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All about Minolta RD-175

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Michael Johansson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Michael Johansson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: All about Minolta RD-175
    Posted: 12 December 2013 at 20:10
Moderator note:
Some posts about Minolta RD-175 camera were moved from the A- and E-mount camera index thread to this new thread by rovhazman.
I find the information that was added about this historic camera very knowledgeable and useful and think it deserves a separate thread on its own


I see that the Minolta RD-175 is missing from A- and E-mount camera index. After all it is a digital SLR camera using the A-mount.

Edited by rovhazman - 31 December 2013 at 20:45
a7R I+II ~ V10mm/5.6 ~ V15mm/4.5 ~ S24-105/4 ~ S28/2,0 ~ CZ55/1,8 ~ S70-200/4 ~ S90/2.8Macro ~ M100/2,8 Soft ~ T150-600/5-6.3G2 ~ Σ180/3.5 ~ 5600HS(D) ~ HVL43AM ~ Ring+Macro TwinFlash
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 December 2013 at 07:39
Unfortunately I can longer track down the thread where this was discussed previously, but it was decided not to include it because of its severe limitations in terms of the post-KM7D world, not the least of which was the lack of ability to review shots in the field, limitations with the recording medium and a minimum aperture of f5.6.

FYI I tracked some posts down which mention some of these handicaps.

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-rd175_topic71916_post818661.html?KW=RD-175#818661

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/wts-minolta-rd175_topic76147_post873893.html?KW=RD-175#873893

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-rd175_topic71916_page1.html?KW=RD-175

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/july-abc-2013-signup_topic99480_post1188296.html?KW=RD-175#1188296

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-rd175-and-software-news_topic98797_post1178289.html?KW=RD-175#1178289

If you do an "Any date" search on "RD-175", you will see one name in many of the results, that of ffrolvaag who has resolutely stuck with his own RD-175 and both posted many shots and also used it in Dyxum competitions.



Edited by brettania - 13 December 2013 at 07:54
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Michael Johansson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 December 2013 at 08:03
I am sorry that I have not read the forum carefully enough. I thought this listing should cover all digital SLR/T cameras from Sony and Minolta using the A-mount regardless limitations in handling. A kind of retrospective complete overview of the development of Minolta and Sony digital cameras with exchangeable lenses if you like. I should have known better.

Please forgive my ignorance.
a7R I+II ~ V10mm/5.6 ~ V15mm/4.5 ~ S24-105/4 ~ S28/2,0 ~ CZ55/1,8 ~ S70-200/4 ~ S90/2.8Macro ~ M100/2,8 Soft ~ T150-600/5-6.3G2 ~ Σ180/3.5 ~ 5600HS(D) ~ HVL43AM ~ Ring+Macro TwinFlash
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 December 2013 at 08:21
It's not a matter of ignorance or otherwise. It's a matter of a decision by the administrators of Dyxum as to where the start point for digital a-mount bodies should be.

As ffrolvaag points out the original price was in the vicinity of USD$10,000 and "features" were
- The max aperture (meaning widest open) is f6.7 due to light loss of the 2x crop factor
- Static ISO800
- Fully compatible with xi series flashes (3500xi and 5400xi) including wireless control, and ratio functions.
- Recording media is a PCMCIA hard drive
- Full resolution is 1.75 mp
- Raw files are a unique since camera raw didn't exist when the camera was produced. Through the Minolta legacy software, the raw can be converted to TIFF or JPEG. At one point, Adobe supported the raw files, but that functionality has been lost for a long time in ACR.
- x-synch speed is 1/90 sec.
- it had a 0.5 fps shooting rate (that is one frame per two seconds)

They were, as I understand, primarily used tethered as studio cameras for product photography. (I saw one in use for that by a catalog photographer.) Production was very limited.

Added later: This article points out that the RD-175 was based on the Dynax 500Si rather than being a from-the-ground-up digital design.



Edited by brettania - 01 January 2014 at 00:12
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 December 2013 at 10:32
If you look over at Michael Hohner's site you will see two earlier attempts at digital - one based on the SPxi and one a digital back for the 7000/9000 AF.

