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Lens ROM data

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Post Options Post Options   Quote crazyplato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2006 at 15:55
Originally posted by vasimv vasimv wrote:


Btw, 70-210/4 has "MACRO" on its body. Of course, not real macro but still...


Exactly. When the 70-210 f/4 is set to 210mm (Macro) then this bit is set. The same applies for the Minolta 17-70 DT (D).
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote vasimv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2006 at 17:15
Originally posted by crazyplato crazyplato wrote:


10   | 0xXX        | Manual Focus (bit 8) and ????


Bit 7 (0x40) turns camera to MF too. Unfortunally, this disables autofocus confirmation. Same as bit 8. :(
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2006 at 23:23
Originally posted by vasimv vasimv wrote:

What program are you using to view exif tag with the lens id? My infranview doesn't show that tag. :(

I did not use them myself so far (I don't own any DSLR - still waiting for the "Alpha 9D" ;-), but other forum members use "Exif-Viewer" and "ExifTool".


Oh, there is THAT converter? I guess, it is too rare to get my hands on it... :( Nikon lenses on Minolta would nice to try.

Yeah, there were actually two variants, one for Minolta MF lenses (MD-MA) and the other for Nikon lenses (AI-MA). Both mount onto Minolta AF bodies. I have both variants and sometimes use them with my Minolta 9000 AF. They really work. ;-) I particularly like the fact, that you can auto-focus manual focus lenses. And without turning any AF/MF switches, you can always override the camera just by using a lenses' focusing ring. Unfortunately, Sigma produced them only for a very short period of time at the end of the Eighties. From the serial numbers of the samples I have I assume no more than 1000 of them were made.

Trivia: At some point in the same time frame, Kyocera Yashica introduced the first of their own short-lived series of AF SLRs, the Yashica 230 AF. At first sight, the 230 AF looked like a resemblance of the Minolta 7000 AF with some improvements. Interestingly, they called their lens mount "MA" (Sigma called it Y-AF) and provided a Yashica AF Converter 1.6x (very similar to Sigma's earlier solution) to mount Carl Zeiss / Contax T* (AE/MM) and Yashica ML (aka Y/C) manual focus lenses onto their new AF bodies. It was even smaller than the Sigma item. And where the Sigma converter had a small lever, where you had to dial-in the maximum aperture of the attached lens before using it, the Kyocera adapter even had some means to mechanically sense this information from the attached lens itself. I was always fascinated by the idea of mounting Contax glass on Minolta AF bodies, so I bought this converter when Kyocera stopped making them, just to have a closer look at the mount. Astonishingly, the Kyocera "MA" mount looks almost identical to the Minolta "A" mount at first sight... ;-) You cannot directly exchange lenses, but I'm sure the mount could be tooled to make it fit mechanically (without aperture lever). The "MA" mount has the same outer dimensions, the collar is three-part and of almost the same size, the rotating angle is the same, it has a mechanical aperture mechanism (same angle of movement as with Minolta), it has 5 lens contacts at about the same position, you can even swap the rear lens caps (with some force, though). However, the aperture mechanism is located at a different location in the mount (in the bottom, not on the side). So far, I was unable to find even the slightest information on the camera register / flange back distance of that "MA" mount, but in conjunction with the converter's built-in autofocus system it is not really that imported as it would be when trying to directly mount Kyocera Yashica "MA" lenses onto Minolta AF bodies. Still, there are so many similarities, that I continue to assume up to the present, that either Kyocera tried to closely resemble the Minolta "A" mount simply for the utilization of synergy effects or that Minolta might have licensed the whole AF technology from Yashica originally (knowing that Yashica had demonstrated a body-integrated phase-detection passive autofocus SLR prototype at photokina 1982 years before Minolta came up with the 7000 AF). However, I never found any proof for this little "theory", yet. ;-)
For a mechanically skilled person (and possibly with the ROM data knowledge we might gather in the near future) it might be possible to modify that old Kyocera converter to mount Contax lenses onto Minolta AF bodies.
Irony has it, that now, after (Konica) Minolta's withdrawl from photo business, we can use some new Zeiss glass on Minolta AF bodies even without a converter. ;-)
Anyway, I still love that converter idea just for the sake of itself. :-)

http://www.minolta-forum.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=7435&view=findpost&p=86115
http://www.minolta-forum.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=7511&view=findpost&p=87456
http://www.minolta-forum.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=7804&view=findpost&p=92347
http://www.minolta-forum.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=11830&view=findpost&p=139673


You have advanced much more but i can't read german. Could you translate your about flash protocol into english, please?

