The Guide to Adapters for Minolta MC and MD lenses

Many of Minolta’s MC and MD lenses can be used with great results on digital cameras. All you need is the right adapter for your camera and this article will help you to find it.

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The Minolta SR-mount

Minolta introduced the SR-mount in 1958 and in 1985 it was succeeded by the incompatible A-mount. For our purposes I would discern three different generations of SR-mount lenses.

  1. SR-lenses. These are the oldest lenses released before 1966. They are labeled Rokkor or Auto-Rokkor but not MC or MD.
  2. MC-lenses. Released between 1966 and 1977 these are labeled MC Rokkor.
  3. MD-lenses. Released from 1977 the older MD lenses are labeled MD Rokkor but the younger ones from 1981 and younger dropped the Rokkor and are just labeled MD.

Because MC and MD lenses are a lot more common this articles is titled The Guide to Adapters for Minolta MC and MD lenses but the same adapter will work for all these lenses. When these lenses are used on a Minolta film SLR it matters from which generation they are since the older ones don’t work in all camera modes.  On a adapter the aperture is controlled only by the user so there is no difference between these lenses work.

There are quite a few lenses from Minolta with a different mount which need different adapters.

  • Minolta A-mount lenses are easily identified by the AF-engraving.
  • Minolta also released three M-mount lenses in cooperation with Leica, the M-Rokkor 28mm 1:2.8, 40mm 1:2 and 90mm 1:4.
  • Then there are a few M39 mount enlarging lenses labeled E.Rokkor, C.E. Rokkor or just C.E. 

A quick introduction to Adapters

You can only create an adapter for lenses with a longer flange focal distance than the camera you want to use it on. Since Minolta used a relatively short flange focal distance of 43.5 mm you can’t adapt Minolta SR-mount lenses to DSLRs. That’s because DSLRs from Canon (44 mm), Nikon (46.5 mm), Pentax (45.46 mm) and Sony (44.5 mm) all have a longer flange focal distance. Mirrorless cameras in contrast have a much shorter flange focal distance so you can easily make adapters for Minolta SR lenses and they are the cameras of choice for using Minolta SR lenses.

Adapters range in price from about $10 to more than $100. My advice based on costly experimentation is to:

  • Stay away from no-name $10 adapters. You can get lucky but it is more likely that your adapter will fit with quite a bit of play and break after a year.
  • Adapters from some affordable brands like K&F cost about $20 and in my experience they are good enough for many applications. They aren’t perfect and there can be issues which I discuss in-depth in this article but most users will have a good experience with them.
  • If you own a nice collection of Minolta MC or MD lenses and plan to use them more often I would recommend you to invest a little more in a Novoflex or Rayqual adapter and get an adapter without any headaches in return but you pay more than $100 for it.

I recommend K&F because I have had a pretty good experience with them so far. So when I need another budget adapter I buy one from them. Reading the reviews on Amazon it seems that other companies like Neewer or Fotodiox make adapters of similar quality but I have no personal experience with them so K&F is what I recommend.

The right adapter for your camera

Nearly every manufacturer has a different mount so you need to make sure that your adapter fits both the camera and the lens.

Sony E-Mount

  • Typical Models: Sony a6500, a6000, a7, a7rIII or a9
  • Budget adapter: Amazon.com* | Amazon.de*
    (It says in the product description that it will only work with APS-C camera. That’s wrong. I and many others have used these adapters without issues on the a7-series)
  • Premium adapter: Amazon.com* | Amazon.de*

Fuji X-Mount

Canon EF-M

Micro-Fourthirds

FAQ

Which camera system do you recommend to use Minolta MC or MD lenses?

Since these lenses were designed for a fullframe camera they work best on a fullframe camera and I would recommend the Sony a7 series. Man lenses work well on a APS-C camera as well but I don’t think the performance on MFT is convincing.

Can my camera record any exif information on the lens?
No, it can’t. If you want exif information you have to add that manually with a tool like lenstagger.

Does my lens perform well on a digital camera?

That depends on your lens and what you want to use it for. In general I have often been surprised how well my Minoltas work on digital. For more information on many lenses check out this article.

Do I have to expose manually?
No, you don’t. On most cameras the A-Mode will work the same way it works with native lenses, you just have to change the aperture by hand which quickly becomes very intuitive. In M-mode you can use auto-ISO to get a correct exposure.

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I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

10 thoughts on “The Guide to Adapters for Minolta MC and MD lenses”

  1. For me, I vastly prefer the workflow of having one adapter per lens, so buying a $100 adapter for a $50 lens is a non-starter.

    I’ve had good luck, so far, with the $10 eBay specials.

  2. Thanks for this.
    Having purchased a deficient Canon nFD 24mm f 2.8 (mechanical plastic focusing pb) and having been impressed by the mechanical/solidity quality of Minolta lenses, I have decided to only purchase Minolta lenses with the additional benefit that these are very consistent in (nice) color rendering (I am less of a pixel sucker).
    I purchased a few K&F adapters but try to always use the same good one or a Zonghi II focal reducer. I was very tempted by a Techart AF as I am getting older but have delayed because of A6000 incompatibility and quality problems mentioned by Miranda and this site. By the way, I think the potential market for a Sony Techart type of thing is rather large as it would be attractive to old people with old lenses and to students who can’t afford recent quality lenses and/or tend to damage them by being careless. Not sure there would be cannibalisation with Sony own lenses as these are very high prices

    1. Eazypix says that the bellows 3.5/50 MD III was released in ’79 but all the others were released from ’81 as you point out and there were MD II lenses in 1980. So thanks for the correction.

      1. Small mistake in the chart i guess. The separate database says it was actually 1983 for the MD III Auto Bellows Macro 50mm F 3.5

  3. The Sony Playmemories app “Lens Compensation” sets a given name in the EXIF to a lens from a database you can build in the app. It also sets the IBIS to the correct value. It is not perfect but at least a way to get EXIF info in camera for manual lenses.

  4. I have bought the K&F adapter for my rokkor 55mm f/2 a few months ago after your recommendation, and it works fine! It indeed is a little bit too short but tolerances are very low.

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