These were also x2 crop - I've never heard of anyone actually using any of them though, I would imagine they were pretty expensive.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Velocina Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2013 at 07:58
I've recently purchased an RD-175 in fully working order and I think this camera IS the ancient of ALL A-mount DSLR's, so It's a sort of "shame" that it is not included in Dixum's A-mount DSLR's cameras data-base.

This is only my opinion, not a complaint....

to Brettania (and to everyone is interested in the RD-175):

- 3 CCDs are green, green and red/blue (the third one has a twin filter)
- the camera needs three different batteries: one CR2025 for internal
clock, one 2CR5 for the ex-500Si camera section (shutter,exposimeter,
built-in flash) and one BIG NP-500H rechargeable lithium battery for
the digital back. Please remember that the PCMCIA original hard drive
(Maxtor Mobile Max - 131 Mb) is rated 5V/700mA, so the most of
"digital" power drain is due to HDD spin motor...
- first version of the Minolta legacy software was released for Windows
3.1 & DOS: the second version of that software is still downloadable
here: RD-175 Sw-ver2
I've tried it and surely works on Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
- there is an undocumented function in camera manual: you can release
shutter without lens attached ( or with an adapted lens with no chip
in the adapter )following these steps:
DISABLING THE LENS MOUNT CHECK
Press and hold DRIVE/SELFTIMER and AV buttons
and move power switch from LOCK to ON. (ON appears
in LCD panel)to re-enable lens check, re-do the same thing (OFF
appears on LCD panel).
- the RD-175 requires to be connected to computer to set Date/Time to be
included in EXIF; the hardware requested is nowadays weird & obsolete:
USB was not invented at the release of the RD-175, so SCSI-2 interface
was employed (faster than serial or parallel...), but a very uncommon
connector has been choosen for the camera:50 ways Half-Pitch    
Centronics.
I've made a cable with one of these connectors on a side and a
standard SCSI-2 50 ways high-density pin male connector on the other
side: the good info I can give you is that the 5o ways Half-Pitch
Centronics connector is pin-to-pin connected as its more common "big-
brother" 50 ways normal-pitch Centronics, that is the old, standard,
SCSI-1 connector. Remember that most of the recent SCSI boards have a
68 ways connector: to ensure compatibility to the old 50 ways, nine
signal lines (upper byte and its parity) must be active-terminated
into adapter. If your SCSI board is able to supply TERMPOWER to camera
trough cables and adapter, disable TERMPOWER on camera in order to
allow extended NP-500H battery lasting life ( with terminators
activated on camera, max. 2 hours, so Minolta's indication "connect
the camera to mains adapter when in use with computer" is near to be
mandatory...).

If one wants to revive an RD-175, please remember these things:

- you can use a standard CF card in conjuction with a PCMCIA to CF
adapter to substitute the PCMCIA hard drive: it works !
The CF card can be inserted into an USB card reader and the
propertary RAW files can be readed from CF with the "DISK" option
of the software linked above and converted into TIFF or JPEG.
The TIFFs are around 5 Mb each, while original RAWs are 1,2 Mb.
An hidden file is written by the camera on CF when formatting.
I've tried to format a CF off-camera (without SCSI connection ),
but it seems impossible. The good thing is that it is possible to
"prepare" a CF to be formatted out from every non-UDMA CF.
On my personal experience,the CF must be prepared using a partitioning
software utility ( EaseUS Partition Master 9.2.2 - Free Edition is
the one I've used ): on your CF erase all existing partitions and
create a new partition FAT ( DOS FAT-16)of maximum 256 Mb, with
unit letter "A" and make this partition active. DON'T FORMAT IT !
A value around 240 -250 Mb is prudential, over thed camera
displays "E8" as error on its LCD. Note that frame counter on the
RD-175 is a 2 1/2 digit one, so the maximum value it cans display
is "199". When the CF is ready, it must be putted into PCMCIA
adapter, the two things into the Rd-175, the camera connected to
the PC and the CF formatted. Note that this procedure permits you
to use any CF you want, but only 256 Mb of it will be used.
I think every "native" CF with nominal capacity below 256 Mb can
be formatted directly into camera, connected to PC, but I've
don't tried. I'm sure that my 1 Gb Sandisk ULTRA II cannot be
directly formatted in camera (error code E8), but one partition
on it of 250 Mb cans (199 free ...).
A very good workaround to format a CF without SCSI connection is
(as suggested      Here ).
   The procedure is "restore a disk image" on a CF: the image is from
   a right formatted CF, destination is YOUR CF, so you can have
   easily a fully functional CF without connecting camera to PC via
   SCSI ! Note that the link give a 160 Mb image, if necessary I can
   supply a 256 Mb backup image or create a less capacity one (e.g.:
   128 Mb ). Every CF with free space over the one the image is
   suitable for use into the RD-175 (except UDMA ones....).
   I'm currently searching for a PCMCIA to Cf adapter suitable for
   CF Type II ( 5 mm. CF-II thickness, against 3.3 mm. type I CF ),
   to try to insert into the RD-175 both an IBM CF-Microdrive and
   an SD to Cf adapter, with a normal SD or... an EYE-fi one for
   wireless connection, but I suppose the last one will not work
   because its firmware probably search a "DCIM" folder with "JPEG"
   files....).