I only fully decoded the original protocol between the Minolta 9000 AF and the Program Flash 4000 AF and related gear, including all cabling and adapter options. However, the good news is that until SLRs stopped supporting at least "some kind of TTL-OTF", the flash protocol was upward and downward compatible, so you could use a Program Flash 5600 HS(D) on the 9000 AF (or even earlier models) and a Program Flash 4000 AF on the latest film bodies (except for those few odd birds, which don't support TTL-OTF any more, such as the Dynax 3L/Maxxum 3/Maxxum GT and Dynax 30/Dynax 40/Maxxum 50).
Unfortuntely, I lost my original notes with the timing diagrams (after all it's almost 20 years ago, when I did this ;-), so all I could provide is the meaning of the decoded data packets. Of course, at that time, there was no P-TTL and no wireless, so the protocol is only a subset of what it is now. But as old as the info is, it seems to be accurate enough to still help understand and nail down quite a few compatibility issues we found with modern SLRs and flashes up to the present. As here and in other forums, flash compatibility problems and related oddities are a frequent topic also at Minolta-Forum.de. There are literally hundreds of articles dealing with one or another facette of the flash system from the XD-7 up to the A100 on various detail levels and with varying perspectives. It would fill a whole book to compile all this stuff into "one comprehensive flash system view" - but isn't Gary Friedman working on something like this? Or is he only going to address the DSLR world?

I will try to compile some basic info on the original AF flash data packets and hope you will be able to extend this to the more recent protocol variants. :-)

Greetings,

Matthias

Edited by matthiaspaul - 11 September 2006 at 20:58
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PhotoTraveler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2006 at 05:15
Hey, great work.

Now, I have a wild card to throw in. Before me I have a "freak lens" it's a fix focus, fix aperture, 50mm lens. It's ROM'd. The manufacture is un-known, but it most definitely seams to be minolta in origin. Some internal lens only. But it has numbers on it.


"No. 424" and "2072-0006-75"

Now, the 424 is probably just the model or normal identification.   0006 may be a Series number (6th made), but in the context of what you are doing, the 2072 gets interesting.   

You have 2672 as a mystery number. Now one digit is different, but hey, it's close. And I would assume if it was minolta made, it would have a number in this list, even if for internal use only. The camera knows what it is enough to tell me it's a 50mm. So data is being transmitted.

So, there are lenses out there made by Minolta, with ROMs, we just never saw.

The 28-70 one is probably the SSM model.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2006 at 10:09
Originally posted by PhotoTraveler PhotoTraveler wrote:

Now, I have a wild card to throw in. Before me I have a "freak lens" it's a fix focus, fix aperture, 50mm lens. It's ROM'd. The manufacture is un-known, but it most definitely seams to be minolta in origin. Some internal lens only.

What makes you believe it originated at Minolta? Can you provide a photo of the lens?

But it has numbers on it.

"No. 424" and "2072-0006-75"

Hm, Minolta's article codes usually were like this:

- "Flash Socket Adapter FS-1100" (8825-670, 43325-73575-2)
- "Flash Socket Adapter FS-1200" (8825-680, 43325-73576-9)
- "Flash Socket Adapter FS-PC" (?) (a custom variant of the FS-1100 made by Minolta service)
- "PC-Terminal Adapter PCT-100" (8825-691)
- "Off-camera Shoe OS" (8808-110, 43325-73509-7) (NB. Michael Hohner erroneously calls it "OS-1000". There never was a part of that name.)
- "Off-camera Shoe OS-1100" (8825-610, 43325-73577-6)
-"Off-camera Cable OC" (8808-100, 43325-73508-0) (NB. Michael Hohner erroneously calls it "OC-1000". There never was a part of that name.)
- "Off-camera Cable OC-1100" (8825-600, 43325-73578-3)
- "Triple Connector" (8808-120) (for PX flashes only!) (NB. Michael Hohner erroneously calls it "TC". There never was a part of that name.)
- "Triple Connector TC-1000" (8821-120, 43325-73507-3) (for AF flashes only!) (easily to be mixed up with 8808-120, which looks identical from outside except for the missing "TC-1000" labelling, while it is a completely different beast internally.)
- "Extension Cable EX" (8808-130, 43325-73511-0)
- "Cable CD" (8808-140, 43325-73510-3)
- "Synchro Cord III" (8034-910)

