Minolta V mount

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Minolta was the only camera maker that created a new autofocus SLR camera system with a complete set of new lenses for the APS film system. Only three camera models got the lens bayonet that fits for these precious lenses: The Minolta Vectis S-1, the Minolta Vectis S-100, and the digital SLR Minolta RD-3000. All automatic control signals are given electronically to the lens barrel. Camera body and lens, both sides have the necessary electrical contacts. The image shows the Minolta Vectis S-1 with the 1:3.5/50mm macro V-lens. The system flash SF-1 bears a macro diffusor, and the lens is focused to nearest distance (23mm, magnification 1:2) .

The RD 3000's ½" CCD sensors with 6.4×4.8mm image area usually would mean a crop factor of 5.4 compared to 35mm format (full frame), whilst the APS format means 1.5 crop. The very compromise of the RD3000's two sensors is to divide incoming light, one share going to a green-sensor, the other half to a blue&red-matrix sensor. In addition, inside the camera the incoming light-stream is optically converted to simulate an APS-C size sensor, virtually reducing crop to APS-film's 1.5, but also effective aperture, meaning almost double depth-of-field of this digital camera system. The 35mm focal-length equivalents in the table below are given for crop 1.5.

The system lenses for Minolta's Vectis S-1, Vectis S-100, and Dimâge RD-3000

V lens description image digital re‑use**
V 17mm f/3.5 RD A super wide-angle lens (35mm film equivalent: approx. 26mm) possible
V 22 - 80 mm f4 - 5.6 A standard type 3.6X zoom lens that covers wide angle to telephoto range, compact and lightweight (35mm film equivalent: approx. 34 - 123mm) possible
V 28 - 56 mm f4 - 5.6 A standard type 2.0X zoom lens (35mm film equivalent: approx. 48 - 86mm) impossible
V 80‑240mm f4.5‑5.6 APO An apochromatic (=highly colorcorrected) high-performance 3.0X tele zoom lens (35 mm film equivalent: approx. 123 - 370mm) recommended
V 50 mm f3.5 MACRO A macro lens with focus from infinity to a 1:2 magnification ratio (35 mm film equivalent: approx. 77mm) recommended
The following lenses lenses can be attached to the Minolta RD-3000, but may not perform to 100% of their capabilities.
V 56-170mm f/4.5-5.6 possible
V Reflex 400mm f/8 possible
V 25-150mm f/4.5-6.3 impossible

For all lenses listed above: - Effective aperture range: f/6.7 - 22 - Focal length: approx. 1.5 times longer when compared to 35mm film usage.

** digital re-use on Sony NEX and its successors
Sony A5x00 & A6x00 is possible by means of the
MonsterAdapter LA-VE1
This kind of re-use is recommended only for two of the lenses, the APO tele zoom lens and the 50mm Macro lens, since both have a manual-focusing ring that works sufficiently with this adapter. It supports manual focus and automatic aperture.

V lenses are for APS film format, but are they ideal for digital re-use?

The most DSLR cameras and mirrorless system cameras rely on imaging sensors of APS-C format. Thus all Minolta V Lenses should be ideal partners for the modern digital way of photography, but there is only one adapter available, branded MonsterAdapter, type name is LA-VE1. Thus re-use is only possible on Sony NEX cameras and its successors. Only the re-use of the tele zoom 80-240, a nicely sharp apochromatic lens, and the re-use of the 50mm macro - Minolta was a real good maker of 50mm macro lenses - only for owners of both lenses who also like them, the Adapter can be recommended.

Another future adapter that supports autofocus won't follow since the market for such a specialty seems quite limited when we take a view onto the sales of the MonsterAdapter LA-VE1.