Last note for the braves who want to use an RD-175: the only issue due to SCSI connection unavailability is the missing of Time/Date setting
possibility (it will be recorded "randomly"): I've found that the old Sony NP-500H battery is replaceable with the much more common NP-F550.
The replacement is Info-Lithium, while the original not, but this is not an issue, the RD-175 simply don't care. You must only find a separate main adapter/charger for the NP-F550 ( I use an old Sony Mavica FD-200 to charge the battery, then I put it into the RD-175).
The 2CR5 6 Volts non-rechargeable Lithium battery is a bit expensive, so think twice before using built-in flash... ( a rechargeable 2CR5 does exist, but one must buy the relative chargher too...).
If this helps, Minolta states that "the external flashes guide number @ ISO 100 must be multiplied by a factor of 2.8" and this because both camera ISO is fixed at 800 and the camera crop factor of 2X is obtained
concentrating light by a lens group before splitting it on the 3 CCDs to rise ISO with optical amplification instead electrical one ( and thus reduce high-iso noise ): somethingh to similar to use an optical zoom instead of digital one.
I've not verified if the RD-175 requires full-frame coverage from lenses, despite its 2x crop factor, but the mirror seems to be the same of the film camera used as body and there is the real probably that the optical concentrator requires full-frame equivalent lighting coverage to avoid vignetting: there is not a Micro 4/3 sensor behind the mirror...


Finally, if there is one that owns a Minolta Vectis S1 or S100, one of the really few APS film cameras with detacheable lenses, a look around for a RD-3000 may be interesting..... ( and this is another DSLR that is unknow in Dyxum's data base, it's not an A-mount, none an E-mount, but the one-of-a-kind DSLR in V-mount...).


Please excuse me for this sort of "RD-175 review", but it is a my personal tribute to Minolta's engineers that in 1995 were capable to create a DSLR capable of results like this (JPEG converted by Minolta software, straight out the camera).




Edited by Velocina - 31 December 2013 at 12:27
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Michael Johansson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2013 at 08:49
Thankīs for a very informative posting!

I whish it had been published a few years earlier when I did own a RD-175 that I got in a bundle with some lenses I wanted. At that time I could not find much info about the camera or any software so I eventually sold the camera and kept the lenses. Today, with your info and links, it would have been nice to use it as an oldfashion curiosity.
a7R I+II ~ V10mm/5.6 ~ V15mm/4.5 ~ S24-105/4 ~ S28/2,0 ~ CZ55/1,8 ~ S70-200/4 ~ S90/2.8Macro ~ M100/2,8 Soft ~ T150-600/5-6.3G2 ~ Σ180/3.5 ~ 5600HS(D) ~ HVL43AM ~ Ring+Macro TwinFlash
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Velocina Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2013 at 11:54
Hi Michael,