or

- "Minolta α-7 Limited" (2162-091) black SLR limited model for China, serial number 8 digits, film data 18 rolls, 5 languages
- "Minolta α-7 (Chinese Navigation Model)" (2162-092) black SLR model for China, serial number 8 digits, film data 18 rolls, 3 languages
- "Minolta Dynax 7 Limited" (2162-250) black SLR limited model for Europe, serial number 4 digits, film data 18 rolls, 5 languages
- "Minolta Dynax 7" (2162-291) black SLR model for Europe, serial number 8 digits, film data 7 rolls, 5 languages
- "Minolta Maxxum 7" (2162-490) black SLR model for USA, serial number 8 digits, film data 7 rolls, 5 languages
- "Minolta α-7" (2162-600) black SLR model für Japan etc., serial number 8 digits, film data 7 rolls, 5 languages
- "Minolta α-7 Limited" (2162-650) black SLR limited model for Japan, serial number 4 digits, film data 18 rolls, 5 languages
(NB. In case you compare this list with Michael Hohner's body table, you will find his table to differ slightly. Unfortunately, he insisted on introducing his own naming schemes ("model II") here as well and thereby mixed up some models. I was unable to convince him to correct this, hence this comment. ;-) The info above is compiled from the service manual of the cameras, that is, first-hands accurate information of "official nature.")

That is, the 4-digit article code, which appears to resemble some Minolta internal project code, is followed by a hyphen and a 3-digit number specifying the actual model variant. Knowing the variant is sometimes important (see the examples above), but sometimes they are rather irrelevant as they only indicate a different packaging or kit set.
Sometimes (only with service parts, not in the examples above), this 3-digit number is followed by another hyphen and 1- or 2-digit number, which indicates an internal revision number of that particular part (which sometimes is important to know in service). I have not seen these revision codes in public documentation, though.

The other number (where known) is the international bar code found on the packaging (f.e. 43325 was the ID for "Minolta").

Serialnumbers are either 4-digits, 6-digit oder 8-digits without hyphen or other signs . They follow their own system (which we haven't fully decoded so far).

So, your code does not seem to match this Minolta coding scheme.

The camera knows what it is enough to tell me it's a 50mm. So data is being transmitted.

So, there are lenses out there made by Minolta, with ROMs, we just never saw.

The 28-70 one is probably the SSM model.

A fixed focus lens with Minolta AF mount? I would have guessed it to be either a fisheye or ultra-wide lens or a bellows head lens for macro work on an auto bellows. 50mm would make sense for that kind of breed. For example to be mounted on a bellows such as the Novoflex BALMIN-AF. Reading out the ROM data of this lens would be very useful in the context of this project! (See my BALMIN-AF comment in my yesterday's post.)

Fixed aperture? That would make sense only for special applications such as in industrial / scientific use.

Hm, in case it really is a Minolta lens, possibly it's some kind of body adjustment lens for Minolta service?

Greetings,

Matthias

Edited by matthiaspaul - 09 September 2006 at 22:34
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2006 at 13:08
Originally posted by matthiaspaul matthiaspaul wrote:

Originally posted by PhotoTraveler PhotoTraveler wrote:


But it has numbers on it.

"No. 424" and "2072-0006-75"


Originally posted by matthiaspaul matthiaspaul wrote:


So, your code does not seem to match this Minolta coding scheme.

But as usual, there are exceptions (and service parts are among them). ;-)
Originally posted by matthiaspaul matthiaspaul wrote:



The camera knows what it is enough to tell me it's a 50mm. So data is being transmitted.

So, there are lenses out there made by Minolta, with ROMs, we just never saw.

Fixed aperture? That would make sense only for special applications such as in industrial / scientific use.

Hm, in case it really is a Minolta lens, possibly it's some kind of body adjustment lens for Minolta service?

Some additional notes:

2072 is the code number of the Minolta 7000 AF.

So, parts used for repair or service of that particular camera often start with 2072-xxxx-yy. Just one handy example I found a couple of minutes ago in my notes:

"Focusing screen Type 70 G" (2072-5805-02) GENERAL FRESNEL LENS

So, it could actually be an (AF?) adjustment lens used for service. I will have to check the 7000 AF service manual (but won't have time for it in the next couple of days)...

