The 5 Best Minolta SR-T 101 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: November 6, 2020
Best Minolta SRT 101 Lenses

The Minolta SRT 101 is a great 35mm film camera. It is likely the best-known camera in the Minolta SRT lineup. This page will cover the 5 best lenses for the Minolta SR-T 101, plus a handful of alternative lenses.

Here is the list of the best lenses for the Minolta SRT 101:

  1. Prime Lens - MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.4
  2. Wide Angle Lens - Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor-X
  3. Portrait Lens - Minolta 135mm f/2.8 MD Tele Rokkor
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5
  5. Macro Lens - Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro

The best Minolta lenses are categorized by price and type of photography. Emphasis has been put on models that have large apertures so you are not locked into needing a fast film speed.

Any Minolta MC or MD lens will be compatible with the Minolta SR-T 101.

Standard Lenses

Here is a selection of 58mm, 50mm, and 45mm focal lengths that made up the selection of standard lenses for the SRT 101. Back when the camera was sold as new, there would have been a discount to buy a 58mm or 50mm lens with the camera as a kit.

Minolta 58mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor

Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4 Prime Lens

Minolta 58mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor

  • "Kit" lens for the SRT 101.
  • Excellent value.
  • A novel focal length.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

If you don't already own it, a good first lens to get for the Minolta SRT-101 is the Minolta 58mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor. The 58mm focal length is uncommon, which provides a unique experience.

Be careful when selecting your film speed if you intend to shoot wide open outdoors during the day. The maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second on the camera might not be fast enough if you use ISO 400 film.

These lenses are starting to show their age. Make sure a seller has evaluated the lens for fungus, haze, or a tight focus ring.

Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X

Minolta MC Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 Camera Lens

Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X

  • Exceptional optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve performance.
  • Easy to meter with at night.
  • Comparatively inexpensive.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

This is an excellent fast and sharp 50mm lens for the Minolta SRT 101. There is also an earlier MC version of the lens, but the MD version is easier to find.

The lens is one of the cheapest manual focus 50mm f/1.4 lenses available from any of the manufacturers that made film cameras. If you want an even cheaper option, look for the Minolta 50mm f/1.7.

Minolta 45mm f/2 MD Rokkor-X

Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 SLR Lens

Minolta 45mm f/2 MD Rokkor-X

  • Great image quality.
  • Small, compact, and light.
  • Easy to find.
  • Inexpensive.
  • 49mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

This is another model with uncommon focal length lens from Minolta. It's a great choice if you are looking for a small and light pancake lens for your SR-T 101.

They are very cheap and can easily be found in good condition. There is an earlier MC version that is also a good option.

Wide Angles

Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MD

Minolta MD W.Rokkor 24mm f/2.8 Lens

Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MD

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Optical coatings help improve sharpness and reduce glare.
  • Excellent wide angle lens.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

Other versions of this lens are marked as W.Rokkor or Rokkor-X. All three are excellent choices for a wide-angle lens.

While Minolta made wider lenses, they are either expensive and/or suffer from significantly more distortion than a modern wide-angle lens.

If you want something special, the Minolta MD VFC Rokkor 24mm f/2.8 has a completely different design than other 24mm lenses. VFC stands for 'variable field curvature'.

Using the VFC control ring enables the plane of focus to be adjusted from flat to convex or concave. It is a very rare feature to find on a lens, which makes them expensive.

Minolta 28mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor-X

Minolta 28mm f/2.8 Lens

Minolta 28mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor-X

  • Works well with a standard lens.
  • Small and compact.
  • Very easy to find.
  • Inexpensive.
  • 49mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

Avoid the 'Celtic' model of this lens as it was introduced to be a budget line of lenses. All of the other versions that feature Rokkor in the name have a better build quality.

It is the widest angle lens available that remains easily affordable. Anything wider will cost multiple times what this lens should be available for.

Portrait & Telephoto

Minolta 135mm f/2.8 MD

Minolta 135mm f/2.8 Lens

Minolta 135mm f/2.8 MD Tele Rokkor

  • 85mm substitute.
  • Excellent value.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Widely available.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

Minolta made several versions of this lens, most likely due to its popularity. When the Minolta SR-T 101 was released, 135mm lenses were more popular for portraits than 85mm lenses.

A big part of that was that a 135mm was close to half the price of an 85mm. Today on the used market, 135mm lenses can be had for a fraction of what 85mm lenses sell for.

Minolta 85mm f/1.7 MC Rokkor

Minolta MC Rokkor 85mm f/1.7 Portrait Lens

Minolta 85mm f/1.7 MC Rokkor

  • Sharp stopped down.
  • Fairly expensive.
  • Can be difficult to find in good condition.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: KEH

There is also a later MD version, which is also a good choice. The difficulty with either version of this lens will be finding one in good condition.

Make sure to carefully read product descriptions. Many will be listed as in "excellent" condition while having fungus and/or haze.

If you want a copy of this lens, you're likely going to have to buy one off of eBay from Japan. KEH, Adorama, or Amazon rarely have copies of the lens for sale.

Zooms

Before the introduction of autofocus, in the early 1980s, there were a small number of lenses made by third-party manufacturers that performed better than what Minolta was offering.

A large number of these top-performing lenses were released with Vivitar branding. Any zoom lens that has the Vivitar Series 1 branding on it is going to have the best optics you'll see from a vintage zoom lens.

Unfortunately, finding copies of these lenses in good condition can be extremely difficult. Beyond that, no vintage zooms offer outstanding performance. If you see one for sale that is cheap enough, it may be worth picking up, but I don't think they are worth hunting for.

