Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 Review


The Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 is one of the smallest and cheapest Minolta lenses and most importantly it is also an excellent lens for landscape photography.


Diameter 64 mm
Length 36 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 150g
Max. Magnification 0.15
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 45cm
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 6/5
Price (June 2015): $10-30 in good condition.
Check current prices at ebay.de or ebay.com (affiliate links).

Image Samples


the last beer
Sony Alpha 7 | Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 | f/2
Sony Alpha 7 | Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 | f/2
Sony Alpha 7 | Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 | f/8

You can find some more samples in this flickr set: Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.


Minolta made three different 2/50’s

  1. The Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm 1:2 was introduced in 1973
  2. The Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:2  was introduced in 1977. As it’s predecessor it has a 55mm filter thready and weights 230g.
  3. The Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 was introduced in 1981, it has a 49mm filter thread and only weights 150g.

This review is about the 3rd version which is lighter and I think it has a new optical design.

For more technical details visit the Minolta SR lens index.

Build quality and handling

By today’s standards the built quality is very good but compared to the best manual lenses it isn’t that good. It feels a little plasticky.

The barrel and the mount are made from metal and anything else is made from plastics or glass.

Focusing Ring

The focusing ring travels around 90 degrees from 45cm  to 1m and a further 40 degrees to infinity.

The focusing ring isn’t the smoothest, resistance is a bit higher than I prefer it but it is still good.


The aperture ring has full stops from f/2.0 to f/2.8 and f/16 to f/22 and half stops from f/2.8 to f/16.

The aperture ring is made from plastics and clicks quite nicely.

The lens has 6 straight aperture blades .


The front element is about 1cm recessed from the front of the lens so it is well protected from the sun and scratching. I think this is really handy because I can throw it in my camera bag without a lens cap or hood and don’t have to worry about it.

I don’t own the original hood but I have one similar to this (affiliate link) which works very well.

Size and Weight

It is the smallest SLR lens I own and even if you include the adapter few M-mount lenses are smaller. And people pay lots of money because these are so small.


Optical performance

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

Flare Resistance

About average performance: You can’t shoot directly into the sun because you get ugly flares but with not that powerful light sources there is only a small drop in contrast and little flare.


Bokeh is neither a strength nor a weakness of this lens. My Minolta MC 1.2/58 has nicer bokeh. But the Minolta’s bokeh seldom distracting.

f/2 | some outlining
Eilean Donan Castle
lake district


Chromatic Aberrations

Lateral chromatic aberrations are very well controlled and more or less not visible!

Axial chromatic aberrations (“bokeh fringing”)  can be visible at faster apertures.


I don’t see any. Most other 50mm lenses have a moderate amount of barrel distortion but the Minolta MD 2/50 does not. This really surprised me.

Minolta MD 2/50 | f/8 | Distortion test
Minolta MD 2/50 | f/8 | Distortion test



f/2: Sharpness in the center is very good and the midframe area is sharp as well. Even the far corners have good resolution but contrast is very low.

f/2.8: The center and midframe region improves to excellent levels, contrast in the corners improves as well but it is still a bit low.

f/4-8: Excellent center and midframe region with very good corners.

f/11: Diffraction reduces image quality to very good levels

This is similar performance to most other 50s in the center but the corners sharpen up faster than with any other 50mm lens I have used.


  • Minolta MC 1.2/58: many times as expensive and three times as heavy but it has very nice bokeh and a better portrait lens. It is also a very good lens for landscapes but it has more CA and you need to stop down to f/8 for very sharp  corners.
  • Canon nFD 1.4/50The Canon’s strengths is its faster aperture and the superior performance at f/1.4 (compared to other 1.4/50 lenses). It is also cheap and small. The Minolta 2/50 is a better landscape lens because the corners are sharper at wider apertures.
  • Zeiss Planar 1.4/50 C/Y: This lens is also optimised for landscape photography and I see a little more micro contrast. But it is one of the most expensive classic 50mm lenses.


The Minolta MD 2/50 is my favorite hiking lens: It is small and very light weight and it is also one of my sharpest lenses. The corners improve faster than I am used to from other 50mm lenses, by f/2.8 they are very usable.  Most other normal lenses need to be stopped down to f/5.6 to reach a similar performance. By f/8 the lens is very very sharp across the frame.