I own a RD-175 by only one month. Few years ago I didn't know absolutely nothing about it.
This is the first time I try to attach a file into a post instead of an image, but if works, you can download from the bottom of this post a backup image (made with the EaseUS software I talk above ) you can use to create a CF card ready to use into your RD-175 via a PCMCIA to CF adapter, without connect the camera via SCSI to a PC.
You have only to make a "Recover" of "Disk or partition" with the option "Sector by sector" of this 4,81 Mb file on a CF of almost 256 Mb.
Please be sure to do the recover ON THE CF, NOT ON YOUR SYSTEM DISK !
ALL DATA ON DESTINATION DISK WILL BE OVERWRITED !
If the procedure is done correctly, the RD-175 recognignes the CF as formatted by itself, 199 pictures to take (that is the maximum storage capacity allowed by the firmware/hardware of the camera).
Please refer to the tutorial linked in my previous post and..... tell us if works for your camera too !

https://skydrive.live.com/embed?cid=BEED7394ED353830&resid=BEED7394ED353830%21435&authkey=ANtpfjyee2WzNW4" width="98" height="120" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"

(Double-click on the link, then double-click on the file icon: you are in a my shared folder: right click on the RD_175_256_Mb.PBD file and download it on your PC )

Edited by Velocina - 31 December 2013 at 12:05
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rovhazman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2013 at 20:52
Since I find the discussion about Minolta RD-175 very interesting, informative and knowledgeable, I think it deserves a thread of its own.
Therefore I moved the posts about it from the cameras index to a new specific thread.

Thank you Luca for all the info!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2014 at 00:06
Well done Shay. I was about to suggest this to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2016 at 10:09
I recently bought an RD-175, which looks to be in near-perfect condition but I am having trouble getting the digital side of the camera to work.

I wonder if anyone can help?

I don't have a SCSI cable or card in my PC so I have gone down the route of formatting a CF card and placing it in a PCMCIA adapter. I have copied, using the Easus Todo Backup software, an image of the formatted Minolta PCMCIA card (linked to at the Camera Collector's blog referenced by Velocina above) to the CF card, sector by sector. I did this on a Windows 10 machine, but the disk is formatted as FAT (not FAT-32). The CF card is a Sandisk Extreme III 2.0GB. There is no mention of UDMA on the label.

When I put this card into the camera and switch it on, the LCD shows two charged batteries and then stops, displaying '- -' and P (for Program mode). The camera will autofocus, set exposure and set the WB when the shutter button is half-pressed, but it does not fire when fully pressed.

So near yet so far!

I will try Velocina's other card image, but is there anything else I should try in the absence of SCSI connectors etc?

(BTW, the camera came with a 130MB PCMCIA card, and when that is used after switching on it shows a rotating 'o' symbol and then stops with the message 'Er'.)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2016 at 20:50
Update: problem solved! Velocina's disk image did the job - thanks very much!

Now to take some photos!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2016 at 21:52
Just one to conclude this:


Sample RD-175 photo by Howard Stanbury, on Flickr

0.5 s / f/6.7 / ISO 800 handheld
Minolta AF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom

RAW MDC file converted in RD-175 Grabber on an XP PC to make a TIFF file

Corrections in Lightroom, including noise reduction and removal of hot or dead pixels

This file is 1528x1146 px; files read by Picasa are 1534x986 px and probably unadjusted for colour balance.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2016 at 01:24
This little Minolta saved me on a job once. I'd rented the camera to play around and enter the digital age. Job was shot on film but I recorded everything twice to make comparisons.

As it turned out, the photo lab botched the film. Ruined everything, and I was in deep trouble because the job could not be done again... Yearly Corporate Policy Seminar for AT&T. We needed a 5x7 head shot for everyone attending from all over the country. Impossible to bring them back for a photo shoot.

Freaking out, I discovered that the RD-175 could produce a very decent 5x7 print from Kodak Dye Sublimation.

I delivered to client without saying a word about the lost film. They were thrilled and never knew the difference.

I turned to digital photography as soon as I could after that, incorporating it into any job that it could satisfy.
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