera horizontally, it doesn't matter.
- Make a few test shots.
If in the resulting images the camera base is always horizontal (as seen from the object that you held at the base), the sensor is aligned correctly. But if it's always tilted to one side, the sensor may be misaligned.
Why can't I record videos with the 7D, 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
These cameras are true SLRs, i.e. they have a flip-up mirror and a mechanical shutter. The CCD is only exposed to light when the mirror is flipped up and the shutter is opened. Furthermore, the CCD is not designed to be read out while it is still exposed to light. The shutter must be closed to read out the image. Lastly, auto-focus and exposure metering require the mirror to be down. Otherwise the AF sensors and metering sensors receive no light, and you also wouldn't see anything in the viewfinder. With true DSLRs it is not possible to hold the mirror flipped up and the shutter opened and read out images at video frame rates.
The DLSR-A580, DLSR-A560, and all SLT models do allow video recording.
Why can't I see a live preview of the image on the back LCD of the 7D, 5D, α100, α2xx, α700 or α900?
I've mounted a lens with an adapter, but my camera doesn't release. What's the problem?
This is caused by a feature named “lens mount check” or “lens lock” of most camera bodies. When the camera detects a mounted lens but can not communicate with it (e.g. because it has no electronics), it blocks shutter release. Since most adapters and corresponding lenses do indeed have no electronics, you will run into this feature when using adapters.
The lens mount check can be de-activated with most cameras. The camera will then release the shutter even if it has troubles talking to the lens. Here's a list how to de-activate this feature with individual cameras:
|5xi||5xi||Press and hold SPOT and FUNC buttons while turning on camera.|
|7xi, 9xi||7xi, 9xi||Press and hold AEL and FUNC buttons while turning on camera.|
|300si||300si/350si/330si||Press and hold FLASH and DRIVE/SELFTIMER buttons while turning on camera.|
|500si||400si/450si/430si||Press and hold DRIVE MODE and AV buttons while turning on camera.|
|500si Super||500si/550si/530si||Press and hold DRIVE MODE and SPOT buttons while turning on camera.|
|505si/505si Super||XTsi/HTsi/HTsi plus||Press and hold SELF TIMER and SPOT buttons while turning on camera.|
|600si||600si||Press and hold LENS RELEASE and FILM SPEED button with the lens removed while turning on camera.|
|700si||700si||Press and hold SPOT and CARD buttons while turning on camera.|
|800si||800si||Press and hold SUBJECT PROGRAM and AEL buttons while turning on camera.|
|RD-175||RD-175||Press and hold DRIVE/SELFTIMER and AV buttons while turning on camera.|
|404si||STsi||Press and hold P and SELF TIMER buttons with Function Dial at ME while turning on camera.|
|303si||QTsi||Press and hold MODE and SELF TIMER buttons while turning on camera.|
|3L||3/GT||Press and hold SUBJECT PROG and DRIVE while turning on camera.|
|4, 5, 60, 7, 9, 7D, 5D||4, 5, 70, 7, 9, 7D, 5D||The lock can be de-activated with the camera's custom functions. Check your camera manual!|
|30, 40||50||Press and hold drive mode button while turning on camera.|
The lens mount check can not be deactivated for the 2xi, 3xi and SPxi. The AF series and i series cameras do not have a lens mount check.
|DSLR-A100, DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, DSLR-A700, DSLR-A850 (firmware 2.00), DSLR-A900 (firmware 2.00), all SLT cameras||The lock can be de-activated with the camera's custom functions. Check your camera manual!|
|DSLR-A200, DSLR-A230, DSLR-A300, DSLR-A330, DSLR-A350, DSLR-A380, DSLR-A450, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550, DSLR-A850 (firmware 1.00), DSLR-A900 (firmware 1.00)||The lock is de-activated when using M mode. In the other modes it's always active.|
Where can I download a manual for my camera?
Manuals in PDF format for Minolta and Konica Minolta cameras can be downloaded from the following locations:
All are available in English languange, and some in additional languages. Please check the camera table to find the corresponding name for your camera.
Manuals for Sony DSLRs can be downloaded here:
- Sony Support (or go to your local Sony web site and visit the support section)
Can I use the α100's batteries in the α700?
The α700 requires NP-FM500H Info-Lithium batteries. You can not use the α100's batteries (NP-FM55H) in the α700 (you can not even load it). The NP-FM500H also works in the α100, but not the other way round. However, the battery chargers AC-VQ900AM and BC-VM10 (supplied with camera) can charge both types of batteries.
How can I check the total number of shots taken with a camera?
There are only indirect indicators. The 7 and the 9 with DM-9 back can be set up to count the film rolls that were used while recording exposure data. You can estimate the number of frames shot using the roll number. However, the counter can easily be reset by the user, so the estimate can be a lot lower than the actual number of shots.
With digital cameras it's possible to use consecutive frame numbers as file names. Again, the counter can easily be reset, and the number is limited to 4 or 5 digits, so it wraps around after 10000 or 100000 shots.
Essentially, a normal camera user without special tools can not see the precise total number of shutter actuations.
Why does my camera only take images at 72 dpi?
When you look at the EXIF data in JPG files taken with the Konica Minolta 7D or the Sony α700, you find that the resolution is only 72 dpi. You may wonder if some camera setting is wrong.
The short answer is, there's nothing wrong, and it doesn't matter at all.
Here's the long answer: the 7D, for example, always records 3008×2000 pixels at full resolution, no matter which dpi number is written in the EXIF data. With any other dpi number, the actual image information would not change in any way. If you wanted to be technically correct, the recording resolution would have to be 3251.2 dpi.
The dpi number only becomes somewhat relevant when you output the image, e.g. when you print it. For example, if your printer prints at 300 dpi, the above image printed 1:1 would result in a (3008÷300)"×(2000÷300)" = 10"×6.7" print. Or, if you wanted a 15"×10" print, you'd have to print at (3008÷15) = 200 dpi. In many image processing software packages you don't even have to know the dpi number. You just load the image and print it on a given paper size, and the image processing software, the printer driver and the printer are doing all these calculations.
You may ask why the resolution number is added to the EXIF data at all when it's actually irrelevant until you print the image. Well, the resolution numbers are mandatory items in the EXIF info, so if a camera maker wants to be compliant with the EXIF standard they have to add the info and pick some number. But why is irrelevant information made mandatory? This should be food for thought for JEITA, the inventor of EXIF.
My camera reverts to default settings every time I turn it off. Why?
Your camera is probably in green [P] mode or Auto or Auto+ mode or in one of the scene modes. In these modes the camera resets many settings to default values when you enter the mode (including by turning it on). For the camera to keep these settings you have to use one of the other modes, i. e. P, A, S or M.