For portraits I prefer other 50mm lenses which have nicer bokeh but the bokeh is not so bad that it would really ruin a portrait.

So all in all a very good performer which is small, light and affordable. I wouldn’t recommend it as your only 50mm lens but it’s great as a small landscape lens. At current prices below $30 it offers great value.

If you consider buying one please use one of my affiliate links and support my work: Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 at ebay.de or ebay.com (affiliate links).
Also check out my Minolta SR-mount adapter guide.

Images Samples in full resolution

Minolta MD 2/50 | f/2.8
Sony a7 | f/2.8 | note the sharpness in the lower right corner!
Minolta MD 2/50 | f/8
Sony a7 | f/8
Minolta MD 2/50 | f/8
Sony a7 | f/8


Sony a7 | f/2

Sony a7 | f/2

You can find more images in this flickr set: Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 full resolution samples

 Further Reading

For more Minolta lenses check out my Minolta list.

To learn about manual lenses in general this beginners guide for a7 users might be helpful.

This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using any of the links marked as affiliate links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support the creation of future content.

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I have two hobbies: Photography and photographic gear. Both are related only to a small degree.

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90 thoughts on “Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 Review”

  1. Affordable, seems to be the main reason for this old Minolta standard lens! There are so many other comparable lenses available, which are on the same quality level, so this lens seems to be not very special! Just my 2 Cents!

    1. I disagree.
      Size and corner sharpness at larger apertues set this lens apart from most other normal lenses. Distortion and CA are also better controlled than with most other normal lenses.

      I own about a dozen normal lenses and when a light camera bag matters this is the lens I choose.

      1. Agreed, is one of the best (if not the best) cheap fifty around. I also have the later MD version, just arrived the first MC and want to compare them

      2. Thanks to these reviews. The price has sky rocketed. Just going to buy A7 ii for vintage lenses. When saw the price in this review was amazed at the price. Opened the e bay link and suddenly the baloon got a prick. Thussssss. Good pieces are above 400 us $. I m getting the camera for around 500$. Anyhow appreciate your efforts. Keep up the good work.And sorry for my poor English. Not my mother language.

    2. (9 years later) There is a reason why Leica picked Minolta as a partner for many of their projects in the 70s and 80s. The optical quality of Minolta’s lenses was one of them. Many R-mount Leica lenses are in fact re-packaged Minolta lens kits. In a way, many MD prime and zoom lenses offer Leica (optical) quality in an affordable package. … a lens you can actually afford and USE is better than the technically superior one you can’t, right?

  2. Great review!
    Any idea how this lens compares to his +/- equally affordable siblings: The Minolta MD 1.7/50mm and the Minolta MD 2/45mm?

  3. Phillip, what do you think about this minolta and c/y Zeiss Planar 1.7/50 if you have a chance to test this cheaper (than 1.4/50) zeiss?

      1. Perhaps you are thinking of the Contax G 45mm f/2? It’s got excellent contrast and sharpness wide open. Probably the best to be had without getting an Otus 55mm f/1.4 or Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0.

        I haven’t used the Minolta MD 50mm f/2, so I can’t compare it directly, but I’d disagree with you on the C/Y Contax Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.7. Definitely not the lens I’d pick if wide open sharpness and contrast was my priority. My Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC and Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (Ai?) both are better wide open. It is better wide open than the C/Y Contax 50/1.4, at least comparing my two copies.

        Even so, I really like the C/Y Contax 50/1.7. At f/2.8 and smaller, it’s quite sharp and contrasty, lots of pop. It can be had for as low as $150, which isn’t bad. It’s best quality is the bokeh/transition. For some reason, it allows a nice separation from background at distances that I wouldn’t expect. It has a shallower depth of field than my other 50s given the same distance and aperture. I’m not sure how this works, but I’ve verified it by comparing it with a few other 50s a while back.

        1. I actually own the Contax 2/45 but it is abit defective. Certainly not my favourite lens when bokeh is concerned but it is a very sharp lens, no doubt about that.

          I don’t own the C/Y 1.7/50 but I think Zeiss’ MTF graph supports that it is quite good at f/1.7 but the G 2/45 or a FE 1.8/55 is certainly better.

