Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 – MC II – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 vintage manual lens review (Minolta MC Tele Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=55mm)

  • Official classification: MC
  • Collector’s classification: MC II, Hills &Valleys, Knurled

It is difficult to predict the test results by lenses with average specifications. Sometimes they can give us surprises because are working better than more powerful sisters. This Minolta 55/1.7 also has such a chance: it is not ultra-fast and not from the top-end of the products line, but F1.7 still sufficient for a photographer. And the one more nice feature – low price makes it affordable for everyone.

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 + Minolta SRT 101

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 specifications

minolta.eazypix.de index118
Name engraved on lensMC ROKKOR-PF
f55
A max1.7
A min16
Elements6
Groups5
Filter thread52
Lens ShadeD52ND
close0.5/1.75
Dimension63×37
Weight230
Year1970
StyleMC II
Code No.632-2xx

More data

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh
Reviewed Lens SN:2716204

Historical notes

This is the second and final reincarnation of Rokkor 55/1.7. Previously on this focal distance, Minolta has produced lenses with max F1.8, later they switched to 50mm only. With this particular characteristics – 55mm 1:1.7 – the just two exist, the first “flat-grip” and the later “knurled” (MC-I and MC-II by collectors classification). The difference is in the shape of focusing rings, but it needs to be remembered that 60′-70′ was a period of permanent changes and better to admit that even lenses with close serials may show a different behavior until proven otherwise. Unfortunately, all these 55/1.7 aren’t popular and I have not enough information.

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 lens exterior:

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 mounted on On Minolta SR-T 101

This set is authentic, both camera and lens were in production in the same period of time:

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 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

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

Scene preview

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

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test#1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.45m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Test#2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2m

Light bubbles bokeh – infinity

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.45m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2m

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.7 – final conclusion

The construction

My first expression was “what an elegant shape”. The lens is built by “glass and steel” but opposite to many other MC generation lenses, it looks and weighs not as a tank. Graceful – is the nice word to describe it.

The lens saves the ‘easy to fix’ ability and may be fully reassembled with a minimal set of tools and skills. Not regarding this Rokkor but to many other classic lenses, I suggest paying attention for lenses with some fungus or oiled apertures because it can significantly drop a price but many lenses from 60′-80′ have a simple construction and can be cleaned without affecting of photos. But be careful – need to understand what is under the hood before purchasing a ‘lens with questions’ – some of them require professional hands. This particular copy was acquired with a slight fog inside and oiled aperture blades and has been cleaned.

The IQ

The resolution and aberrations are not strong sides of Minolta MC 55mm F1.7. Not bad but not something special. The sharpness distribution over the frame became enough good just for F5.6 – here the lens is very sharp and may be used for any photographer’s tasks.

Better to avoid wide open F1.7 for any tasks. Except… The portrait is the only photography style for which I can recommend this lens without doubts. To be honest, at first glance on test results I wasn’t impressed by the abilities, but the sharpest pixels are not all that we want to get from a good photographic tool. Here is the unpredictable case: the wide-open F1.7 gives a magic result for 2-3 meters distance – a little swirly bokeh with the nice underlining of an object and balanced sharpness for a skin. By the way – “swirly bokeh” isn’t an often case for Minolta lenses, so this lens may be interesting for fans just because of unusual behavior.

Note: ‘swirly bokeh’ is not an advantage or a disadvantage – it’s just a lens feature and may be good or bad depends on using

As a result

This Rokkor 55/1.7 isn’t a universal lens from the modern point of view and I can’t suggest it to everyone because of some issues, but it is one of the cheapest ‘bokeh-kings’ which may provide the beautiful portraits. And don’t forget about the nice F5.6. I recommend trying it wide-open in a real photo-session with a good object and a good background.


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