Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 – review

Published by Tony on

Chiyoko 50mm f:2.8 Super Rokkor aka Chiyoko Super Rokkor 1:2.8 f=5cm C (Minolta) lens review.

This lens isn’t interesting for modern photographers, and nobody expects a great IQ from such a class of optics, but the lens has a personal place in the history of photo-industry.

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 + Sony A

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 Super Rokkor (Minolta) parameters:

Name engraved on lensCHIYOKO SUPER ROKKOR
f[mm]50
A max [1/f]2.8
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]5
Lens design [gr.]3
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]40.5
MountLTM (aka LSM, m39, etc.)
closefocus[m/ft]1/3.3
Dimension Ø x length [mm]47×37
Weight[g]175
Year1954
Aperture blades8

More data

Floating elementsNO
Serial1511817
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesAverage

Additional information:

  • This lens was introduced in 1954 (with s/n ‘1 500 001’ ) with new Minolta 35 Model II camera and has two editions
  • Some of these Chiyoko were marked with red-“C”, it means “multi-layer lens coating”. Yes, this is one of the first lenses in our history with a multi-layer coating (other two: Chiyoko Super Rokkor 50mm 1:1.8 and Chiyoko Rokkor 35mm 1:3.5) (source – canonrangefinder.org)
  • Biggest known s/n is about ‘1 603 xxx’ but there was a gap between ‘1 511 xxx’ and ‘1 600 001’. So the total number of produced lenses is about 16 000 copies (not over 100k as it can be imagined). This lens is rare. (source – collection-appareils.fr)
  • It is the cheapest 50mm lens in Chiyoda Kogaku/Chiyoko LTM line
  • On the right side of the field depth scale, there will be a red dot, indicating the focus mark with the infrared film. (source – collection-appareils.fr)
  • The reviewed copy has defects, which can slightly affect the performance in corners, but I hope it doesn’t happen. But I can’t check it… But I must say it.
  • Reviewed Copy has a number of air bubbles in the center of the front lens – don’t worry about it, it’s OK for old optics and allowed by old standards of production. This trait makes this particular copy more interesting from the collector’s point of view.

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 exterior

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview:

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Test results

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 1m, plants are in 3m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (2m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Test#2

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (1m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance. This is a rare case for real photography but demonstrates the maximum possible level of blur

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 1m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

This is a rare case for real photography but demonstrates the maximum possible level of blur

Chiyoko 50mm 1:2.8 – other resources with reviews:

Chiyoko 50MM F2.8 (Chiyoda Kogaku Chiyoko Super Rokkor 1:2.8 f=5cm C, Minolta) – overall conclusion

This is the cheapest, smallest, and lightest Super Rokkor 50mm lens. So, it expectable that it has low IQ in terms of sharpness and aberrations. But these aberrations allow this lens to draw beautiful pictures. On the other hand, it is slow enough. It may be recommended for real photography in two cases, the first: if old-school or historical -like view is needed – this would be one of the best choices. Second: the photographer likes experiments. So, this is the lens with very special character, but not for every day using from the modern point of view.

This is the first lens that was bought directly for review. I realize that I’m not going to use it during real photo-sessions.


2 Comments

Paul Sokk · 2021-07-12 at 06:09

Great reviews and fantastic that you cover the Minolta 35 rangefinder lenses!

However, one minor point. Your specs for the 45mm say 8 blades and for the 5cm f/2.8 9blades. It’s actually the other way around. The 45mm features 9 curved blades and the 5cm 8 more angular blades (similar to the 10 of the f/2 and f/1.8).

    Tony · 2021-07-12 at 14:11

    I cannot describe how much I am grateful to you. Thank you!
    Fixed
    BTW – 35/3.5 testing is in the queue, I hope to finish it close to the autumn. Probably it is the last test of Minolta rangefinder-lenses, it looks impossible to get others

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