      2. I really appreciate your review of this lens. I am looking at this and the MD 50 f1.7 but I can’t find out which iteration these lenses are from the lens number, I have looked at the Minolta lens chart on the German website in your link but the codes there are different from the numbers on the lenses. I have also seen an MC Rokkor-X PF 50 f1.7 but wanted to check out your opinion on this. Thanks

    1. there are two versions of it and the older one with the flat focusing ring seems to be weaker than the newer one with the knurled focusing ring. I think both are a little weaker than Minolta’s other 1.4 lenses but they have nice bokeh. The second version seems to bet noticeably better.

      1. Philip
        I would like to know your thoughts on the MC Rokkor-X 50mm PF f2 lens compared to the MD 50mm f2.

  4. Hi,

    Can Anybody help ? 🙂

    Do I need an adapter to make this fit my Sony A7? If so, which adapter should I choose?

    Thanks 🙂

  5. I did a test on my own comparing it to several of my 50s, comparing wide open, f/2 and f/2.8 and f/4 corner sharpness specifically in mind. Did a Test at 8 feet and infinity.

    on my lens turbo ii and a6000. This lens is significantly better at f/2 and marginnally better at f/4 than:

    MD 50mm 1.4
    MD 50mm 1.7
    MD 45mm 2
    Mc rokkor-pg 50mm 1.4
    MD rokkor 50mm 1.7 (55mm filter)
    MC rokkor 55mm 1.9
    MC rokkor 55mm 1.7
    Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 (8-elements)
    SMC Takumar 55mm 1.8
    EBC Fujinon 50mm 1.4
    Helios 44M 58mm 2
    Chinon MC 55mm 1.4

    1. On my a6000 it was just ok, the Nikkor 50 f2 was noticeably better. After I moved to FF I tried it again and was surprised how good it was, at least equal to the Nikkor and probably better corners at f2. Lens Turbo might have been helping resolution?

  6. One of my best 50mm at f2 across the frame. In the center I have some better lens at f2 but this Minolta seems not to have a lot of field curvature and not much spherical aberration.

  7. Agree with you Phil, it’s a fabulous lens and is astoundingly sharp wide open. The big give away at f/2 is vignetting but otherwise its performance at f/2 is on a par with some other 50mm lenses at f/4. As they say on ebay, recommend A+++ 🙂

  8. Love these articles and the accompanying sample shots. Just wanted to point out that since June 2015, the price of these has gone from an average of $30 to an average of $300(!!!). Who would have thought that these vintage lenses would get such a new and expensive lease on life. 😉

      1. Hey Phillip,

        Just curious if you have handled the MD 50 f1.2, do you find it sharper than the f2 ?

        I really appreciate these reviews.


  9. Thanks for the great reviews and insights. Largely because of this review and your summary review of manual lenses under $100, I “gambled” a whole $12 USD on ebay, and won big time on a very good copy that I received a few days ago. Very sharp, small, fun-to-use lens that will never be far from my A7.

    Keep up the brilliant work!

  10. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks a lot for all your articles, and introducing us to these wonderful legacy lenses.
    I recently got an A7II, and i’ve been trying it out with a number of Minolta MD lenses i got from eBay.
    Quick question, is there a way to set the shutter speed when using a manual/legacy lens?
    I have tried every mode, M,S,P…, but the Shutter speed seems to be fixed. I’m not able to change it with the dials. It only changes when I set the ISO manually. Even so, I cannot set it manually.

      1. I’m able to change it only with the kit lens, however, with the manual legacy lenses, it only changes based on lighting. The dial doesn’t change it.

  11. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks a lot for your articles, have you tried the Minolta Auto-Rokkor 55f2 PF ?
    I got one as heritage on a Minolta SR-1s from a friend. I will tried it on a A7II.


  12. I read your review and bought the lens for my sony a7, for only 20 euros and it is anostonishing. I thougt about buying the 990 euro sony fe 55 f1.8 a beautifull sharp lens.
    But it was wel worth trying this lens for this price on my sony camera and i am not disappointed. Thanks for your review and tips

    Paul, The Netherlands

  13. HI Phillip I own a minolta x700 with the MD 50mm 1:2 lens. Am I crazy to sell it for $50 on craigslist? I am a filmmaker and have not used this cam for ages, dont know if the lens can be used on a DSLR cam? Can you advise? thanks so much!

