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.

 

38 thoughts on “Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4”

  1. Hi,
    I think there are 4 versions of the 50mm f1.4
    First 2 have 55m filter and last 2 have 49mm filter, the last version has orange distance scale instead of green.
    Best regards

  2. I started to collect minolta lenses because of your site. It seems I was buying every lens you recommend. 🙂
    I was wondering if how would you compare the bokeh of 58/1.2, 50/2 and 50/1.4 at F2. You said 58/1.2’s bokeh at f2 is the most pleasing and I agree. But if 50/1.4 at f2 is similar as 58/1.2 at f2, for me it is better since it is lighter.

  3. Hi, was just curious how the PG version of these lenses compare to the newer versions? You mention that it has the nicest build quality and very good image quality, does that mean it’s preferable to the other two versions?
    Cheers!

    1. I never compared thema directly so I can’t tell which certainty which is the better one.
      If you value better built quality higher than weight I would get the MC 1.4/50

  4. Thanks for answering.

    It’s not possible even with an adapter ring?
    I have a Fe2 already, and looking for a 50mm to put on. Ken Rockwell talks about the minolta on his site and compare it to a nikkor, but I can’t find if the body is the same for both in his tests.
    Anyway, if I can put it on the Fe2, the minolta sounds great……………

    1. If there was an adapter you could only focus very close for mechanical reasons. A Nikkor 1.4 or 1.8 50mm isn’t that different from the Minolta and will work very well on your FE2

  5. Hello, I have a Sony NEX a6000 and My grandpa gift me his old minolta reflex with a beautiful MD rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 (49mm) attached. Could you tell me wich adapter should I buy? In the next days I will travel to London, so I am searching on Amazon.co.uk…

  6. I Have my grandpa old Minolta SRT101b with 2 lenses:
    – 50 mm Minolta MC rokkor – f/1:1.4
    – 135mm Soligor tele-auto f/1:2.8
    I am considering buy a digital corp for these 2 analogic lenses but i Have no clue about what digital camera should i buy to make this work. If you could help me i would be very greathfull.

    Thank you!

  7. For outdoor landscape film photos, would you prefer the Minolta MD 50 mm 1:2 or the MC 1:1.4? I would be using a Minolta SRT 101.

  8. I am looking for some manual lenses and also a wide aperture lens for my sony a7. I do not have the adapter, but the link you provided ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adapter-Minolta-Mount-NEX-VG10-DC104/dp/B008H2HXUS/278-8564685-2391722?ie=UTF8&keywords=minolta%20sony%20adapter&qid=1442210906&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1 ) appears to be what I need. Do you know of any other lenses, f1.4 or lower. Also, where can this specific lens be found and purchased? Thanks. Also, what is the “website” field for. I simply put my personal site.

  9. Good review. I have the same MD 50mm 1.4 lens with a 55mm thread except mine says ROKKOR-X in orange. I find this lens to be great at f2… excellent sharpness and smooth bokeh. I found this lens to be sharper at f2 and at f8 than both the MC 50mm 1.4 and the Canon 50mm 1.4 SSC.

  10. I tested all of the 50 to 58 mm Minolta SR lenses and only kept the MC Rokkor-PG 50mm f1.4 (for sharpness) and the MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 for (bokeh).

    Thanks for your Laowa 105mm STF vs. Minolta/Sony 135mm STF cpmparision too, very helpful!

  11. Hello,

    I have a defective Minolta Rokkor F1.2 58mm. The inner barrel of the focusing assembly is not smooth. I would like to replace it with the focusing mechanism of a Minolta Rokkor F1.4 50mm. Do you know if the dimension are the same ? I have also considered manufacturing the broken part myself, but impossible to find the datasheet with the exact dimension of the inner and out barrel.

    Thank you for your help !

      1. I am actually quite amazed by how this fully metallic lens resisted the shock. It looks like the Minolta 85mm F1.7 has the same dimension, but I am still looking at it. The 58mm F1.4 is slightly too small.

  12. Also, I would like to know about the following thing,

    Already I have a very old copy of MD rock or 50 1.4 and am getting an MC 58 1.4 but because of the appearance of my 50mm 1.4, I am planning to get a new (mint condition) one.

    could you tell me…is there much differences in outputs when compare to 58 1.4 / 50 1/4? if I am going for a much better copy… will that be worth? or instead of going for same, do I need to look some other optic…

    please help..

    1. I haven’t had a closer look at the 1.4/58 but the 1.4/50s seem to be a bit sharper.

      A lens can show a lot of wear but have great optics and a cosmetically pristine copy can have serious optical issues. So unlsee you have reason to assume that there is an issue with your copy I would see no reason to invest into another one.

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