Modern Classic SLR Series
Minolta Maxxum 7000 AF SLR camera - Part VII
First Generation AF Lenses by Minolta for Maxxum 7000- Part I

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The AF Technology to create new designs, new capabilities

One great product resulted from the research from the birth of Maxxum project was an array of an entirely new series of Minolta interchangeable autofocus lenses. Employing a different lens mount from the previous manual focus system, Minolta has decided to opt for a revised lens mount specifically for the autofocus camera which was not compatible with previous lenses. Initially, this has dampened the good spirit of even the many Minolta faithful but the leap in technologically advantages the new camera brought were so great and gradually it was well received even for the hardcores.

Naturally, the first generation of early Minolta AF lenses were not as "fanciful" as compared with today's modern AF series of lenses. But during those days, Minolta did has a lot of things to yelled about as that tactical advantage of being the first to introduced a body integrated AF system has offered the designers a free hand to express their talents. These lenses, each has been exactingly crafted by Minolta's ''opto-electronics" technology to create not only completely new system of extremely compact, lightweight, high-performance optics for the Minolta 7000 but also total camera-to-lens system integration. A ROM IC (Read Only Memory Integrated Circuit) has been built into each of those Minolta AF lenses to automatically transfer more than 30 essential lens data to the camera's computer for autofocusing and automatic exposure control, etc.

Initially, there were twelve Minolta autofocus lenses to choose from between 24mm and 300mm in focal length; although the selection was still considered limited but it was still by far regarded as having the widest selection of interchangeable lenses for any AF SLR on the market, the focal length and lens types was carefully introduced with the speed and precision of Minolta's high-tech Autofocus System in an extremely wide range of applications.

The lens family has grown in strength and it has mushroomed to more than 50 lens types being introduced over the years. Naturally and amazingly, most of these lenses, regardless as current models or discontinued ones, still able to serve the original Maxxum 7000 AF camera which was introduced almost 1-1/2 decade ago.

I cannot keep tracked with all these years of development of lens types in this site, instead, just for cross reference, listed here featuring with the original batch of the Minolta AF lenses to enable some of you who has the special interest to compared the rapid development of AF technologies employ in Minolta AF system. Well, despite their aging history, it was quite amazing to realize many of those original lenses were indeed high performance optical tools that have incorporated many up-to-date technological advantages which you may even find them ranked highly with today's modern AF lenses. Some of which deployed are listed below:

<<<<<<- -----KL Skyline...with Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower at the center. Copyright-free images collection © 2001 

Compound Aspherical Lens

In the Minolta AF 35-70mm f/4 zoom lens, an exclusive compound aspherical element is used to make the AF 35-70mm lightweight and compact. Minolta's advanced lens manufacturing techniques assure utmost performance from this unique new lens.

Double Floating System

With its adoption of a unique double floating system, the Minolta AF 50mm f/2.8 macro lens corrects inherent distortion, field curvature and other spherical aberrations in addition to providing life-size macro photography without use of an adapter. During focusing, three groups of elements move independently for minimal barrel extension and faster autofocusing.

Internal Focusing System

Both the Minolta AF 135mm f/2.8 and AF 300mm f/2.8 APO tele lenses use an internal-focusing optical design to enhance high-speed autofocusing. Since focus is adjusted by moving the smaller, lighter central elements rather than the heavier front elements, autofocusing is faster and more precise.

Rear Focusing System

The Minolta AF 28-135mm f/4-4.5 zoom lens is the first zoom lens in the world to use a unique rear-focusing optical design. Three major design benefits are- faster autofocusing since the moving mass of lens elements is greatly reduced; reduction. of overall size and weight; closer minimum focusing distances.

Anomalous Dispersion (AD) Glass

The Minolta AF 300mm f/2.8 Apo tele lens uses Minolta's exclusive anomalous dispersion (AD) glass whose low refractive index and low anomalous dispersion are particularly effective in correcting lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations which are characteristic of conventional telephoto lenses. Minolta's exclusive Achromatic coating further improves color rendition and enhances image contrast.

Minolta Interchangeable Autofocus Lenses

Initial Minolta 7000's AF lens system comprised of 12 Minolta AF lenses with focal lengths ranging from 24mm to 300mm. Included are an 1:1 macro lens and 5 zoom lenses with macro capability covering a focal range from 28mm to 210mm. The early batch of lenses were still far from complete in every aspect, but still, most of these lenses with varying degree of price and performance should be quite adequate for most photographic applications.