  14. I picked up this lens a few weeks ago thanks to your review. This lens is much sharper than I would have ever thought. Much appreciate your work – I’m thinking of picking up the 100mm Minolta you just reviewed!

  15. Hi Phillip,
    Great website! I enjoy it very much.
    2 questions:
    With this lens, does the focus peaking option works on the A7 II?
    The adapter shown on your photo isn’t the same as the one you refered to in a previous answer to Jarl Christenssen. Which model do you use?

    Thanks !
    Pierre, from Canada


  16. Hi Phillip,
    great article, thank you!

    I have bought this amazing lens but I had a problem with cheap adapter: light filters because of bad tightening… now I want buy a new one!
    Novoflex I think is too much expensive… Fotasy can’t be bought in Europe… K&F Concept is good enough?

    Thank you.

  17. I love this lens – its just as Phillip says – but be aware buyers, my first copy of this lens was noticeably decentered. It’s probably attributed to the cheaper design of the lens, but my 2nd copy is razor sharp and an absolute dream to use.

    After cleaning and re-lubing the focus, it’s super smooth and feels great. Maintenance isn’t difficult on the lens, as is the case with many MD primes.

  18. Phillip, I just wanted to thank you for doing these reviews. Your site has been an indispensable resource in helping me expand my lens options! I just picked up a copy of the MD 50/2 and will be looking forward to acquiring more to flesh out my focal range.

      1. Thanks. Just got this lens on eBay and am greatly looking forward to trying it out. I was looking for a very light 50mm and found one in good condition for $17. I had no idea these vintage lenses were even an option.

  19. Great review Phillip, I was given a Minolta X-700 this lens along with the 2x TC for free, just waiting on a adapter for my Sony. So I’m really looking forward to trying this lens based on your review thank you!

      1. Thank you. I could not resist and bought online in good condition for 45 €. I will test on my A7r and probably will unsubscribe about their feelings. I had (have) some 50mm lens Minolta , Fujinon , Konica, Topcon. Want to compare sharpness at aperture F2.

  20. I came across this lens recently in a second hand store and remembered it from your review. It is indeed very sharp and and coma correction is also good, also for astro photography! The bokeh is a bit busier than of the Rokkor 55/2 but I still like its rendering. Some images I took with it: https://flic.kr/p/21JTPh7
    Thanks a lot for this review 🙂

  21. Hi Phillip,

    first thing, thank you so much for this wonderful website: it’s a valuable resource for all things e-mount and I’m still reading each post made, day by day, I find it really interesting.

    Onto this lens… I can buy it for ~30€ in good condition, but I already have a Nikkor H•C Auto 50mm f/2 which have been praised by several websites as the best 50mm ever made and even referred as the Japanese Summicron.

    I shoot mainly architecture and I was wondering if you had a chance to compare the Nikkor I have with the Minolta. My gut says that the Minolta should be better in distortion but the Nikkor has better contrast.

      1. Hi Phillip,
        finally got my hands on the Minolta and made a comparison shot between my Nikkor and the Minolta on my a7 and, to my disbelief, the Minolta completely trumps the Nikkor on contrast and sharpness at any aperture.
        I’m really wondering if I somehow missed perfect focus on the Nikkor, but using focus peaking + magnification that would close to impossible to miss.
        Anyway, here are the shots in TIFF, sRGB, no processing applied (I think LR applied Adobe Color as the standard profile): https://drive.google.com/open?id=14Vh2Nyu–zQ1Yn_r0b5vMIUEDU6qpTwo
        I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

  22. Thanks Philip for suggesting this, just got the latest 49mm-filter version for <$30 and it's exactly as advertised, a bit soft at f2 (but very usable), then sharp & clean all the way to f/11, no need to crop corners at any aperture. Really nice rendering too, what a gem for this price. Works perfect on my Nikon Z6 w/cheap adapter.

  23. Philip,

    First, thank you for all the time and effort you’ve put into this site and others where you are active. You are one of few that take the time to continue to support the community.

    I recently got my hands on this lens (md 50mm f2) nad it’s a definite plus when lugging around other equipment and walking distances.

    I would like to know why I see or rather don’t see the Konica AR mount lenses tested much? Have any experience with them? If so which ones and what did you like?

    Most of my Minolta lenses are of AR mount variant and. I love them.


