Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 – MC II – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 vintage manual lens review (Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.9 f=55mm)

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

This lens is much more interesting to collectors than for photographers. This is because it has a special place in the line of Minolta lenses. Though of course photographers can use it too.

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 + Minolta SRT-101

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 specifications:

minolta.eazypix.de index124
Name engraved on lensMC ROKKOR-PF
f55
A max1.9
A min16
Elements6
Groups5
Filter thread52
Lens Shade
close– /1.75 ft
Dimension54×37.5
Weight225
Year1971
StyleMC II
Code No.634

More Data

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesEnough high
Reviewed Lens SN:2600339

More details

Here are some facts to underline that this lens is unique, independently of modern and very low prices:

  • It’s the first Minolta lens with the rubberized focusing ring. All other signs say that this lens is from the first MC generation.
  • The profile of rubber is close the same as for Celtic lenses, but… The longitudinal ridges of the rubber is uninterrupted on the Celtic whereas the 55/1.9 there are distinct intersections or cuts that separate them, instead of a slightly raised ridge, but below the tips of the longitudinal ridges. They are very much related, almost a prototype, but still slightly varied.” (Henrik Robeck). And yes, this lens is definitely not a Celtic.
  • By the most popular collector’s classification (minolta.easypix.de) it is the MC-II style lens. So, it’s the only one ‘not glass&steel’ MC-II. To be honest, this Rokkor looks like a challenge for any classifications.
  • The lens can be bought only with the camera SRT-100. So it does not have its own box.
  • It doesn’t have an original lens-shade (lens-hood).
  • Kits with this lens were in selling in the USA and Canada only.
  • The distance scale is marked only in feet.
  • The serial is typed outside of the filter ring and isn’t painted.
  • This the only one lens by Minolta with F1.9 wide-open (among regular lenses at least).
  • This is the last 55mm Minolta lens.
  • Let me quote the note by Andrea Apra: “Cheap lens without the full Achromatic Coating” – there are not a lot of models produced by Minolta with such description.

As you can see – this Rokkor is really something special.

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 lens exterior

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 mounted on Minolta SR-T 101 camera

This set isn’t authentic because the lens was in stores only with SRT-100 model, but SRT-101 looks enough the same as the little sister:

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 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 1:1.9 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 F1.9 – final conclusion

The high value of this Rokkor is not because of its characteristics but in the historical significance. We can not expect miracles from the lens, which was originally designed as a low-cost alternative to other competitors. It has even been in a sell for a kit-lens role for a simplified SRT-100 camera model.

About IQ, it is strange, but this cheap lens shows enough little aberrations – the coma, chromatic, vignetting and distortion looks very good, not a ‘top-3’ level but enough acceptable. Just need to remember that the maximum level of a sharpness distribution over the frame lies around F5.6, actually, the fact that it is presented is just nice, so we have a quite sharp lens, maybe not as sharp as later 50mm generations but enough for most of tasks.

Like many other Minolta lenses from 70’s it draws a nice bokeh and it better to say that it is a well balanced near-fifty lens that works even better than expected. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend it as something outstanding for photographers because a lot of other lenses from the market display the same abilities, but collectors should get it because of its unique position in the middle of production lines.

But I still want to add to the above: if you already have this lens – use it, because it shoots perfectly, like most other near-fifties.


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