Which lens works with which camera?
The following table outlines the compatibility of A-mount lenses and cameras.
|Minolta AF||Minolta xi||Minolta|
(7 and newer,
incl. updated 9)
|Minolta DSLR||Sony DSLR||Sony SLT|
●=works; ○=works with restrictions: 1=no motorized zoom; 2=no ADI metering; 3=no AF; 4=strong vignetting
Do I have to install all intermediate versions of a camera firmware, or can I just install the latest version?
All Sony firmware upgrades always contain the full firmware, i. e. they also include all improvements of earlier versions. You can install the latest version immediately and skip intermediate upgrades.
Do I have to install the firmware upgrade downloaded from my local Sony server?
All Sony firmware upgrades for a particular camera are the same for all regions of the world. They contain all languages and features, and they can be installed on all regional versions of the camera. So if you own e. g. the North American version of a camera, you can still download the firmware upgrade from Sony Japan's website and install it.
Which languages are available after installation, and which features are present (e. g. GPS or no GPS), of course depends on the regional version of the camera, but not on the source of the firmware upgrade. This also means that you can not change the selection of languages by installing a firmware from a different region (because the firmware itself is in fact not different).
Will my Minolta lenses work on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
All AF (precisely: Minolta A mount) lenses from Minolta, Konica Minolta and Sony work on Sony Alpha DSLRs (and, of course, on the Konica Minolta 7D and 5D, too).
Minolta MC/MD (precisely: Minolta SR mount) lenses do not work on these cameras directly. Also see question “Do my Minolta manual focus lenses work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?”.
Can I use my old APO converters with my SSM lenses, or do I have to buy the new D version?
The main difference between the D converters and the older versions are the three additional contacts. These are required to transfer the distance information from the lens to the body and to let the body control the in-lens AF motor. There's no other difference between the D and non-D versions. You can use the older versions with SSM lenses, but you will lose the D function and have to focus manually. For AF and ADI you will need the D converters or the Sony converters.
Can the 80-200/2.8 be damaged if I mount the Minolta converters?
That's a myth. You can't mount the converters, and the lens elements of lens and converter will never collide (unless you use a sledgehammer as a mounting tool). The rubber protection ring around the TC's front element touches the rear protection cage of the lens before the bayonet flanges even get near to each other. See this image:
|80-200/2.8 and APO converter|
Do my Minolta manual focus lenses work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
Not directly. There are adapters and combined teleconverters/adapters to mount Minolta SR lenses on Minolta AF and Sony Alpha cameras. However, there are a number of disadvantages and limitations:
- Even the simple adapters contain optical elements to allow the lens to focus to infinity. These have a small teleconverter effect (ca. 1.1×) and also have a negative impact on image quality.
- Adapters without electronics do not transmit any information about the lens to the camera. This means that e. g. SSS/AS will not work. You also have to disable the lens mount check to allow the camera to release the shutter when it does not recognize a lens. See “I've mounted a lens with an adapter, but my camera doesn't release. What's the problem?”.
- Adapters with electronics do transmit some fixed or preconfigured information to the camera. SSS/AS will work, but not to the best possible effect.
- Of course, adapters will not convert your MF lens to a AF lens.
- You have to use stop-down metering because the aperture is also manual.
All in all I don't recommend using SR mount lenses on AF camera.
Do the Minolta converters work with the 80-200/2.8?
No. You can't even mount the converters on this lens. The lens table indicates which lenses are compatible with the converters. Also see “Can the 80-200/2.8 be damaged if I mount the Minolta converters?”.
For the 80-200/2.8 you have to use generic TCs made by third-party manufacturers, e.g. Kenko, Soligor, Tamron or (for some) Sigma.
Does Minolta make generic teleconverters?
No. Minolta's converters only fit on certain lenses. Check the lens table. Generic teleconverters for Minolta A mount are made by Kenko and other third-party manufacturers.
I have a G lens, but there's no “G” on the lens. Is it really a G lens?
No Minolta G lens has “G” written anywhere on the lens. You can find the “G” designation only on the box. Only Sony has started putting the G designation also on the lens itself. Furthermore, there are only minor differences between the non-G version and G version of one lens, so even the non-G version has the same build quality and image quality of the later G version.
Check the lens table to see which lens in which version you have.
Is the STF lens a soft-focus lens?
No. The plane of focus is always fully sharp with the STF lens. What's special is how the STF lens renders the parts of the image that are out of focus. Read Magnus Wedberg's review for an explanation of how this lens works. Also read Mladen Sever's review of the Sony version.
My lens can focus past infinity. Is it broken?
This is perfectly normal. Many AF lenses can focus past infinity, for one or several of the following reasons:
- Some zoom lenses vary focus slightly when zoomed to varying focal lengths. So while they focus to infinity at one position of the focus ring, they focus past or before infinity at the same position but at a different focal length.
- Large lenses can expand with increasing temperature, changing focus as they expand, and they need the extra focus range to make sure they can be focused to infinity even after they were exposed to the heat of the sun.
- Auto-focus can overshoot the infinity mark when it hunts for correct focus. With some extra room after infinity focus, the AF system can detect the overshot and has a chance to stop the AF motor before a mechanical end stop is hit. This reduces mechanical strain and wear of the AF motor and gearing.
What's a “D” lens?
These lenses contain a distance encoder. This allows the camera to read the current focus distance from the lens. The information is used for ADI flash, and the Dynax 7 can also calculate DOF with this information. With non-D lenses you can not use ADI with many cameras. See the Flash Compendium for details.
What's a “DT” lens?
These lenses produce a smaller image circle than normal 35mm lenses. The image circle is only large enough to cover the APS-C size frame of current DSLRs. You can mount these lenses on film cameras, but you will get heavy vignetting (dark image corners). So essentially, these lenses are only suited for DSLRs.
On current Sony full-frame DSLRs (α850, α900), the camera automatically detects DT lenses and stores only a cropped JPG image (as if you've used an APS-C camera).
What's a “G” lens?
The G designation is used for several high-quality lenses, indicating high build quality, excellent optical performance, relatively large aperture, etc. Note that a missing G designation doesn't indicate low quality. Some of the best lenses in the Minolta and Sony lineup are non-G lenses.
What's a “RS” lens?
“RS” means “re-styled”. This refers to a few lenses that were re-released with updated finish. In some cases, a circular aperture was added, but generally the optical design was unchanged. The lens table refers to these lenses as “new”.
What's a “SSM” lens?
