Compare today's lenses with old Minoltas

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by alaios, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    I wanted to ask you what are the differences between old lenses and lenses that are produced today.

    For example when my minolta MD 50mm/1.7 I see that makes nice shots... but I can also see great quality, much better, in shots taken with the sony 50mm/1.8.

    How this difference can be explained?

  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    IMHO lenses play some role but what I've learned from my very short experience with photography is that the biggest factor to a nice photo is THE PHOTOGRAPHER ;) 
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  3. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    It is much easier to manufacture and design lenses today than it was 40 years ago. Despite of that lots of good lenses were made in the old days because the optical principles have not been changed. I think that Planar is still most popular design but more lenses are used in objectives to better correct aberrations.

    Manufacturing has changed a lot. In the old days aspherical lenses were difficult to make, they didn't have optical plastics and so on.
  4. veljko

    veljko New to TalkEmount

    Dec 4, 2013
    Also, one of the most improved effects on newer lenses are coatings of lenses. It brings better contrast, less flare etc
  5. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Just as today, there are cheaper products and nicer ones.

    I have seen some really well built, well designed lenses from both modern times and from days gone by.

    The big difference is that manufacturing techniques have advanced considerably allowing much tighter tolerances can be found on cheaper products.
  6. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Optically, SEL50f1.8 is very well designed, although not as sharp as say Canon EF85 1.8. But still very sharp. It seems to have been optimized to be used near wide open. Already sharp at f1.8 and very sharp at f2.8.

    Plus, it has OSS, so images may appear sharper due to less camera shake at low to moderate shutter speeds.

    Finally, it's a $300 lens.

    Minolta MD 50/1.7 is a cheap kit lens from the 70s. It was never optimized for digital, and I am finding that any of my legacy lenses need local contrast boost in LR. Otherwise they appear low contrast and glowy.

    But it has amazing resolution. You can't boost details in PP if they aren't captured in first place. In OK light, if I can use Minolta at f4 or higher, I think it kills even Sony 50. It's literally razor sharp then, with great bokeh and color. And is way easier to MF for critical focus.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
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  7. Shutterdad

    Shutterdad TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    I just recently purchased a Nex F3 and can't wait to own some of these older Minolta lenses again. Back in the day these lenses were made correctly and after 30 years they still are producing wonderful images. Some of these images we see today were made with a kit lens. Anyone think a kit lens made today will still be working 30 years from now? I don't!
  8. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    With AF it is much easier to get critical focus than with a legacy lens. But when you do get critical focus with a legacy lens, the difference can often be very small. But when you fail (and you will fail more often than you hit, especially in the beginning), you may decide that you have a softer lens. This is why it can be good to test the lens in controlled conditions and get a sense of the lens before you shoot 'live' shots.

    I know for example that I often miss focus with my f1.2/1.4 lenses wide open. The DoF is very thin. But when I nail it, especially to a point that looks good on my 28" HD screen (and my success rate has been getting better over time), I will often see very little different from my modern lenses in sharpness. In fact, that's also when lens character is most apparent, and to my eye often more pleasing than the modern lenses, which I would call 'clinical'.

    The fact is I don't often want to capture exact reality, I want to make reality a little exotic and generate a certain mood to put a little gloss on memory preservation, which is sometimes only possible with a legacy lens.
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