Besides, this means we must also collect other Minolta article codes and remove those assigned to other photo gear like bodies, flashes, adapters, etc. from the list of gaps above (in case there would be any in the 25xx or 26xx range).

Using the above mentioned ExifTool or Exif-Viewer to read out the EXIF data of photos shot with this lens would be really helpful here, I think.

Greetings,

Matthias

Edited by matthiaspaul - 09 September 2006 at 15:30
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2006 at 18:11
Originally posted by vasimv vasimv wrote:

Originally posted by crazyplato crazyplato wrote:


10   | 0xXX        | Manual Focus (bit 8) and ????


Bit 7 (0x40) turns camera to MF too. Unfortunally, this disables autofocus confirmation. Same as bit 8. :(

Unfortunately, this is the case even with the Minolta AF 2.8/135 [T4,5] Smooth Trans Focus lens. The camera operates in manual focus mode, no matter of the AF/MF switch. The focus indicators remain off. Really annoying, that Minolta completely missed that opportunity (in contrast to Pentax and Nikon) and did not even provide split focusing screens with microprism collars for their recent cameras. :-( I tested the STF on the following bodies: Minolta 9000 AF, Minolta Dynax 9xi, Minolta Dynax 9 (with and without SSM/ADI-upgrade), Minolta Dynax 9Ti (with and without SSM/ADI-upgrade), and Minolta Dynax 7.

Still, noone keeps Sony from enabling this feature on future bodies (if we make some noise)...

In either case, it still makes sense to set the bits correctly for other reasons:

On the Dynax 9xi (and other bodies) it is a real pain that the camera tries to mechanically "reset" a "ROM lens" whenever the body is switched on or a new lens is attached (while the body is on). Using the Novoflex BALMIN-AF auto bellows with the 9xi, you will have to frequently press the AF/MF switch in order to "once again" set the camera back to MF. Otherwise, the camera will rotate the AF spindle and make ugly noises. However, telling the camera the lens is MF only, it would even decouple its AF spindle by itself. Some kind of translation ROM (or controller) could fix this problem - it would just have to pass through all other lens data except for the MF bit, which it would have to force to on by itself. Easy solution.

Greetings,

Matthias
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PhotoTraveler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2006 at 20:58
Matt,

thanks for that info, I didn't know that about the Minolta 7000.

I bought this thing off ebay. Was a thread a while back on it. I have believed it's is for a service center calibration. It's focus'd at 2meters.

To the earlier poster, I'm pretty darn sure it's Minolta. It has no name. Which would be very strange for a 3rd party lens. And the fact it has a rom tells me it isn't just any no name group making it.

Also comparing it to my minolta gear, it looks very very minolta made. I've convinced myself the optics are from the MD 1.7, not the AF 1.7. It's built like a tank and has a grip on it that is the same still as the MD lenses had. Being minolta made is the only way it makes any sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote vasimv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 00:10
Originally posted by PhotoTraveler PhotoTraveler wrote:


I bought this thing off ebay. Was a thread a while back on it. I have believed it's is for a service center calibration. It's focus'd at 2meters.


It has focus confirmation (when you place an object at its focus distance)? Long autofocus screwdriver rotation at startup?

Edited by vasimv - 10 September 2006 at 00:19
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PhotoTraveler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 01:06
Originally posted by vasimv vasimv wrote:

Originally posted by PhotoTraveler PhotoTraveler wrote:


I bought this thing off ebay. Was a thread a while back on it. I have believed it's is for a service center calibration. It's focus'd at 2meters.


It has focus confirmation (when you place an object at its focus distance)? Long autofocus screwdriver rotation at startup?


Yes to focus conformation, yes to long screw drive time.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dalibor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 10:31
Hello,
let my add my two cents to this very interesting thread.
I have started to collect Lens IDs two years ago when I have bought my first 7D. The purpose was to display the name of the lens in my Dalifer software, which is the utility for decoding the MakerNote contents.
Dalifer provides you with the most detailed Exif/MakerNote information from all software. And the lite version is free.
See http://www.dalibor.cz/minolta/dalifer.htm
The version available for download is rather old, but I can provide you with a beta version which does have all known LensIDs built-in.

I am very glad that someone is interested in this stuff as well, so we can compare our results.