  24. Hi,
    hast du Vergleiche mit den 1,4ern von Minolta gemacht? Besonders das MC Rokkor PG und das letzte MD-III wären interessant. Ersteres, weil es “angeblich” das beste 50er von Minolta ist, letzteres, weil es das vielleicht tatsächlich ist…

  25. I have 2 different Minolta MD 50mm 1.2’s (without Rokkor) The shorter one has 4 rows of knurled (more like bumps) focusing rings and raised ribs for aperatures going from 2-22. The other’s about 1/2″ longer with 7 rows and goes from 1.2-16. The latter have recently sold on ebay for $237-329 and higher.

  26. I have 2 different Minolta MD 50mm 1.2’s (without Rokkor) The shorter one has 4 rows of knurled (more like bumps) focusing rings and raised ribs for apertures going from 2-22. The other’s about 1/2″ longer with 7 rows for focus and recessed (milled) slots for apertures going from 1.2-16. The latter have recently sold on ebay for $237-329 and higher.

  27. Je viens d’acheter un Minolta MC Rokkor F/2, dont vous ne parlez pas ou peu. Il est EXCELLENT dés F/2 !!! Bien mieux que Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 et un peu mieux que mon Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm F/1.8 (que j’ai acheté en 1984). C’est une très grande surprise (bonne) pour moi, et je le recommande chaudement. Amicalement. Eric
    I just bought a Minolta MC Rokkor F / 2, about which you speak little or nothing. It is EXCELLENT from F / 2 !!! Much better than Canon FD 50mm F / 1.4 and a little better than my Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm F / 1.8 (which I bought in 1984). It is a very big (good) surprise for me, and I highly recommend it. Best regards. Eric

  28. J’ai oublié de dire que j’ai acheté ce Rokkor 50mm F2 à 25€ sur eBay. Une affaire en or !
    I forgot to say that I bought this Rokkor 50mm F2 at 25 € on eBay. A golden affair!

  29. Hi guys,

    Really nice review, in fact this review made me buy the MD 50mm 1:2. Awesome Lens, delivers unexpected results giving the fact this Minolta is old, cheap and so light.
    I would like to get an opinion from you guys regarding using this lens for milkyway shots. If there is any chance, I can e-mail you some shots i took and have a quick look.
    Either way – you guys are doing a fantastic job! 🙂

  30. Sad that the prices of these gems are now much more expensive than the prices stated in the review, Some of us arrived at the party a bit late…!!

  31. Agreed. This is an amazingly sharp 50 wide open. I have a few 50s (MD 50/1.4, MC 50/2, and nFD 50/1.4) but this probably my trusted 50. For dreamy bokeh, the 1.4s are better but general use I prefer f2-2.8 over faster f-stops.

  32. Insights
    A solid mix of plastics and metal parts:

    Apart from the easily accessible aperture gap: the hermetic encapsulation in plastic protects the glass from dust and fungal attack. In addition, there is extremely low abrasion of the fiberglass-plastic/aluminum combination of the focusing. Minolta’s best normal focal length truly has it “in it”, it should work without problems for a very long time – enjoy!

  33. This is the most natural 50mm I have, apart from maybe a Summicron for the Leica. All of its features are balanced and pleasing. I have the Sony 55 1.8, which is a super sharp lens, but also rather flat feeling and harsh (maybe too much contrast?) by comparison. One of the nicest lenses (apart from the 100mm 2.5, Minolta made. Minolta made some very good lenses that were very approachable in price compared to the hype driven prices of Leica and Zeiss.

  34. Es könnte ganz interessant sein, das Minolta mit dem Voigtländer 50mm f/2 APO zu vergleichen, am 61mp Sensor. Einmal Pixel Peeping, aus Neugier. Aber dann auch Drucke vergleichen, ein paar Bilder mit schwierigen Situationen, zB in 40*60cm.

  35. I just received a Minolta Rokkor PF 58mm f1.4, an MD 50mm f2 (third version), an MD/MC to Sony E adapter, a JC Penney 2X teleconverter, a set of extension tubes, all in quite excellent condition won at auction on eBay for $76 US. These are my first manual focus Minolta lenses, though as a Sony shooter, I have a good selection of AF Minolta zooms and the 50mm f1.7. I have great expectations for these lenses.

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