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5

Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5

  • Covers a popular zoom range.
  • Great for portrait or wildlife photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the better choice.
  • 62mm filter threads.

Check prices at: KEH

Optically, the performance from this lens on the Minolta SRT 101 is going to be better than any Minolta counterpart. The fit and finish are a little lackluster and age makes that worse.

For sharp photos, just like every vintage zoom lens, you will have to stop the lens down to f/5.6 or f/8. There are no intermediate stops between f/3.5 and f/5.6.

Keep that in mind, as shooting at f/5.6 will make low light photography difficult without a flash or using slow shutter speeds. You'll be fine shooting outdoors during the day.

The lens is sold with mounts for other camera systems. If you decide to buy one, make sure that it is for the Minolta MD mount.

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5 Zoom Lens

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5

  • Covers a useful zoom range.
  • Great for everyday general photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the better choice.
  • 67mm filter threads.

Check prices at: KEH

Depending on the type of photography you intend to do, this could be a more useful zoom range.

However, owning 58mm and 28mm primes will make a majority of the zoom range redundant. The primes also have better image quality, are smaller, and weigh less.

Another option would be the Minolta MD 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5. It is similar in price, despite being a slower lens.

Minolta Macro Lenses

For capturing photos at macro magnification (1x), focal lengths in the 90mm-105mm range will be the best choice.

You'll have a large enough working distance to be able to use flash, while avoiding excessive weight and high costs that come with longer focal lengths.

All of the Minolta MD macro lenses require the use of extension tubes to reach 1x magnification. These tubes were branded as 'life-size' adapters, which can be difficult and expensive to purchase if they are not included with a lens.

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro

  • Ideal focal length for 1x magnification.
  • Widely available.
  • Incredible value.
  • 62mm filter threads.

Check prices at: KEH

My favorite vintage macro, the 90mm Vivitar, was made with a variety of camera mounts. Fortunately, it is not difficult to find one for the Minolta SR-T 101 with a Minolta MD mount.

The lens is ideal for shooting macro at 1:1 magnification because you'll get around 3 inches of working distance. Emulsions with a slow film speed will produce the sharpest image possible.

Shutter speeds will be slow without the use of a flash. Even with a flash, it can make sense to use the mirror lock up feature on the camera.

Both of the Vivitar macro models were made by Komine and were released under several different brand names such as Panagor, Elicar, Quantaray, Spiratone, and Rokunar.

There is a Vivitar 90mm Macro Review and a Vivitar 55mm Macro Review.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • An outstanding lens for close-up photography.
  • Can achieve life-size magnification without needing an extension tube.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: KEH

The Vivitar 55mm is an excellent choice for close-up photography with the Minolta SR-T 101. That would include copy work, nature, and tabletop photography.

There is not enough working distance to working at 1x magnification. However, an upside to that is that at 0.5x magnification you won't have to be several feet away from the subject, like with a 90-105mm macro lens.

An earlier f/3 version of the lens exists and should be avoided. The f/2.8 version is significantly sharper.

Minolta 50mm f/3.5 MD Macro

Minolta 50mm f/3.5 Macro Lens with Extension Tube

Minolta MD 50mm f/3.5 Macro

  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • An outstanding lens for close-up photography.
  • Can achieve life-size magnification without needing an extension tube.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: eBay and KEH

I own the worst two models of the lens, the MD non Rokkor and Celtic. Both were designed with lower costs than a Rokkor model.

In order to reach 1:1 magnification, a 25mm extension tube is needed called a 'life-size adapter' by Minolta. Make sure one is included as they can be difficult to find.

It is well suited to studio use, where the camera can be on a sturdy tripod. To get the best sharpness from the lens lock the mirror up to prevent vibrations from the mirror slap.

Used Minolta Lenses

Prices change all the time depending on supply and interest. During the last several years, an increase in popularity has pushed prices higher.

However, the Minolta MD has not seen as large of price increases as the Nikon F-mount, Pentax K-mount, or the Minolta A-mount, which has AF and benefited from the merger with Konica.

What Lens Mount Does the Minolta SR-T 101 Use?

The Minolta SR-T 101 uses the Minolta MD lens mount.

Technically it is the Minolta SR mount, but no one calls it that. It is called the MD mount because that was the name of the last revision to the mount. That's why the camera model includes SR-T or SRT, depending on how you want to write it.

Lenses are backward compatible with older camera models, so there isn't a downside to referring to it as the MD mount instead of SR.

Minolta SR vs MC vs MD

The Minolta SR mount is a bayonet style mount. The MC and MD revisions were made so that camera features could be added.

  • SR - Features an automatic aperture diaphragm. When the camera shutter release is pressed, the camera will automatically stop the aperture down to the set aperture. This allows for focusing with the aperture wide open, so the focus screen is as bright as possible.
  • MC - Adds meter coupling. This allows the camera to know what aperture the lens is set to and provides metering information based on the aperture setting. Previously you would have had to stop the lens down to get a correct meter reading.
  • MD - Allows the camera to read the smallest aperture available and lets the camera set the aperture. The benefit of this is that it enables the use of shutter priority mode on cameras.

Standard Lens Cap Size

The standard lens cap and filter ring thread diameter used on most vintage manual focus Minolta lenses is 55mm.

There are lenses with smaller filter threads that were designed to be small and portable. Those models use 49mm filter threads.

Related Posts

That is it for what are the best lenses to use with the Minolta SR-T 101. Here are pages with more information on the camera:

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