SSM lenses contain a ultrasonic ring motor for auto-focus. The AF motor of these lenses can only be controlled by the Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha 7 and all later film and digital SLRs, plus by the Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha 9 after a firmware upgrade. You can mount these lenses also on older Minolta AF cameras, and everything except AF works, but you have to focus manually.
What's a “xi” lens?
These lenses were introduced with the xi series cameras. They feature an in-lens motor that is used for both power-assisted manual focus and body-controlled motorized zooming. Three additional lens contacts allow the body to control this motor and to feed more power to the lens. An xi series (or later) body is required to use these lenses. However, the auto-zoom feature is no longer supported by bodies after the 700si.
Will my Sigma/Tamron/Tokina etc. lenses work on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
All Sigma/Tamron/Tokina etc. lenses with Minolta A mount should work on Sony Alpha DSLRs. I say “should” here because there are several Sigma lenses that do not work on some Minolta AF and Sony Alpha bodies. These have compatibility problems that can only be fixed by Sigma. Some older Sigma lenses can no longer be updated. Contact Sigma for details.
Of course, Sigma/Tamron/Tokina etc. lenses with other mount systems (e.g. Canon EF, Nikon, etc.) do not work on Sony Alpha DSLRs.
What's a “(N)” lens?
Same as “RS”, “i” or “new”. See “What's a “RS” lens?”.
What's a “i” lens?
Same as “RS”, “(N)” or “new”. See “What's a “RS” lens?”.
Do new Konica Minolta and Sony lenses work on older Minolta bodies?
All AF lenses from Minolta, Konica Minolta and Sony work on all bodies, with the following exceptions and restrictions:
- DT lenses do not work on film cameras. Also see “What's a “DT” lens?”. You can mount them, but you will get severe vignetting.
- SSM lenses can be mounted on cameras older than the 7, but you have to focus manually. Also see “What's a “SSM” lens?”.
- xi lenses require an xi or later body to work correctly. Also see “What's a “xi” lens?”.
- Sony E-mount lenses (for NEX cameras) do not work on A-mount cameras.
All other lenses can be used with all bodies, and AF, metering and aperture control will work as expected. Of course, you will not be able to use new lens features with old bodies. For example, using a (D) lens will not get you ADI capable flash on pre-ADI-capable bodies.
Of course, AF lenses will not work on Minolta MF (SR mount) bodies.
Why do some lenses have 5 contacts, and some have 8?
The original Minolta A mount had 5 lens contacts. Later, with the xi generation of cameras and lenses, 3 contacts were added. These were used as an additional power source and an additional communication path. They were required for the auto-zoom feature of xi lenses. Also see “What's a “xi” lens?”.
Later, the three additional contacts were also used for the (D) and SSM function. Also see “What's a “D” lens?” and “What's a “SSM” lens?”. So xi, D and SSM lenses necessarily have 8 contacts, while non-xi, non-D and non-SSM lenses need only 5 contacts. Basic information about focal length, aperture, etc. is communicated via the 5 original contacts. This means that even on older 5-contact bodies you can use 8-contact lenses. Of course, ADI, SSM and auto-zoom won't work, then, but basic metering and program mode operation will work just fine.
For TCs, extension tubes, etc. this also means that they need to have 8 contacts if you want to use a D lens or SSM lens and not loose these functions. When using a 5-contact TC or extension tube, you won't be able to use ADI or SSM.
Can I stack the Minolta/Sony APO teleconverters?
Basically, you can not stack them for the same reason you can not mount them on a lens that is not designed for it. The protruding front element of the rear TC touches the rear element of the front TC before the bayonet flanges even come close. Also see “Can the 80-200/2.8 be damaged if I mount the Minolta converters?”. You also can not use a thin extension tube between the two converters. While it provides some space, its inner diameter is typically not large enough for the front element of the rear TC.
You can, at most, use a generic TC behind a Minolta/Sony APO TC mounted on a matching lens. However, the resulting image quality will probably not excite you.
Do the Minolta/Sony APO teleconverters work with third-party lenses?
Why is the STF lens manual focus?
This is neither caused by the speed of the lens (it's effective aperture is 4.5 while the geometric aperture is 2.8) nor by any mechanical reason, as Internet folklore often suggests. So even SSM wouldn't help to make it AF. The reason is how the AF sensors in the camera work.
Simply speaking, phase detection AF sensors are CCD line sensors with split prisms in front of them. When light is focused by the lens, an activation pattern is produced by the sensors, depending on how much the image is out of focus. The camera then can re-focus the lens so that a typical in-focus activation pattern is reached on the sensors, indicating that the object you aimed on is in focus. The apodization filter in the STF lens, on the other hand, filters out parts of the light from out-of-focus objects so that the smooth transition from in-focus image to out-of-focus image is achieved (which is the purpose of this lens). Unfortunately, this filtered-out light is also the light that is used by the AF sensors. So there's no usable light pattern reaching the AF sensors, and a phase detection AF system can not work with a STF lens. That's also why you get no focus confirmation with the STF lens, because this would also require working AF sensors.
What is the “Beercan Lens”?
Which Minolta/Sony TC works with which lens?
1.4× APO II
2× APO II
1.4× APO (D)
2× APO (D)
|Minolta 135/2.8 [T4.5] STF||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹|
|Sony 135/2.8 [T4.5] STF||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹|
|Minolta 200/2.8 APO||●||●||◙||◙||◙||◙||◙||◙|
|Minolta 200/2.8 HS-APO G||◙³||◙³||●||●||●||●||●||●|
|Minolta 200/4 APO Macro G||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹|
|Minolta 300/2.8 APO||●||●||◙||◙||◙||◙||◙||◙|
|Minolta 300/2.8 HS-APO G||◙³||◙³||●||●||●||●||●||●|
|Minolta 300/2.8 APO G (D) SSM||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||●||●||●|
|Sony 300/2.8 G||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||●||●||●|
|Sony 300/2.8 G SSM II||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||●||●||●|
|Minolta 300/4 HS-APO G||◙³||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹|
|Minolta 400/4.5 HS-APO G||◙³||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹|
|Sony 500/4 G SSM||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||○¹||●||○¹|
|Minolta 600/4 APO||●||○¹||◙||○¹||◙||○¹||◙||○¹|
|Minolta 600/4 HS-APO G||◙³||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹||●||○¹|
|Minolta 70-200/2.8 APO G (D) SSM||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||●||●||●|
|Sony 70-200/2.8 G||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||●||●||●||●|
|Sony 70-400/4-5.6 G SSM||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹|
|Sony 70-400/4-5.6 G SSM II||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹²||○¹||○¹||○¹||○¹|
●=no restrictions, ◙=works, but not recommended, ○=works with restrictions
¹=no AF, ²=no ADI, ³=AF hunting
All other combinations do not work. Also see “Do the Minolta converters work with the 80-200/2.8?”, “Can I use my old APO converters with my SSM lenses, or do I have to buy the new D version?” and “Do the Minolta/Sony APO teleconverters work with third-party lenses?”.