Autofocus lenses for Minolta
By the time the Dynax 7000i was introduced a few years later, the AF lens family has already 16 prime lenses ranging from 16mm Fisheyes to a massive AF 600mm f/4.0 APO super telephoto lens, most noticeable was the addition of 20mm focal length which has extend from the original 24mm field of view; on the other hand, the zoom lenses have grown from the original 5 to 12 choices which includes a high performance AF 80-200mm f/2.8 APO lens. Special lenses such as macro/close-up photography, Minolta has added a AF 100mm f/2.8 Macro in addition to the AF 50mm f/2.8 Macro with 2 APO tele-Extenders at 1.4X and 2X ratio. But since we are still focus on the original lenses, we just go through the various lenses and outline their respective optical characteristic and usual application briefly.

Wideangle lenses at 24mm and 28mm focal length

Most suitable for landscapes, group shots or creating interesting perspectives. A bright viewfinder image makes precise composition easier than ever. The AF 24mm has only about a 10° smaller angle of view than the 20mm lens which introduced at later stages. The lens provides about twice the image of a 35mm lens and about three times that of the 50mm lens. With a highly versatile 84° picture angle, the 24mm lens is a perfect compromise between ultra and regular wideangle - ideal for landscape, travel, candid and architectural photography. This is the widest of the wide-angles of the initial group of Minolta AF lenses. Compared with wider lenses, it is a lot more easier to master. Also, the strong rendition of perspective can be controlled quite easily on this lens. But more importantly, other than including a wider scope of background information with its wide angle of view, this lens still permit the photographer to maintain a close visual relationship with the subject, which is especially useful in photojournalism, reportage or news photography.

The AF 28mm focal length is considered today to be a standard wideangle by an increasing number of photographers especially for those who finds they always has to deal with PR photography. The main advantage of the 28mm lens is its ability to capture a fairly large subject area without creating undue concern over its perspective rendition. I always thought a 28mm is a better investment than a 35mm or a wider 24mm to handle all round photographic situations. A comparison of 24mm, 28mm and 35mm angles of view should give you an idea of how a 28mm performs.

lens24mm.jpg lens28mm.jpg

Angle of View - 24mm, 28mm, 35mm













35mm *




* Not available
in the Minolta lens family.

AF 24mm f/2.8

Construction: 8 elements in 8 groups
Angle of view: 84*
Minimum focus: 0.25mm
Minimum f-stop: f/22
Dimensions: o65.5 x 44mm
Weight: 215 g

AF 28mm f/2.8

Construction: 5 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view: 75o
Minimum focus: 0.3m
Minimum f-stop: f/22
Dimensions: 665.5 x 42.5mm
Weight: 200 g

Well, compared with the moderate view of an usual 35mm wideangle lens which was considered as the 'normal wideangle standard"during the seventies, the typical wideangle effects become obvious at 28mm but not as apparent as the 24mm counterpart and that could well explained why it is such a clear favorite among many amateurs and serious users alike as it can be used for a wide variety of applications including commercial, industrial, architectural, travel, landscape and news photography.

28mm angle.Gif
If you are undecided about which wide-angle is best for your type of photography, it might be a good idea to take a look through a viewfinder with a 28mm lens. The image you'll see will have more pronounced perspective than a 50mm lens but not to a great extent. With group portraits, a 28mm lens can mean to provide a truly pleasing picture. You can move in close enough for facial detail and at the same time have sufficient pictorial coverage. And, giving some consideration to the subject's surroundings, the use depth of field to control the zone of sharpness at the sides and behind the main subject.

Another significant advantage of the 28mm focal length lenses is, most modern electronic flash units are designed to cover the field of view of a wideangle 35mm of 63 degree picture angle. However, since most electronic flash provides an wide-adaptor, you may use it to extend and has the field of view of the 28mm (or even at 24mm focal length) lens well covered.

Previous | NEXT | 7/8 Three lenses at 50mm focal length, Telephoto lenses at 135mm, 300mm and FIVE Minolta zoom lenses


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Credit: Mr Aaron Oh, for lending his old Maxxum 7000 brochure to prepare certain content appeared in this site; LEONID.SL<> for his great image of the Maxxum 9000; Johannes Huntjens <>, LT Jack B. Nunley <> and "Jarret LaMark" <> for their generosity for granting permission to use some of the Maxxum 7000 images appeared in this site; for his image of the Minolta Maxxum 7000 AF Body / Program Back 70;"Camera Works" <> for some superb view of the camera; Dan Dorsey <> for his shots of the 7000 Body w/ Org. Box & Manual; "Rehmat Iqbal" <><> for being so considerate and helpful. Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, Instruction Manual(s) & brochures published by Minolta and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Minolta", "Rokkor", "X-700", "Dynax" & "Maxxum" are registered trade names of Minolta Optical Inc., Japan. A site dedicated to all Minolta fans worldwide. Site made with an Apple IMac.