by John Kasinger
Minolta Manual Focus Lenses
Minolta manual focus lenses are in my experience superior to either Nikon or Canon. Now that’s a bold statement but let me explain. I went off to photography school at Brooks Institute of Photography in 1969. There was nothing but film photography. Nikon and Canon were king. We were told to bring either a Nikon or Canon for our 35mm camera. Nothing else was accepted not even Leica.
From that requirement most of us thought Nikon and Canon were unquestionably the best. I believed that for 49 years. Then I tried Minolta. I was astounded. I had used many Canon and Nikon systems over the years and was shocked to find that lowly Minolta was smoother, sharper and even less expensive. I knew from experience that Contax lenses were superior to Canon and Nikon but they are expensive and even hard to find on the used market. Minolta manual focus lenses are plentiful and very affordable. I am only speaking of their top of the line ROKKOR series lenses. Minolta’s weakness was in the camera bodies. They weren’t as durable as Nikon or Canon. Minolta’s SRT 101 and 102 are fairly bullet proof and have mirror lockup.
My photography either film or digital is almost always from a tripod with the camera mirror up to reduce vibration and improve sharpness. I use Minolta SRT 102 bodies. They have mirror lockup and split image focusing. The SRT 101 bodies are great but there is no split image focusing. There are gazillions of these two camera bodies on the used market and they are cheap enough to be disposable. If one breaks just
throw it away and buy another for under $50. It’s cheaper and faster than having them repaired.
If you want to experience 35mm film photography when film was king give Minolta SRT 101 or 102 with a ROKKOR lens a try. Be careful the legendary silky smooth focusing is addictive.