In todays post I compare two super fast lenses from the late 60’s. The Minolta MC 1.2/58 is a legend and priced as such while the Canon isn’t to popular and one of the most affordable f/1.2 lenses out there.
The following three images are processed with identical settings.
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.
These results are based on the use with a Sony Alpha 7.
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 1.7/55: Not as sharp at wider apertures but it has nicer bokeh and is a bit smaller.
Minolta MD 2/50: Worse 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.
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
f/2.8 or maybe f/2.4
f/4 – very good sharpness with a notable drop in the far corners
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!
Filter Thread: 55mm
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!
Sony α | Leica M | Nikon Z New article every Tuesday
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