I get massive overexposure with some lenses. What's the problem?
Most likely the aperture of the lens is sticky, and this is most often caused by oil on the aperture blades.
In the Sony/Minolta mount the aperture is held open by the body, and during exposure a spring in the lens closes down the aperture to the desired position. When the aperture doesn't close quickly enough, too much light falls through the lens during exposure, and the shot is overexposed. The most common reason for sticky apertures is oil that seeps out of the lubricants in the lens and creeps between the aperture blades. In some cases the spring in the lens is broken or unhinged. In rare cases the aperture's counterpart in the camera body is stuck.
This problem is easily diagnosed as follows: unmount the lens, pull open the lens aperture at the lens mount (e. g. with a matchstick), then let go. The aperture should snap closed immediately. If it takes longer than a fraction of a second, it's probably too slow. You may also see the shiny oil on the aperture blades.
Some lenses are especially prone to this problem, e. g. the 50/1.7 and the 70-210/4. The aperture can be cleaned to solve the problem, although when you can't do it yourself, it may be cheaper to buy a working replacement from the second hand market.
What's a “SAM” lens?
SAM lenses contain a micro motor for auto-focus. The AF motor of these lenses can only be controlled by the Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha 7 and all later film and digital SLRs, plus by the Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha 9 after a firmware upgrade. You can mount these lenses also on older Minolta AF cameras, and everything except AF works, but you have to focus manually.
There is an unmarked button on my lens. What is it good for?
This button is mainly used as a Focus Hold Button. When you use AF-C mode you can stop AF by pressing and holding the button. When you release the button AF will restart. The purpose of this function is to lock AF when a subject has stopped moving, and the locked AF allows you to recompose without changing focus. When the subject starts moving again, you can follow it quickly by just releasing the button.
When you are in matrix metering mode, locking AF with this button will also temporarily lock metering.
On several newer cameras you can assign a different function to the lens button, e. g. DOF preview. This is done via the camera setup menu.
Some lenses have more than one lens button. They always have the same function.
Can I use E-mount lenses on Sony Alpha DSLRs?
No, these lenses only work on E-mount cameras. There is no adapter.
Can I use A-mount lenses on NEX cameras?
You can use A-mount (Minolta AF, Sony Alpha) lenses on E-mount cameras (Sony NEX) with the lens adapters LA-EA1/LA-EA2/LA-EA3. The following restrictions apply:
- Minolta xi lenses can not be used.
- AF does not work with the initial firmware versions of early NEX cameras. You have to focus manually.
- After an update to firmware 03 (or later), AF works with SSM and SAM lenses and the LA-EA1, although slowly.
- The LA-EA2 works natively with the NEX-5N, NEX-7 and NEX-VG20, and with the older NEX cameras after another firmware update.
- The LA-EA3 is meant to adapt full-frame A-mount lenses to full-frame E-mount cameras (e. g. the NEX-VG900). AF is not supported with non-SSM/non-SAM lenses.
Is using a full-frame lens on APS-C cameras like using a teleconverter?
Not exactly. When using a lens with a smaller frame camera, the angle of view is narrower, which is like using a longer lens. For example, a 50 mm lens on a APS-C camera has the same angle of view as a 75 mm lens on a full-frame camera. But in contrast to a TC, the aperture is not changed. The camera only uses a smaller portion of the image circle of the lens. So a f/1.4 lens remains f/1.4 on smaller frame cameras (with regard to speed; DOF is a different story).
Will my flash work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
This depends on the flash. Generally, either Minolta D flashes or Sony flashes are required for full compatibility with these cameras. In addition, the new macro flashes also work without restrictions on these cameras. In the flash table, fully compatible flashes are marked with “yes” in the “digital ready” column. For third-party flashes, a good indicator for compatibility is support for ADI flash.
For older flashes, the following restrictions apply:
- They always fire at full power or at the preset power level (when the flash is in manual mode). TTL-OTF mode is not supported by digital cameras, and pre-flash TTL and ADI modes are not supported by older flashes.
- Wireless flash does not work.
- For the three AF series flashes, a FS-1100 adapter is required. In addition to the above restrictions, the AF assist light on the flash does not work.
There is no danger of damaging a new camera with an older Minolta AF flash.
Do the Sony flashes work on Minolta cameras?
The Sony HVL-F56AM, HVL-F36AM and HVL-MT24AM flashes are only re-labeled Minolta flashes, and they work on both Konica Minolta digital cameras and Minolta film cameras. The new Sony ring light is really only a LED light and also works on all cameras.
Things changed with the HVL-F42AM, HVL-F43AM and the HVL-F58AM. While they still work fine when mounted directly on film cameras, there are restrictions when using them in wireless mode. They can be triggered only by a few late film cameras and only at certain exposure times. But there are no restrictions when using these flashes with digital cameras from Konica Minolta (and Sony, of course).
See the Flash Compendium for more details.
Does the Minolta 1200AF flash work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
With the FS-1100 adapter (which also comes with the 1200AF-N) you can mount the flash on these cameras. However, it will always fire at full power, and since it has no manual mode, it's also not possible to reduce flash power. So it's very inconvenient to use this flash. The best you can do is try to find the controller of the new Macro Ring Flash 1200 (MFC-1000) and attach the flash unit of the old ring flash to it. This will get you a fully compatible ring flash. The new controller also comes with the Minolta Macro Twin Flash 2400. Note that the Sony Alpha Macro Twin Flash Kit HVL-MT24AM does no longer have the ring flash socket on the controller!
How do I trigger a studio flash with the Minolta 5D or Sony α100/α2xx/α3xx/α4xx/α5xx?
There are three ways to trigger studio flashes:
- via PC sync cable
- via optical signals
- via radio signals
The 5D and Alphas have neither of these built-in. For the 5D and Alphas the PC cable socket can be added with the Minolta PCT-100 or the Sony FA-ST1AM. The PCT-100 is not mentioned in the α100 manual, but it's reported to work on the α100.
Triggering via optical signals (i.e. with a flash pulse) is difficult with these camera. They all use pre-flash TTL metering or ADI metering (which also uses a pre-flash), so the studio flash will often be already triggered by the metering flash, when the mirror is down and the shutter is closed. The only way to avoid the pre-flash is to use manual flash mode, but these cameras do not offer a manual mode for their built-in flash. You have to use an external flash unit in manual mode, which often is a bit too expensive when you just want a trigger.
