Can older lenses compete with new ones? What can older Minolta lenses offer? What is a SAM engine and how does it work?

It is no secret that I am a Sony user, and more specifically Sony a68. There are two types of system lenses available in this family – Sony, of course, but also older Minolta. Can older models be better than new ones? What can surprise us old Minolta? I will describe this by example of cheaper MAF and Sony SAM lenses.

Minolta AF

fot. Mark Schellhase/wikipedia.org

fot. Mark Schellhase/wikipedia.org

There are many Minolta AF lenses with A mount that Sony uses on the market. The simplest and least expensive lenses do not have any other markings. The more expensive telephoto (for more demanding users) are also marked HS , ie high speed – faster focus. MAFy, even in the HS version, sharpen the so-called. Screwdriver , or motor in the camera. Each Sony DSLR or SLT camera comes with a screwdriver, so you can use older lenses freely. Its performance depends largely on the camera – DSLRs usually work slower, but quite decent, plus the weight of the lens itself – the heavier the model will usually sharpen more slowly. In theory, lenses also make noise, producing quite characteristic, but relatively low sound.

Sony SAM

fot. E. Herrera/wikipedia.org

fot. E. Herrera/wikipedia.org

Most of the new Sony lenses are equipped with a SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) engine , which focuses on focusing. These are cheap motors that, in theory, are designed to streamline work, improve sharpening speed and also work quietly. So far I have had two SAM lenses – kit 18-50 and 85mm F2.8. The other is still in my backpack (by the way, I refer to the entry with 4 lenses, which should always be with you). In the theory of SAM lenses are really successful constructions. Good shells, new lenses, better resolution, much better autofocus. But I had the opportunity to spend some time with these lenses, and I say that while the optical properties are really very good, so the quality and sharpness leave much to be desired. The housing of the lenses is made of plastic, which is easy to draw, and at the fall it can leave little. However, this would be an experience if not for the SAM engine. This improvement turned out to be a step backwards – the engine can and is quieter, but the sound that it feels is very annoying. Sounds more or less like a slow RC car. This sound is very distinctive and it is impossible not to pay attention to it. SAM lenses are also blasting more slowly than MAFs, or at least the two I have – 28 F2.8 and 50 F1.7. Although you have to admit that the blade is more accurate.

Better enemy of good?

Sony's improvements have, in theory, improved comfort and speed. It turned out that it did not work well, because in addition to the more reliable AF, we also get a slower and more irritating sharpening system compared to older structures. In addition, lenses equipped with a SAM engine are made worse than the old and proven MAFs , which are fully metal and armored. The Sony SAM has one undeniable advantage – they are better optically. I had in my hands a few different lenses, system and systemless, newer and older and older lenses are usually more soaps . Even a kit lens on the so-called. The full hole offered decent sharpness. Cheaper MAFs do not offer this. It is hard to say clearly which lenses are better. Minolta has their own distinctive bokeh and colors, but the SAMs are newer, better work under light and usually sharper. But I am a fan of Minolta glasses and definitely more often it is these glasses I use. How is it?