Category Archives: Minolta SR mount

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4

under construction

SpecificationsMinolta MD 1.4/50

Diameter63mm
Length40mm
Filter Thread55mm
Weight245g
Max. Magnification1:6.6
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor45cm
Close Focusing Distance from the front of the lens36
Number of aperture blades6
Elements/ Groups7

Price:  (July  2016): about 50€ in good condition at ebay.de or $ at ebay.com (affiliate links).

Versions

Minolta made three optically different 1.4/50 lenses.

  1. The MC Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 PG is the oldest one with the nicest built quality and very good image quality
  2. The MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 with 55mm filter thread. It is 60gramms lighter than the MC and the close focusing distance decreased from 50cm to 45cm.  This page is about this lens.
  3. The MD (Rokkor) 50mm 1:1.4 with 49mm filter thread.

For more technical details visit the Minolta SR lens index.

Build quality and handling

Builts quality is very good, only the name plate and aperture ring are made from plastic, the rest is made from metal.

All in all it is a rather small lens and it balances very well on the Sony a7. The original lens shade is made from plastics, has a decent size and isn’t too bulky. Because the front element is rather exposed I would recommend using it.

The focusing ring travels around 100° from 45cm to 1m and a further 60° to infinity. The focusing has just the right amount of resistance but it is a bit small (8mm) for my taste.

The aperture ring has half stops from f/2.0 to f/16 and no stop between f/1.4 and f/2.0.
MD50f1p4-3

 

 Image Samples in low resolution

 

weekend

winter detail

return of the light

the mill
You can find many more samples in this flickr set.

Optical performance

These results are based on the use with a Sony Alpha 7.

Bokeh

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/1.4
f/1.4: rather defined outlines
Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/2
f/2: still defined outline but noticeably less
Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/2.8
f/2.8: much less defined outlines but visible hexagons

Chromatic Aberrations

Sharpness
Minolta_MD_50mmf14 infinty test

Alternatives

Minolta MC 1.2/58: Quite a bit smoother bokeh and 8, not just 6 aperture blades make it a superior lens when bokeh is important. Sharpness is similar, the 1.4/50 might be a tad better. It also costs about 6 times as much and is nearly 150g heavier.

Minolta MC 1.7/55Not as sharp at wider apertures but it has nicer bokeh and is a bit smaller.

Minolta MD 2/50Worse bokeh but it is sharp across most of the frame from f/2, very small and only weights half of the MC 1.4/50. This is reflected in the build quality though. It is also free of lateral CA and distortion which the 1.4/50 is not.

Zeiss C/Y Planar 1.4/50: The Planar has more effective coatings which results in a much better flare resistance and higher contrast at wider apertures. The Minolta is a lot cheaper though.

Canon nFD 1.4/50: The Canon is quite a bit sharper at f/1.4 and f/2 but  and it doesn’t feel nearly as solid. Price is similar.

Zeiss Loxia 2/50: A modern lens which is sharp across the frame from f/2 with high contrast and exif transmission. Bokeh is the only real weakness I found. Oh an the price of course.

Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA: The Sony is super sharp from f/1.8 and it has much smoother bokeh. Manual focus is a pain in the a** though and it is expensive.

Conclusion

A typical 1.4/50 lens: Rather soft wide open, good for portraits by f/2, excellent by f/2.8 but it needs to be stopped down to f/8 for landscapes.

Images Samples in high resolution

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/2
f/2

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/2.8

f/2.8 or maybe f/2.4

Minolta MD Rokkor 1.4/50 @f/4

f/4 – very good sharpness with a notable drop in the far corners

 

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 @f/5.6
f/5.6

 

Minolta MD Rokkor 1.4/50 @f/8
f/8

Further Reading

For more Minolta lenses check out my Minolta list.

To learn about manual lenses in general this beginners guide might be helpful.

 

Affordable manual lenses for the Sony Alpha 7,7r,7ii,7rii and 7s

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This is a collection of good manual lenses which are available for less than $100, it is meant as a resource for photographers who own a Sony a7/ a7r/ a7ii/ a7rII and want to discover the world of manual lenses without breaking the bank.

To learn more about a lens please check one of my reviews or follow the linked test. You will find the average price for a copy in good condition in the description for each lens.

All links market with a * are affiliate links. If you use them I will receive a small commission on your purchase without any additional cost to you. So if you found this article helpful using them is a great way to show your support. Thanks! 

You can find this article in German on phillipreeve.de.

Wideangle lenses

Canon nFD 2.8/24

Canon_nFD_24mmf2p8-6This would be my suggestion for someone looking for a small, sharp and affordable wideangle lens to take landscape images.
Weaknesses are mustache distortion and mediocre built quality.

240g | $85 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

DSC00426
Sony a7 | Canon nFD 2.8/24 | f/11 | full resolution

Continue reading Affordable manual lenses for the Sony Alpha 7,7r,7ii,7rii and 7s

Minolta MC / MD Macro Rokkor 100mm 1:3.5 – Review

MC100f3p5Macro-4

Minolta MD 3.5/100 Macro – SpecificationsMC100f3p5Macro-2

Diameter: 75mm
Length: 89mm
Filter Thread: 55mm
Weight: 600g
Max. Magnification :  1:2
Close Focusing Distance (from the sensor/from the front of the lens): 45cm /27cm
Number of aperture blades: 6
Elements/ Groups: 5/4

Price:  (February 2015): 90-150€ in good condition at ebay.de or $110-170 at ebay.com (affiliate links)

i want to thank Marc for borrowing me the lens to write this review!

Image Samples in low resolution

backlit leave

last light

backlit detail

 

Continue reading Minolta MC / MD Macro Rokkor 100mm 1:3.5 – Review

Test: $20 Minolta MC 1.7/55 vs $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55

55erIn this comparison I want to compare two very different lenses.

The Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm 1:1.7 was introduced in 1968 and it was always an affordable lens. Today it usually sells for around $20 at ebay.com (affiliate link).
I like it because it has very nice bokeh, the nice focusing feel and the small size. I is not one of my sharpest manual lenses, the Canon FD 1.4/50 for example is noticeably sharper but it has very nice character, not far away from the much heavier and more expensive Minolta MC 1.2/58.

The Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA was introduced 45 years later in 2013 and it costs around $1000 or 50 times as much as the Minolta. It has received very positive reviews and is considered to be one of the best normal lenses available today.

The question I try to answer with this test is: How different are the results I can expect from the lenses? I will look at smaller images optimized for the web but also at 100% crops to judge print quality.

All images are developed from raw and I used a tripod unless I mention otherwise. Please click on them to see them in full size (1500px wide).

Scene 1: Bokeh and Sharpness in the center wide open

DSC09267

The same settings applied to the image taken with the Minolta 1.7/55

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Continue reading Test: $20 Minolta MC 1.7/55 vs $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55