I can see three different groups of LensIDs:
0-127   = new Minolta lenses
128-141 = Cosina/Voigtlander lenses
>25501 = old Minolta + new Sony lenses
>45711 = Vivitar lenses

In my opinion it makes no sense to study the LensIDs of Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses. Those seem to be randomly chosen and they overlap with Minoltas and with each other as well. I think that Cosina/Voigtlander and Vivitar have paid license fees to Minolta and they got its ID range assigned. The others probably didn't want to pay and they use the LensIDs as they want without any logic.
But this leads to a conclusion that the camera firmware either does believe the LensID when fine-tuning the ADI and AntiShake and therefore not work proerly with non-Minolta lenses. Or, as the IDs are not unique, the LensID is not used at all.
What do you think about it?

I would like to point out one interesting LensID, which is 25858. This is the only ID I know so far which does not follow the xxxx1 pattern. This is Minolta 35-105 f3.5-4.5 (new). I thought that the last digit could be a revision number of the lens, but I have not seen the photo with ID 25851 and the other old/new/RS lenses do not use this pattern anyway.

The Michael Hohner's list is a very good piece of work. Just do not expect that every lens listed there has its own ID. Some variants of the lens Michael lists use the same ID (for example 50/2.8 Macro = 50/2.8 Macro RS). And some of the lenses might have two different IDs (for example 85/1.4 RS G and 35-105/3.5-4.5 (Macro) and 35-80/4-5.6 II). But definitely Michael's list is the best refference table and I would suggest to use his naming convention for the lenses.

I was not aware that there is a quest for a LensID database in minolta-forum.de as I do not visit this forum regularly as I do not feel comfortable reading in German, but I am very glad that it is there. I would welcome if we could start such thread here at Dyxum in English and use Matthias as a inter-forum-ambassador. :-)

BTW here is my wish-list for a pictures taken with particular lens, which I would need to make my database complete.

20/2.8 (RS = with rubber focusing grip)
85/1.4 G (D) Limited (longer version)
200/4 Macro APO G
300/2.8 APO G (D) SSM
600/4 HS-APO G

24-50/4 (RS = with rubber focusing grip)
28-80/4-5.6 xi (Macro)
28-85/3.5-4.5 (RS = with rubber focusing grip)
35-80/4-5.6 (II = 49mm thread)
35-105/3.5-4.5 (Macro)
70-210/4.5-5.6 (II = without focus hold button)
100-300/4.5-5.6 APO (the older version with smooth focusing ring)

any lens with/without teleconverter Minolta 1.4x APO (D)
any lens with/without teleconverter Minolta 1.4x APO original
any lens with/without teleconverter Minolta 2x APO original

any Cosina lens
any Vivitar lens
any Voightlander lens
any Opteka lens


Regards,
Dalibor
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 16:30
Originally posted by dalibor dalibor wrote:


I am very glad that someone is interested in this stuff as well, so we can compare our results.

Glad to see you here as well. :-)

In my opinion it makes no sense to study the LensIDs of Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses. Those seem to be randomly chosen and they overlap with Minoltas and with each other as well.

Well, for that very reason, I think it is very important to collect data of these lenses. ;-) After all, Dalifer or any other software trying to use the lens ID in order to lookup the actual lens name could be easily extended to not only take into account the lens ID itself, but use the whole ROM contents minus variable data (or a hash code of it, or some specific parameters, such as focal length and max. aperture) as a table key in order to distinguish between all those lenses using the same ID.

Also, there are uncountable old Sigma lenses out there which will refuse to work on newer Minolta bodies. If we could identify the cause of trouble to be a faulty lens ID (or other missing or faulty parameters), we're now almost at the point, where we could start fixing, what Sigma should have fixed in the first place: Provide new compatible ROM data for old lenses.

Knowing the lens ID and possibly all the other ROM data will also be helpful when trying to track down P-TTL flash compatibility problems with DSLRs. If a body would put more trust in the lens ID than into the other parameters, having correct data may also become important for optimal AS/SSS performance.

However, since there are many different variants of Sigma lenses, we have to be very specific about all the labelling (not just focal length and aperture), the serial number (all digits are important without the last two digits), and if the lens was rechipped at Sigma service in order to fix compatibility problems (5 cases: 1st owner - not rechipped, 1st owner - rechipped, 2nd owner - don't know if rechipped or not, 2nd owner - definitely not rechipped, 2nd owner - definitely rechipped), and if yes, even when it was rechipped (I know of several cases, where several different chip upgrades for a particular lens have been developed by Sigma when new bodies with new problems came out).
It may look confusing at first, but if we are accurate I'm sure we will collect enough data to see some patterns someday, and from those patterns we can derive knowledge on the causes of problems and then provide fixes. So please, don't leave out those 3rd party lenses. ;-)

I think that Cosina/Voigtländer and Vivitar have paid license fees to Minolta and they got its ID range assigned.