There are several radio triggers for studio flashes, and they are reported to work with the 5D and the Alphas. However, they are expensive.
Which flashes work on my camera?
Basically, all Minolta AF and Sony Alpha flashes (see table) work on all Minolta AF film cameras. Only the following restrictions apply:
- To use the original AF series flashes with newer Minolta cameras, you need the FS-1100 adapter. The AF assist light on the flash will not work.
- To use newer flashes with the original AF series cameras, you need the FS-1200 adapter. The AF assist light on the flash will not work.
- The D-314i and D-316i flashes only work on the Dynax/Maxxum 3000i/α-3700i, because they are powered by the camera through an extra flash contact pin.
- Of course, new flash features, like HSS and ADI, can only be used if also supported by the camera.
For digital cameras, see “Will my flash work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?”.
For Metz SCA flashes, visit the Metz home page. They have an interactive adapter search feature online that allows you to find the correct SCA adapter for your flash and camera.
For Sigma flashes, visit the Sigma home page for compatibility information.
Why doesn't the green Auto LED glow on my flash?
The green Auto LED only glows when the flash is mounted on the camera, and the camera is set to green [P] mode (Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha 7), Auto mode (Sony Alpha) or P mode (all others except Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha 9 and 800si). With the 7D and 5D, however, the LED never glows. This is no reason for concern. The flash is not damaged, no functionality is lost, and the flash works as expected.
The flash manual was written before Minolta's first modern DSLR (the 7D) was released, so this little restriction is not mentioned.
Does the Sony ring flash work on Minolta cameras?
The Sony HVL-RLAM is not really a flash. It's a ring of white LEDs and a battery holder. The holder has no contacts at the “flash shoe”. It's not controlled by the camera in any way. The camera does not even know it's mounted or even switched on. There's no communication between camera and the Sony HVL-RLAM. Therefore the ring light works on any lens and camera that you can mount it on.
Can I use Minolta/Sony Alpha flashes with the NEX cameras?
Alpha flashes can not be used on NEX cameras with the Smart Accessory Terminal interface. There is no adapter.
Alpha flashes with the iISO mount can only be used with the NEX-VG10 and NEX-VG20 camcorders and NEX-7 camera. Alpha flashes with Multi Interface mount (and iISO flashes with the ADP-MAA adapter) can be used on the NEX-6 and the NEX-VG30 and NEX-VG900 camcorders.
Can the Sony HVL-F32X flash be used with Sony Alpha cameras
The Sony HVL-F32X is not compatible with Sony Alpha cameras. It was designed for a few Cybershot compact cameras.
Can I use regular AA batteries in the VC-7D?
No. The power consumption is too high. Even using high-capacity NiMH re-chargeables is only an emergency fallback to the NP-400 Li batteries.
Does Minolta make extension tubes?
No. Extension tubes for Minolta A mount are made by Kenko and other third-party manufacturers.
Will my other accessories work with the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?
The following accessories work with these cameras:
- Remote release cables RC-1000S and RC-1000L
- Angle finder Vn
- Magnifier Vn
- Eyepiece corrector 1000
- Adapter FS-1100
- Adapter FS-1200
- Cable EX
- Cable CD
- Close-up Diffusor CD-1000
- Lens caps, body caps, flash shoe caps
- Teleconverters with Minolta A mount
- Extension tubes with Minolta A mount
- Other lens adapters, e.g. for M42, T2, SR, reversal adapters etc. You may have to turn off the camera's lens mount check (see “I've mounted a lens with an adapter, but my camera doesn't release. What's the problem?”) and also turn off AS/SSS.
- PCT-100 PC-sync adapter
Where can I buy Minolta products and spare parts?
Konica Minolta went out of the photo business in March 2006. New Minolta and Konica Minolta photo products are no longer produced and are also available nearly nowhere. Rarely dealers are carrying a few pieces of old stock, and these occasions will become even rarer in the future. Basically the only way to buy Minolta and Konica Minolta photo products now is the second hand market.
Sony has taken over the service for Minolta and Konica Minolta photo products. If you need spare parts you should first visit your local Sony home page and search for service center addresses for Minolta and Konica Minolta products. Other independent service centers may also be able to provide spare parts. Other than that, the second hand market is again your best bet to get spare parts.
Can I read the year of production from the serial number of a lens or camera?
The year of production is not directly encoded in Minolta's serial numbers. Some lenses bear a year number, but this is the copyright year of the lens design, not the year of production. Furthermore, some lenses, especially the higher level ones, are produced in large batches and then may sit on a shelf for some time before being sold. Knowing the year of production of such a lens is not so useful when you actually want to know the year of sale.
© 2009 Michael Hohner; This page was last changed on 2013-06-11
Minolta AF/Sony Alpha F.A.Q. These are some questions that I've encountered frequently, with answers, of course. When the following text says "Minolta", most of the time the same applies also for "Konica Minolta" and "Sony Alpha".
|#1: Comment posted by gardenwife on April 05, 2008 - 10:41:22 PM:|
|Thanks so much for posting this FAQ. I have a Minolta DiMAGE A1 and am getting ready to buy a Sony Alpha, probably the DSLR-A300 as I don't need 14MP and would rather spend the extra on lenses and a good flash. I also want the faster frames per second shooting rate on the A300. Either way, I am so happy to see that my RC-1000L remote will work on the Alpha, too.|
|#2: Comment posted by scott on July 24, 2008 - 02:36:51 AM:|
|Id just like to say a big thankyou for publishing this faq
you have just saved me hours of internet surfing to find out this infomation,
and probably saved me hundreds of pounds by buying alternative lens's for my sony a200
|#3: Comment posted by Hadrian Briggs on August 05, 2008 - 04:07:56 PM:|
|I want to say thank you very much, i just purchased a manual focus telephoto lens, for my Sony A100. It said that there was no lens present, and there was no electrical connections on the lens. Before i went in to panic mode, i found your website, and located the problem. Now it works lovley, thanks to you guys.|
|#4: Comment posted by Roy Smith on October 11, 2008 - 09:38:38 PM:|
|Thank you very much. You have now enabled me and my 7D, to use M42 Lenses. Even though I had a mount adapter the camera would not recognise that there was a lens attached. Now it does thanks for the information telling me to switch off the lens lock in the main menu.
Now all I have to do is to wait for daylight so that I can try out the Strathconar Auto 135mm F2.8 and the Kaligar 300mm F5.
Again thank you
|#5: Comment posted by aLnEDaBi on October 19, 2008 - 09:39:07 AM:|
|Is there any TC for Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM APO for sony alpha a350 and is there any extension tube for sigma MACRO 105mm F2.8 EX DG for sony alpha a350?
