Minolta MD Rokkor-x – 50mm f/1.4


Characteristics


  • Lens Mount: Minolta SR (MD, MC)
  • Type: Prime lens
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Construction:
    • Lens Groups: 7
    • Lens Element: 6
    • Aperture Blades: 6
  • Min. Aperture: 1.4
  • Max Aperture: 16
  • Min. Focal distance: 0.45 m
  • Filter Size: 49 mm
  • Length: 40 mm
  • Weight: 230 gr
  • Hood: -
  • Price (low - high): USD 60 - USD 90 / Oct - 2020

Introduction


This Minolta lens was my first approach to Minolta glass. Suffice to say that I’m sold on the quality of this lens and the longevity it’s a prove of this. This fast prime with a maximum aperture value of 1.4 , produce amazing colors and has some incredible rendering and character.

Photos at all the aperture ranges are usable within they limitations; center is awesome from 1.4 to 5.6 and at f8 to f11 corner to corner sharpness is excellent.

  • All the photos in this review are from a Sony α7 II camera.
    • 24mp full frame sensor.
    • On body stabilization.

Construction


  • Lens is all metal with plastic focusing ring, feels incredible solid and easy to handle.
  • The aperture selector clicks in each stop and there are half stops between f/2 and f/11.
  • There’s a distance indicator printed in the front barrel of the lens.
    • From minimum distance of 0.45m to infinity.
      • Also in ft.
  • Using a K&F adapter (link) for mounting it to Sony cameras (E mount) adds 30mm (check) to the total length.

The major downside of buying used lenses from internet it’s that usually the sellers are not photographers and the inspection done to them is mainly done visually. Therefore, you have to be careful when choosing a seller and a lens.

Adapter

The K&F adapter used is well constructed and has a nice fit. The lens and the adapter add a hefty weight to the camera. With it on in tends to tip over the lens if you leave it on a flat surface.  You can feel the weight of the lens when you hold the camera by the grip, although it’s not tiresome.

Bokeh


At maximum aperture (f/1.4) this lens produces rounded bokeh balls in the center of the frame and more “cat eyes” in the corners. Personally, I don’t find it distracting or busy at any range and I think that add character to the image. With that said, when you stop down the lens the bokeh balls gain an hexagonal shape, produced by the 6 apertures blade on the diaphragm. Some may find this distracting or ugly, but being that this is a matter of personal preference the photo examples are the best way to make a choice.

Samples

The photos are processed in Lightroom, primarily are color corrected and adjusted for personal preference. There’s no extra sharpening added.

ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/1.4 - 1/1600sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/2 - 1/1000sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/2.8 - 1/640sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/4 - 1/320sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/5.6 - 1/160sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/8 - 1/80sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/11 - 1/40sec - ISO-100 - 50mm
ILCE-7M2 - Minolta MD Rokkor f1.4 - f/16 - 1/20sec - ISO-100 - 50mm

RAW photos are developed in Lightroom using the “Minolta MC ROKKOR-X PG 50mm f1.4” profile.

Distortion


As difficult as it is to find some profiles for lens corrections the bundled ones in Lightroom (Classic, 2020 version) seems to work really well (sometimes). In this case, I’ve used the bundled Minolta profile “Minolta MC ROKKOR-X PG 50mm f1.4“.

Before: No profile. / After: Profile applied.

Sharpness


At maximum aperture this lens it’s completely usable. it renders a nice glow that can be useful in portraits. However, it must be taken into account that only the central part has sufficient definition, the edges suffer a lot in this aperture.

Stopped down the lens start to get sharper a cross the frame and delivers resolution on par with modern counterparts.

Gallery


The photos are processed in Lightroom, primarily are color corrected and adjusted for personal preference. There’s no extra sharpening added.

Conclusions


As classic lenses go this is one of my favorites. In the film era, every big camera manufacturer had a 50mm F/1.4. In other words, that was the maximum aperture you had at your disposal (for some time at least).

I’ve tested the Canon and the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 lenses, however this Minolta takes the crown. This lens has a lot of usability at maximum aperture and stopped down only improves the image. On top of that, the lens produces nice and warm colors straight out of the camera and with a little bit of love in post the results can be astounding. With that in mind, there’s a price to be paid to get it. It’s not the cheapest 50mm f/1.4 but If you get a good copy, it’s totally worth the price.

Key points to consider if you grab one.

  1. You like manual lenses and the feeling that comes with them.
  2. Extra weight it’s not a problem.
  3. Being patient in taking photos.
  4. A different rendering for your photos, less flawless and more “natural”
  5. Saving (usually) some money and have fun in photography! 😀

That’s about it. Thanks for reading! leave a comment if you like or ask away! I’ll do my best to answer.

Cako.