That's quite possible. However, I think I have seen photos of Tokina (or Tamron?) lenses which had a small "(c) Minolta 19xx" sticker on the inside of the rear lens mount - clearly showing that they licensed some ROMs as well.

You will, however, never find such stickers on Sigma lenses. A couple of years back I talked to Sigma staff and they told me they would - by company principle - not pay license fees in order to remain independent of any other manufacturer, therefore they would have to reverse-engineer the protocols and data. While I can understand that they are proud of their independancy and what they can achieve this way, I'm not so sure, they are doing a favour to all their customers, if - under these circumstances - they don't get it right right from the start or at least provide ROM updates also for the old lenses...

But putting personal opinions on this aside, these Sigma lenses are in the wild, in huge quantities, and I think, if we can do anything to make them compatible again, we should try. The more lenses are available, the more attractive our mount will become again in the future. Also, some (definitely not all) Sigma lenses are outstanding performers and fill gaps in the official system chart - a pity, if they could not be used on modern bodies...

The others probably didn't want to pay and they use the LensIDs as they want without any logic.

Hm, even if they are "false" by what the modern bodies might expect, there is definitely "some logic" behind them. They are not random. Understanding the logic may bring us forward quite a bit (and possibly Sony too, in case, they would care to make new bodies more compatible with 3rd party lenses).

But this leads to a conclusion that the camera firmware either does believe the LensID when fine-tuning the ADI and AntiShake and therefore not work proerly with non-Minolta lenses. Or, as the IDs are not unique, the LensID is not used at all.
What do you think about it?

I don't know, but I assume, that both is true to some extent.

From my background as a developer of operating systems, I can tell you, that this is not a new problem at all. ;-) Just as application software contains special cases for different versions of an operating system (which could be seen as ID-ing the OS by some kind of more or less complex version check), operating systems contain special cases for wide-spread applications in order to let them run smooth, although they are hard-wired to work with one particular version only or try to take advantage of undocumented functions or tricky sideeffects of documented functions, which are not officially supported or may even conflict with future enhancements of the system. In such cases, the operating system "monitors" the application and tries to detect a specific "behaviour pattern" of an application, which was found to be unique for it during testing, and then some API functions will change their behaviour in order to let this particular application run without changing the general specs for the other applications. Sometimes, these carefully engineered "hacks" will go to such extremes as to scan through one application's code and insert patches into its code. Operating systems such as MS-DOS/PC DOS, DR-DOS, OS/2 and Windows have hundreds of such quirks for special applications. It's not the fine arts of coding, but it makes pieces work together which would otherwise refuse to run.

Of course, in an ideal world, this would not be necessary. The original API specs would be comprehensive enough to be correct and complete forever or at least there would be no compatibility issues between version numbers. And all applications would behave well - no bugs. ;-) Reality, however, shows, that this is not possible, in particularly not, if it's a very complex, modular and highly flexible system with components put together from all over our planet, and party A and party B not talking to each other.