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Sigma's own TCs work with their lens, and likely also generic ones like Kenko's.
Any generic extension tubes (e.g. Kenko's) will work with the macro.
|#6: Comment posted by Bruno Goh Luse on November 29, 2008 - 04:30:26 PM:|
|Many thanks for this FAQ! I'm a devoted Minolta user, having begun photography in 1994 with my father's Minolta 3xi - before that his first SLR was also a Minolta, way back in the 1960s. I've decided to add a DSLR to my toolbag after several years of using a Minolta Alpha9, and I'm very glad to see that my old Minolta and Sigma Minolta mount lenses will work with the Sony Alpha bodies - thank goodness that Sony has had the good sense to keep the lens mount the same instead of going for some fancy new all-electronic connection.|
|#7: Comment posted by Cel on December 18, 2008 - 06:04:21 PM:|
|Are the lens used in Minolta X700 35mm Camera compatible with Sony Alpha 200? If not, what converters can be used?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|This is answered above in “Do my Minolta manual focus lenses work on the Minolta 7D or 5D or Sony Alpha DSLRs?”.|
|#8: Comment posted by Julia on December 31, 2008 - 09:44:49 PM:|
|Can you tell me if a Minolta AF 75-300mm 4.5-5.6 (D) Lens is suitable for my Minolta Dynax 5D (digital, A/F)|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Yes, see Will my Minolta lenses work on Sony Alpha DSLRs? above.|
|#9: Comment posted by John on January 05, 2009 - 08:20:55 PM:|
|Re: Sony a350, You can trigger studio flash by setting flash to fill in Fn menu and turning AF illuminator to the off position in menu panel on a350.
You will need a secondary light sourse ei: modeling light.Live view is too dark without secondary light source but viewfinder works no problem.I tested this method and it works fine
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|I assume you're using an optical receiver on the studio flash and use the built-in flash as the trigger. Such a setup only works when the receiver has a delay between receiving the signal and releasing the flash. Otherwise the metering pre-flash of the camera will trigger the studio flash too early, before the shutter is open and the mirror is up.
If you're using a complete third-party system of wireless sender and receiver, then it's no surprise it works.
|#10: Comment posted by Pavel Ribaric on April 01, 2009 - 02:30:46 PM:|
|I guess my beautiful Minolta XG-M and the range of lenses I have for it - are fit only for the dustbin/museum?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|You can still use your camera and lenses with film.|
|#11: Comment posted by Varun on May 26, 2009 - 11:07:30 PM:|
|You answered all my prayers well Sony A200 at least :-) Thank you very much!!!|
|#12: Comment posted by karim on June 03, 2009 - 08:33:09 AM:|
|thank you verry much for theese explinations very strate forwood and helpful thanks a gaine god blesse|
|#13: Comment posted by John on July 04, 2009 - 06:45:09 PM:|
|The Sigma 75-200 f2.8 Minolta AF mount lens will not work on the Sony Alpha|
|#14: Comment posted by Adrian on July 14, 2009 - 08:05:17 AM:|
|Thumbs up for a great faq. Regarding the latest entry: the aperture actuator ring may also cause overexposure, even if the aperture blades are clean. The culprit is hardened grease and/or dirt which prevents the ring from rotating freely. It's much easier to repair since you don't have to explode the whole lens :) Thanks for the great site!|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|It is already mentioned above:
In rare cases the aperture's counterpart in the camera body is stuck.
|#15: Comment posted by Adrian on July 14, 2009 - 08:29:35 AM:|
|My bad :) I was referring to the actuator ring from the lens, not the one from the camera body. Cheers|
|#16: Comment posted by rob on July 26, 2009 - 07:47:04 PM:|
|terrific site this one and full of helpful advice - clears the minefield for the Sony / Minolta users out here. Just wondered if you know why on the old maxxum (5000 and 7000 AF) there were issues with under exposure as the lens aperture closed all the way down on every shot when the cameras reached a certain age - and is there a fix?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|The cause is the following: When the aperture closes down the aperture lever moves clockwise (seen from front) around the mount. Normally it is stopped at the intended position by a mechanical stop, and this stop is first held away from the aperture ring by an electro-magnet and is released at the right time. In the 7000 and 5000 the core of this electro-magnet becomes permanently magnetized over time, so it holds the stop away from the aperture ring even after the current stops flowing through the electro-magnet, and thus the aperture is not stopped and closes fully. The only fix is to replace this aperture magnet. That's not an easy repair (you have to disassemble half of the camera to get to the part, and replacement parts are rare), so it often is much cheaper and easier to buy a working camera as a replacement.|
|#17: Comment posted by rob on July 27, 2009 - 07:42:24 PM:|
|thanks for your reply to the above question - that all makes sense and a couple of my 5000s and 7000s have been paperweights for some time. It's a shame because they were very capable cameras. For some reason the 9000s I have don't seem to suffer from the same problem - maybe they will in time. Or do they have a different mechanism? And what about the Sony alpha range - do they have the same mechanism to close down the aperture?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Yes, the problem is rare in the 9000, and I never have heard of it for the later series. Obviously Minolta has learned the lesson. The aperture mechanism of the lens is the same for all Minolta and Sony SLRs, but the way to start and stop the camera part of the system is surely variable. I don't know how it's implemented in Sony cameras as I have not disassembled one. But I consider the problem solved.|
|#18: Comment posted by john on July 28, 2009 - 06:25:39 PM:|
|only just read this but here is a quick thought, if you can get to the core you may be able to demagnatise it with tape head demagnatiser used to demagnatise tape recorders they used to be cheap to buy.
(to use hold by part to be demagnetised,(or as close as you can get) switch on and slowly draw the demagnetiser away for about a foot and switch off.)
worth a try if camera is scrap,
|#19: Comment posted by rob on July 28, 2009 - 07:52:26 PM:|
|Hi John - that sounds like a good idea in theory but I am not sure I even want to look for this magnet. However, any camera repairers reading this might be able to give a lot of cameras a shot in the arm using your idea - I certainly hope someone gives it a try and finds that it works.|
|#20: Comment posted by rob on July 29, 2009 - 04:42:28 PM:|
|Just as an addendum to this article I thought I would share with you the way that I use off camera flash with a Sony DSLR as it can be problematic.
The inbuilt flash ALWAYS fires a pre-flash, even if you turn off the red-eye function and the pre-flash, so optical senors are difficult to use.
I got hold of a second hand Minolta 3200i flashgun for about £20 and this only fires once - there is NO pre-flash.
