The Beauty of the Old

One of the reasons I made the switch to Sony cameras was the amazing imaging qualities of the cameras and the functionality of the new single-lens-translucent (SLT) technology. I’ve talked about that before. Another important reason was the ability to use older Minolta Maxxum lenses.

Images made with Minolta lenses have a certain “look,” much like older Olympus lenses from the OM-1 days. So, in addition new high quality “new tech” lenses, I decided early on that there were a few Minolta lenses that would have to be a part of my kit, and the first one I wanted to get was the second-generation of the 50mm f/1.7 (the second generation is almost identical to the mystical original “crossed X” version, but is rumored to be slightly sharper). Last week, I found a great price on one on line, and quickly snapped (no pun intended) it up.

Sony Alpha SLT-A35 with Minolta Maxxum 50mm f/1.7. ISO 200, 1/40, f/1.7. From a RAW file, with minimal adjustment in Adobe Lightroom 4.1.

Literally, this is one of the first pictures I took using the lens. There were specific things I was looking to examine in this “test shot”: color, depth of field control, bokeh, and sharpness.

Obviously, at f/1.7, depth-of-field is extremely shallow. And, wide open, the bokeh isĀ beautiful! Nice, perfectly round spectral highlights and soft, flowing colors. And what lovely color. Amazing and beautiful results from a lens that’s nearly 25 years old.

Sony Alpha SLT-A35 with Minolta Maxxum 50mm f/1.7. ISO 200, 1/40, f/1.7. From a RAW file, with minimal adjustment in Adobe Lightroom 4.1. Cropped and resized in Adobe Photoshop CS6.

For those who long to pixel-peep… Actually, I saw this crop when I zoomed into the image in Lightroom to take a closer look, and really liked the composition. It also affords a nice look at the detail that the lens can capture.

I’m definitely planning to add at least a couple more of these classic lenses to my bag, specifically, the AF 20mm f/2.8 and the AF 135mm f/2.8. An original AF 24-70mm f/2.8, if I can find one that I can afford, would also make a great addition to my kit. More than likely, I’ll pickup the 28-85 f/3.5-4.5 instead, as well as a 70-210mm f/4.

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