At a much lower level of complexity, the same happens with camera vendors and third party lens or flash vendors. Hypothetical scenario: Camera vendors A introduces a new camera, and lens vendor B wants to market a compatible lens. For some reasons, their engineering cannot use official specs, so they have to reverse-engineer from a couple of samples they bought, hoping it will be representive enough to understand how it works. Once it works and they think they have understood what's necessary, they will sell the lens. Now, the camera vendor wants to add a new feature (say predictive AF) and thereby makes use of previously unused ROM data. Suddenly the third party lenses stop working, as they do not contain the correct information for these fields (their engineering could not figure it out so far, because, when the lens was developed, no camera used that data). Now, I think, a good camera manufacturer, who cares for its customers, would test its bodies also with a wide assortment of 3rd party lenses and implement some fall-back system for otherwise incompatible lenses. Say, "if datum X is not present in the ROM (or does not make sense), we will either extrapolate the value from other values (if possible) or dynamically switch off the new feature (predictive AF in this example) and use the older somewhat slower but compatible AF method." And a good 3rd party lens manufacturer would make their new lenses compatible as soon as possible, and provide chip upgrades to old customers (at least for a charge). Unfortunately, neither Minolta nor Sigma were too "good" in this respect... ;-> I really see them both at fault here. Harming their customers will harm the attractiveness of the system as a whole and consequently harm new sales. Sigma is still alive, Minolta has gone...
At some stage in the development of DSLRs, perhaps, (Konica) Minolta realized, that they would have to add a massive amount of new lens data which simply is not present in old lenses, e.g. data about optical recipe, lens coating, color transmission, vignetting, if its full-frame or DT, if the lens can be shifted, if only the center area is sharp enough on a full-frame sensor, how much sensor movement is possible, etc. Even 45 bytes do not seem to be enough data to fully describe all potentially interesting aspects of a lens to a DSLR. If they wanted to make old lenses compatible, they would have to detect their lenses somehow and look up the extra data in an internal database. Ideally, it would be implemented in such a way, that new lenses do contain the extra data (somewhere, where we haven't found it so far) and the camera makes use of this extra data when present, but falls back to its own internal database, if the extra data is not present. This way, future lenses could also be used on old DSLRs for which no firmware updates will be brought forward any more, while new DSLRs will also work with old lenses not including the data. (And film bodies don't have problems at all, as they don't need any of the extra data.) Or in case of 3rd party lenses, they could - at least theoretically - add replacement data for false or missing data of those lenses to their database as well, and thereby make them compatible again. Perhaps, that's what they did and used the lens ID as a key, still ignoring, that many 3rd party lenses use the same IDs - hence the flash problems with 3rd party lenses? Instead, they should then have use all the fixed ROM data as a key for table lookup. In either case, even if they would not add 3rd party lens data to the firmware, they should implement a staggered fall-back system, so that you can use the old lens at least to that degree to which they worked with previous bodies.

I would like to point out one interesting LensID, which is 25858. This is the only ID I know so far which does not follow the xxxx1 pattern. This is Minolta 35-105 f3.5-4.5 (new). I thought that the last digit could be a revision number of the lens, but I have not seen the photo with ID 25851 and the other old/new/RS lenses do not use this pattern anyway.

Wild guess: As I wrote further up in this thread, I could also imagine, the 5th digit could be some kind of manufacturers or licensee ID, "1" for Minolta, "8" for someone else? A target market? "Maxxum AF" or just "AF"? I have no idea, but I'm sure, we will find out as we gather more data.

One more aspect on this: In the above mentioned "LensTable.xml", (ignoring the codes < 256) we could only find 4-digit codes in the range 25xx and 26xx (mostly corresponding with Minolta project/article codes). However, in the EXIF data, these 4-digit codes correspond with 5-digit codes, whereby the first 4 digits are identical. Doesn't this imply, that any software using the XML file as a reference will simply strip off the 5th digit in the code coming from the EXIF, and then lookup the code in a table based on the XML file info? If this 5th digit is not coming from elsewhere, it would indicate, that whatever the 5th digit actually is (x=0..9), it will always be a lens matching the generic description of focal length range and open aperture as found in the XML file. This would lead to a decoding scheme, where software like Dalifer could give very specific info about a particular lens if all 5 digits match, but if it could not be found, it would simply strip off the 5th digit and try to find a match in the more generic 4-digit lens table. It would also narrow down the possible explanations, what this 5th digit actually stands for. What do you think?

BTW. So far we have only seen one variant of the Minolta AF 4/35-70. However, some while back over at http://www.mi-fo.de, there was a discussion about some 4/35-70mm samples to show compatibility problems on the Dynax 7D, while others don't. We didn't solved that issue, but we found out that there were at least two different ROM chips. I will try to track this down again in order to find out, if these samples reported different lens IDs or not. Perhaps, even Minolta/Sony does not know all the IDs any more, they might have used in 0-batches or such?

The Michael Hohner's list is a very good piece of work. Just do not expect that every lens listed there has its own ID. Some variants of the lens Michael lists use the same ID (for example 50/2.8 Macro = 50/2.8 Macro RS). And some of the lenses might have two different IDs (for example 85/1.4 RS G and 35-105/3.5-4.5 (Macro) and 35-80/4-5.6 II). But definitely Michael's list is the best refference table and I would suggest to use his naming convention for the lenses.