I then have a couple of used Vivitar 285s mounted on optical sensors - these have a guide number of up to 36m at ISO 100 and are pretty bright - I mount them on umbrellas or in soft boxes.
Turning the camera-mounted 3200i to low power, it has virtually no effect on the exposure, but triggers the two Vivitars.
You can use a flash meter or the histogram on the camera to obtain the correct exposure. I shoot in manual mode at either 1/60 or 1/125 sec and change the aperture to suit. The whole set up cost less than £100 and is far more versatile than the Sony branded guns.
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|A similar method is described in the Flash Compendium (but this description assumes you're using the built-in flash as the trigger). How much the trigger flash is visible in the picture depends a lot on the ambient light level, the ISO setting and the aperture. Using a 2000i or 2000xi as the trigger may help getting the trigger flash down even more.|
|#21: Comment posted by rob on July 31, 2009 - 08:56:32 AM:|
|I have also fond that toilet paper taped to the flash gun keeps the light output down. Sorry, I meant a custom designed diffuser - what must you think of me?
Has anyone else noticed that there a plenty (and I mean thousands) of used Minolta lenses avaialbe at good prices, but it is very rare that you come across fast lenses for sale - they are like hen's teeth these days. Was it always like this or is it the advent of the Sony alphas that has increased demand for fast lenses due to noise issues and the need to use high ISOs in available light?
|#22: Comment posted by JP on October 16, 2009 - 09:28:06 PM:|
|Thanks for a really helpful resource. I am a Konica Minolta DiMage A2 user and have just purchased the Sony a300. I was hoping to use some of the lenses from my Minolta x700, but looks like it's not going to be a viable option.
As I look to add lenses, flash & accessories to my a300, I'm sure I will be using this page as a reference, as I am quite fond of the Konica/Minolta system.
Thanks again. . .
|#23: Comment posted by Jim Peterson on May 13, 2010 - 03:08:54 PM:|
Enjoy your incredible collection of data all the time. I was looking over your compatibility chart for T/Cs and was surprised that you give a "not recommended" rating to the original 1.4X when used with the 200G(HS). I have used that combination extensively and have never experienced any micro hunting. The original 2X is another matter though. In low light it will micro-hunt with the 200G(HS).
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|This warning comes from Minolta. It may be a bigger problem with older cameras.|
|#24: Comment posted by Tony Filler on May 26, 2010 - 02:36:53 PM:|
|Hi Michael, great website.
I've a Sony A200 camera and have just bought a Minolta Zoom xi AF 80/200 lens to go on it. The Sony website says it's "OK, but Automatic zoom functions (APZ, ASZ; wide view mode, image size lock): not supported." Please can you explain what are APZ and ASZ, does it mean that the automatic zoom does not work or just some related functions? Both lens and camera have 8 contacts.
Many thanks, Tony.
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Some Minolta xi camera bodies could zoom the lens with a zoom motor in xi lenses. With special extension cards, the camera was then able to keep the image size constant as you focused ("image size lock", it zoomed out when you focused closer, keeping the field of view constant), etc. These features are no longer supported with later camera bodies. This means that you have to zoom manually, as with any normal zoom lens.|
|#25: Comment posted by T.J. on June 10, 2010 - 06:34:58 AM:|
Thanks for getting all these data in one area. It's great to know that the $18K in professional Minolta glass I own can be used with Sony's DSLRs ... ordered a new a900 this week.
|#26: Comment posted by alex on August 21, 2010 - 07:17:58 PM:|
|It was impossible for me to set the correct white balance with the software (updated)provided for my sony alpha 200.It is unreal that this can happend.Their spot (area) manual WB is a mess.I shoot sony raw (arw)for later WB correct.|
|#27: Comment posted by Robert Luttrell on October 03, 2010 - 12:55:49 PM:|
I am in new territory, I have just purchased the newly released Sony A55 to which will be added their 100mm macro lens. For 20 years I have used Nikon, the latest being a D2x, but the weight of the combination for live field insect photography has got to my ageing joints, so I have decoded to set up a lighter combo for just this work. The one thing that I would like to get from the camera is the focus distance. It is not in the published exif data in any reader that I have tried, even when the lens is equipped with the required sensors.
Have you found any way of accessing that information when clearly Sony have decided not to tell us?
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|I've not found the focus info in the EXIF data. Either it's in one of the yet-to-be-decoded MakerNotes, or it's not in the EXIF data.|
|#28: Comment posted by jose antonio conti on October 06, 2010 - 10:02:45 PM:|
|Por favor necesito saber si el flash Minolta 3200i puedo usarlo en una SONY ALPHA A100 en automatico o manual.Muchas gracias|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|The F.A.Q. above says it: the 3200i is not compatible with DSLRs. It will always fire at full power, and since it does not have manual power levels, your exposure options will be severely limited.|
|#29: Comment posted by Tim Barcus on January 05, 2011 - 02:45:07 AM:|
|WOW, Awesome page. I've been a Minolta/Sony user since my X700 in 1984 and have had about every camera with a 5, 7, or 9 in it's model number (yeah, I'm a professional photographer.)
Man, this is a great page... I felt like I was talking to Phil Braden. Do you know him? Back in "the day" he was "The Man" if you needed help at Minolta.
|#30: Comment posted by trina on November 16, 2011 - 07:21:06 AM:|
|How do you take a picture then the EV scale <> is flashing at both ends?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|This normally means that the scene is too bright or too dark for the metering range of the camera. If you can not bring it into the range (e. g. with a ND filter or flash), you have to go to manual mode and determine exposure yourself.|
|#31: Comment posted by Heiko Herrmann on December 28, 2011 - 10:16:29 PM:|
|"The LA-EA2 currently only works with the NEX-5N, NEX-7 and NEX-VG20." is outofdate. The newest official firmware (Ver.5, released on 2011-12-15) for NEX-3, 5, C3 and VG10 adds full support for the LA-EA2, including phase-AF.|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|It's updated. Hopefully this was the last place where the restriction was mentioned.|
|#32: Comment posted by MR on January 02, 2012 - 11:54:12 PM:|
|Great resource, thanks. I thought the 1200AF-N ring light would be fully compatiable with my A700 until seeing the limitations you listed. Saved me a lot of wasted time and money. Thanks again|
|#33: Comment posted by Janet Baker on January 15, 2012 - 10:57:36 PM:|
|I have a Minolta 7000 Maxxum 35mm camera with a 70-300 zoom Tamron lens could you tell me what kind of Digital camera to buy so the lens will fit!! Thanks for your help!!|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Your lens should work with Sony DLSRs.|
|#34: Comment posted by dimitrios banasios on March 03, 2012 - 09:07:01 PM:|
|i own a minolta dynax 8000 since 1992.i recently bought a vivitar 300 3.5.can you please tell me what adaptor do i have to buy instead of making my camera work?|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|I didn't find anything about a Vivitar 300/3.5. Are you sure of that designation? Which lens mount is that?|
|#35: Comment posted by A.a. on March 10, 2012 - 11:37:02 AM:|
|While konicaminoltasupport.com still works, trying to download manuals now gives a 404 error page on K!M's Europe site.|
|#36: Comment posted by Akshay on March 19, 2012 - 03:22:32 PM:|
|my sony alpha 100 camera switches off again and again after some time and to turn the cam back on again i have to re-insert the battery can you please help me out|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Normally the camera goes into power-save after some time, and you just have to half-press the release button to wake it up again. If this does not work, the camera may need to be repaired.|
|#37: Comment posted by Michael on April 04, 2012 - 04:56:00 PM:|
in your teleconverter compatibilty list there are several combinations which are classified as "not recommended" but there is no additional information (like restrictions "AF hunting, "no ADI" etc).
