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Past Article Calendar

November 2007
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Minolta lenses 30 years ago

OUR local dealer, Hector Innes in Kelso, used to be a totally Minolta-dedicated retail shop. Hector and his son Alastair have always been Minolta photographers, and Alastair currently uses the Dynax 7D as weapon of choice for weddings. Their shop is one of those few remaining which combines a professional studio (ABIPP, in Hector’s case) with processing and printing, and retail. On the wall there’s a Minolta clock from two or three changes of logo ago, and on the counter, I found a well-used and yellowed Minolta lens chart mat.

This soft, thick plastic mat is double sided and on the reverse is a flash system chart, which I will retouch and post later. Alastair let me borrow the mat and scrub it – literally, with loads of soap and water and a pan sponge. It has stickers and bits of tape on it and a few cuts, because they make useful cutting mats. On the copystand, using a 28mm f2 because my 50mm macro could not fit in the entire A3 size, it was photographed using the A700 after first shooting a Macbeth colour checker and adjusting the exposure to avoiding losing any detail. The lighting was by a pair of Bowens Esprit Gemini 200 heads on minimum power with keylight reflectors, and exposure was f7.1. In post-processing, -1% distortion was removed.

Olaf Ulrich suggests that from the line-up and type of lenses shown, the mat must date from late 1978 to early 1979. Since these items were normally made to coincide with photokina and used on the exhibition stand counters, I would assume it was made in time for September 1978. The top MINOLTA word is not in a typeface which was used corporately by Minolta on products, but it previews the changes made to the Minolta logo in early 1981 when the ‘hamburger’ was introduced and two typeface families (Avant Garde Gothic Condensed , and ITC Novarese) became mandatory for all Minolta official graphics. The lower right ‘Minolta’ is from a graphic style which predates the poster and goes right back to the early 1960s. A strange mixture!

Minolta lens counter mat 197?

Of course, this little reproduction is not much use to you BUT…

If you click on the image, you will open (or download) a 27 megabyte high quality JPEG (compressed to 5.5MB) which is in AdobeRGB colour space, at 300dpi, and has no sharpening applied. I have done some basic retouching – removing some bits of paper, repairing some ‘damaged’ lenses, taking off a scratch or two and many small marks – but further refinement is possible. The printing of the mat is not very sharp, whatever process was used in the mid-1970s when I suspect this item was produced. ‘Pictus’ has done some retouching (Nov 27th) and re-labelling of all the lenses with a sharper font (it is not quite the authentic original any more) and I have done some further retouching to clean it up enough so it can be printed without any concerns – for this version click here.

It will make an excellent A3 print out using your own inkjet!

Now all we need is a line-up of lenses to match these from Sony for the Alpha system.

– David Kilpatrick

6 comments to Minolta lenses 30 years ago

  • person s

    It works now!

  • person s

    I’m getting an error when I try to download the big version.
    This happens on both my Windoze crapbucket at work, and on my Mac at home.

  • I must admit after having it up as wall paper on my PC overnight, I do wish Sony had such an extensive selection available for the alpha dslr family of contemporary cameras. Fortunately I have been able to obtain a series of seven Minolta Maxxum AF lenses that work with ease and sharpness!

    Sony will eventually piece all the variables into a strong foundation for its dslr products. That is not to say it is lacking. Quite the opposite I think, my cz1680 is certainly one excellent example.

  • fother

    very cool, thanks for taking the trouble to share it David 🙂

  • There are a few interesting lenses there…and they are all so nice and small! Thanks for sharing David.

  • Nice discovery! Thank You David I’m downloading now 😉