I hope my constructive criticism of Michael's database did not cause any confusion - I was in no way bashing his work. I fully with agree with you, that it's a really great piece of work (and the best such publically available reference I am currently aware of). Also, Michael, who is one of our members in Minolta-Forum, has already agreed on adding lens IDs in the future, if they come from a reliable source. However, I still wished his table would be even more comprehensive (several columns have been added by urging of Minolta-Forum members, but there's still much more, that has been collected in our forum and could be added - often the data is readily available already for many models). Unfortunately, he sometimes is quite reluctant to add new or even correct false data, even if pointing him to first-hand information. ;-> What I don't like is the fact, that he invents (and continues to maintain) own naming schemes/conventions (OC-1000, OS-1000, TC, Dynax 7 model II, combined flash modes etc.) and thereby sometimes mixes up things (see my comments further up), which causes quite some confusion and frustration among people of similarly profound knowledge of the system, because some of the misleading information has already raised wrong assumptions in newbies... At least, when introducing new names for established ones, he should clearly say so, while also stating the offical name (or full article code) for reference. The problem with his somewhat relaxed approach is, that, after a while, we are no longer able to track down the actual source of a piece of information (hen vs. egg problem), and even the faulty bits becomes "true" as they are cited everywhere in the net. Another point is, that his database focuses on original Minolta gear, only. But, maybe, he would be willing to extend his work to include 3rd party items as well, possibly not as comprehensive as with his existing work, but still... At least, my mind's "system view" includes anything, that is (or once was) compatible, not just what's labelled "Minolta." So, unless Michael "opens up" a bit in this respect, I would prefer an independent reference database as a final solution. But still, Michael's site is a very good place to start with and I fully support it, that we report to him, whatever we find out. But we should also report it here (or in Minolta-Forum) so we can track things and give others a chance to base their own work on this as well.

I would welcome if we could start such thread here at Dyxum in English and use Matthias as a inter-forum-ambassador. :-)

;-) Well, I'm afraid, I don't have the time to monitor all the English forums all the time, but I will give my best at trying to sync and swap information from time to time. But I want to encourage others to do the same as well.

20/2.8 (RS = with rubber focusing grip)

What does the abbreviation "RS" stand for, exactly? I'm not familiar with it...

Could you, perhaps, provide (outside of Dalifer) the IDs you have collected so far? Personally, I don't own a digital camera, so I have no immediate use for Dalifer nor could I provide EXIF data of my pictures. But I would still like to help collecting IDs, decoding other ROM data, and try to resolve compatibility issues.

Greetings,

Matthias

Edited by Kiklop - 13 March 2008 at 12:39
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Minolta-Forum (MiFo) - German forum for the Minolta, Konica, Konica Minolta and Sony world of photography: http://www.mi-fo.de
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Innox View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Innox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 18:59
Originally posted by matthiaspaul matthiaspaul wrote:


What does the abbreviation "RS" stand for, exactly? I'm not familiar with it...

RS means ReStyled

RS 50/1.7 to the left and Original 50/1.7 to the right:
7+VC7 7D 5D
18-70 20-35 28 28-75 35-70 50 70-210 400
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dalibor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2006 at 19:31
Hello Matthias,
I pretty much aggree with everything you have written.


Well, for that very reason, I think it is very important to collect data of these lenses. ;-) After all, Dalifer or any other software trying to use the lens ID in order to look up the actual lens name could be easily extended to not only take into account the lens ID itself, but use the whole ROM contents minus variable data (or a hash code of it, or some specific parameters, such as focal length and max. aperture) as a table key in order to distinguish between all those lenses using the same ID.


Sure, I didn't say to not collect the data. I said that the Lens ID are bogus in many cases.

I doubt that I would be able to identify non-Minolta lenses in Dalifer.
There is only the LensID written in MakerNote. As far as I know the rest of the ROM is not copied into the picture (but I'll re-verify it).
Focal length, aperture and max.aperture are variables and things get VERY complicated by using teleconverters (as some of them change the focal length/aperture and some of them don't).
Therefore I think that there will be always an overlap between various non-Minolta lenses and there will be no method how to determine the lens for sure. It will be just wild guessing in most cases.


Hm, even if they are "false" by what the modern bodies might expect, there is definitely "some logic" behind them.

OK. Try to explain the logic behing this example, please. ;-)
All following lenses have the same ID 25521
Minolta 28-85 f3.5-4.5 Macro (original)
Tamron 17 f3.5
Tamron 19-35 f3.5-4.5
Tokina 19-35 f3.5-4.5 193
Tokina 28-70 f2.6-2.8 AT-X 270 Pro
Tokina 28-80 f2.8 ATX-Pro


Regards,
Dalibor
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