Could not specify why these combinations are "not recommended"?
e.g. the Minolta 200/2.8 APO and all TC except the Minolta 1.4× APO and Minolta 2× APO, ot, as another example the Minolta 600/4 APO and the Sony 1.4×
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|The new converters have a 1:2 or 1:4 gearing, and the old lenses also have slow gearing. The combination makes AF slower than it could be.|
|#38: Comment posted by Peter Blaise on September 05, 2012 - 10:32:13 PM:|
|Terrific and worthy compilation, excellently vetted and interpreted, kudos.
May I suggest including all possible nomenclature for Google searchers to best find this page:
-- Early Digital Alphas: Agfa Actioncam, Minolta RD-175, video back for the 7000(?).
-- Alpha lens adapters to other cameras: E-mount, V-mount, rare, for mounting Alpha lenses to the Vectis APS camera system, and I saw a video adapter once in a Sony catalog to fit Alpha lenses to Sony interchangeable lens video cams, not the later E-mount (help me with the source and model number, folks).
-- Early Minolta 35mm SLR mount could be labeled or referred to as SR/MC/MD/X-600, all the same mount, different tabs-to-camera communication.
-- As indirectly noted in your threads above, not all Alpha lenses are auto focus, the Minolta Sony STF 135 lens is electronic yet manual focus, but NOT compatible with the other Minolta SR manual focus lens mount.
-- Products may be labeled with various combinations over the years and in various locations with Agfa Konica Minolta Sony Actioncam AF Alpha Dynax Maxxum:
--- Minolta AF and Minolta Alpha and Konica Minolta Alpha in Asia,
--- Minolta AF and Minolta Maxxum and Konica Minolta Maxxum in the Americas,
--- Minolta AF and Minolta Dynax and Konica Minolta Dynax in Europe,
--- Agfa Actioncam in Europe,
--- Sony Alpha world wide.
Sony refers to it as their AMCD Alpha Mount Camera Division, originally including ~100 former Minolta photographic engineers.
-- Kenko Japan has inherited the Minolta Japan Camera division web pages for Minolta history and archives:
--- ~400 web pages, PDFs, firmware updates, Konica and Minolta year-by-year history, all in Japanese here: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:kenko-tokina.co.jp+minolta
--- repairs: https://www.kenko-tokina-kmrepair.jp/index.php
-- Minolta US tossed their camera web archives: http://ca.konicaminolta.com/
-- Minolta Europe camera web archives are decaying: http://minolta.co.uk/ (connection refused!) and http://www.konicaminolta.co.uk/business-solutions/company/camera-technical-support.html (dead end)
... as of 2012-09.
Thanks again and again, Michael, well done.
Love and hugs,
Minolta Photographer Still (Minolta Still Photographer?) =8^o
|#39: Comment posted by Delber Keener on September 17, 2012 - 07:24:15 PM:|
|I recently bought a near mint Minolta Maxxum 7 SLR film camera, but it did not have the Vertical Control Grip VC-7 which I have not yet found elsewhere.
However, I did find a model VC-7D which is made for the digital models.
Is this 7D control grip compatible with my film SLR too?
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|The two grips are not compatible. The 7 requires the VC-7.|
|#40: Comment posted by john on November 04, 2012 - 08:13:33 PM:|
|my nikon sb 24 flash gos ok on my two dslr. 1 is sony a350 and 2 is the sony a77 i got the yongnuo digital YN-H3 adaptor thay are £4.99p. and it works fine.|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Of course, “works” means “fires in manual mode”. Any kind of control from the camera will not happen.|
|#41: Comment posted by Larry on November 24, 2012 - 07:06:27 PM:|
|My Sigma AF-alpha (35-135) and AF-beta (60-200) are very nice lenses, built like tanks, and do a fine job with my 7000. Much to my chagrin, they do not work at all with my A100. The camera doesn't even detect them.
My other Sigmas are a mixed lot - most work, some don't. Even the 28-90D(!) doesn't work on the Alpha. Go figure
|#42: Comment posted by Gary on May 09, 2013 - 08:06:17 AM:|
Knowing full well that Konica/Minolta was going out of business, I bought my Maxxum 7D back in 2006 or so. I am now looking to get back into photography, and I opted for a couple of Tamron lenses to go with the kit lens that came with my camera. They aren't great, but they aren't bad, either. I realize that 6.1MP isn't a whole lot by today's standards, heck, my cell phone has 8MP! But, I like the features of my camera, and I can't afford to spend over a thousand dollars for a new Nikon 5200 with two VR lenses. So, resurrect my Minolta.
My one main concern was buying 'new technology' lenses, and the compatibility, but I see the 7D has 8 contacts inside, and should work with most new lenses. I have you to thank for that information. A lot of what I want, I can't afford to buy new, but there appears to be some good deals on Sony A-Mount lenses, not only from Minolta and Sony, but Sigma, Tamron, etc. I think I'll stay away from the Vivitars.
Your FAQ makes it easy for me to figure out what I need.
I thank you.
|#43: Comment posted by Anthony on June 11, 2013 - 04:45:44 PM:|
|The EU KM support site downloads section at http://download2.konicaminoltaeurope.com/openmind/technic/kmphdwl.nsf/psearch?openform&ch=CAM&dist=BEU&ui=EN&dg=doc&prod=&dsg=&os=&lang=&ml=0&rid=C1256BBB002EC99A&sub=Owner%B4s%20Manual&pcat=&pcc=0&fr=0&frs= is now working again.|
|Michael Hohner answers:|
|Thanks, page is updated!|