Quick Review: Minolta MC/MD 85mm 1:1.7

Minolta MC Rokkor 85mm 1:1.7

Specifications

  • Diameter: 71mm
  • Length: 62mm
  • Weight: 455g
  • Filter Diameter: 55mm
  • Number of aperture blades: 6
  • Close Focusing Distance: 1m
  • Mount: Minolta SR

The Minolta MC/MD 85mm 1:1.7 usually sells for around $210-280 at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it for 130-180€ at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Sample images

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7| full resolution

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/2.8 | full resolution

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/1.7 | full resolution
Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/2.8 | full resolution

Minolta_MC_85mmf1p7-14

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 85mm 1:1.7 | f/8 | full resolution

Versions

Minolta introduced the 85mm 1:1.7 in 1970 with an all metal focusing ring of the hill and valley design (MC-II, linkt to image) which was followed in 1973 by a version with a rubberized focusing ring (MC-X, pictured in this post). The next  makeover happened in 1978 when the 1.7/85 was updated to MD.

All three versions are very similar mechanically and the optical design has remained the same as well so you can buy either one. It might be that the coatings were improved during the production of the lens but I don’t have any reliable information about that.

Sharpness

The Minolta MC 1.7/85 was tested on the Sony a7. Klick here to see the 100% crops.

You can find the full resolution test images in the Minolta MC 1.7/85 flickr set.

f/1.7:  Decent resolution and low contrast.  Performance is pretty even across the frame though.

f/2.8: The softness is mostly gone, contrast and resolution are good in the center and midframe, the corners only improve a little.

f/4: Very good sharpness across most of the frame, the corners are a little softer but still good. Contrast is noticeably higher than at f/2.8.

f/5.6 and f/8: Very good sharpness across the frame.

f/11: A little softer due to diffraction.

Minolta MC Rokkor 85mm 1:1.7

Comment

The Minolta MC 1.7/85 is a very nice lens for portraits and a good all purpose lens.

At f/1.7 it already has quite good resolution and nice but not perfectly smooth bokeh but due to spherical aberration contrast is rather low. I think this characteristic works very well for portraits but it is a distinctly different look from that of modern very well corrected lenses like the Batis 1.8/85. The sharpness is also  even across the frame so you can put your subject anywhere in the frame and not just in the center.

Stopped down to f/2.8 contrast is a lot higher but for best contrast you should stop down to f/4. For best across the frame sharpness stop down to f/5.6 where it performs very well for landscape photography.

Typically for a Minolta MC lens built quality is great, it doesn’t get much better than this. The lens is made of nothing but metal and glass and the focusing ring is very pleasant to use. This is not a small lens especially with the original hood and there are significantly smaller fast 85mm lenses. Handling on the Sony a7 is still okay but it is at the limit of being comfortable.

So all in all I can recommend this lens. It will perform very well for a wide range of applications and while I wouldn’t call it cheap it still offers a decent price/performance ratio.

 

The Minolta MC/MD 85mm 1:1.7 usually sells for around $210-280 at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it for 130-180€ at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

If this review was helpful to you, please consider using one of my affiliate links. I will earn a small commission on your purchase and it won’t cost you anything. Thanks!

Further Reading

 

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I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

5 thoughts on “Quick Review: Minolta MC/MD 85mm 1:1.7”

  1. Hi Phillip! I have a question about this lens. I using novoflex adapter and my close Focusing Distance: more then 1m its about 1.7 Its like this because of adapter? Or its something wrong with the lens?
    Thanks
    Ilya

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