Dienstag, 20. Januar 2015

The Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm f/1.7 - a optical dream?

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at open aperture
Feels like: the three hundredth Review this lens. 
Yes, I know all photographers all they had ever been in his hand. Then they have the lens eventually sold, given away or lost. Such is life ;o)
Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to take a closer look of this piece.
The Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm f/1.7 was a standard prime lens with manual focus (originally intended for the Minolta SLRs- logical when you think about the age of the lens) nowadays suitable for Full Frame and APS-C sensors, manufactured from 1966 to 1972. A lens for Minolta SR (MC,MD) mount. The current average price on EBay or in various forums is about 20 to 40 Euros. OK, more you really do not pay for it.

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/2.8
As usual in front a little bit of statistics:
The prime lens with a 55mm focal length has a weight from 230 gr. (7,8 oz) and the dimensions of 37 x 61 mm. The  aperture had six blades and can be closed from f/1.7 to f/16.  The minimum focus distance is 55 mm (1,75 ft.). The filter thread is 52 mm.

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/5.6
Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/5.6

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/5.6
The lens is all metal and very solid, have a nice feel to it.
The aperture ring is very precise and clearly audible. The photographer can adjust the aperture with a little practice without eye contact. The adjustment distance for sharpness is a little short.  But with the help of the focus peaking, it is straightforward to find at a Sony NEX or the Sony a7 the correct focus point.  I have used a simple and cheap adapter NEX - MC/MD from China, like this one from amazon. The adapter sat perfect and plan between camera and lens. The delivery does take a little longer because the goods come from Hong Kong or directly from China, but you save a lot of money.




Let us now consider the image quality.
Wide open we find good sharpness and little corner softness. The colors are a bit washed out. At f 2.8 on the image is sharp from one corner to the other and shows excellent contrast and colors.
The optical resolution is outstanding. In the magnification to 100% every detail is very good to see. But: the lens is quite sensitive to the back light. The contrast is gone, it flares arise light. Photos are relatively unattractive. Closing the aperture brings no improvement. Here's a particularly two bad examples of the effect of backlighting:

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/2.8
Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/5.6
Remedy a lens hood for the 52mm filter thread. The lens itself has no special bayonet for a sun visor. 
You can safely buy a cheap replica from China as this one on amazon.  Who is on branded goods, should buy the original Leica, but costs about 50 euros. 
The Minolta Rokkor is even suitable as a portrait lens. On an APS-C sensor, such as the Sony NEX-3N equivalent focal length 75 mm. But even at the full format as on the Sony a7 you can easily customize portraits. Look here:

Sony a7 with Minolta PF-Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 at f/4.0
To sum times together: the lens is very high quality; it makes from Aperture 2 to 2.8 very sharp, crisp images, and you'll get it relatively cheap to buy. What more do you want? Do you need more light intensity, then look to lenses with an aperture from 1.2 or 1.4, otherwise you can buy this lens without hesitation. With this lens you can easily shoot photos with available light. No problem.
I wish all my readers: Always good light!