Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 – MC-X – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 (MC-X) engraved as “Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 1:1.2 f=58mm” lens review

  • Official classification: MC
  • Collector’s classification: MC-X

A very important introduction: by popular collector’s classification this lens has three main versions (MC I, MC II and MC-X), this review is for the latest version with a rubberized focus ring. The site already has a review of the second version (non-radioactive copy), and from the point of view of mechanics and optics, the difference between these two lenses is either absent or extremely insignificant. Therefore, I will use a lot of copy-paste from an earlier article.
However, all tests are original and made on the specific lens for which this review is written.
(A review of the earliest version will definitely be made in the future in order to completely close the topic of this lens model)

Here is the MC II version review:

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 specifications

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 131
Name engraved on lens MC ROKKOR(-X) (PG)
f[mm] 58
A max [1/f] 1,2
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 7
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade D55NC
closefocus[m/ft] 0.6/2
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 70.8×54
Weight[g] 478
Year 1973
Style MC-X
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 633-2xx (-3xx)
Notes

More data

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 8
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies High
Reviewed Lens SN: 2598806

Historical note

This lens has “The legend” status, it’s well known and demanded by collectors or photographers. The popularity is happened because of the fact that Minolta MC PG 58mm 1/1.2 is on the top in the list of ‘bokeh monsters for a whole human history of photography’. Even, maybe, it is Number One Monster by popularity. If a photographer thinks about bokeh rendering, cares about the “3D effect” on photos, and looking for the best bokeh-tool ever – then this lens should be in a photographer’s bag.

My copy has s/n 2598806. It’s MC-X version, or the third of totally three versions available (a simplified approach – to avoid the digging into different marks and colors of marks):

#1 – full metal but not “Hills&Valleys/Knurled”
#2 – full metal “Hills&Valleys/Knurled”
#3 – rubberized

All three versions look optically identical. Strictly speaking, it isn’t true for 100% because that was a period of permanent experiments and updates of production Minolta lenses, this fact matters most for collectors, I’m not sure that photographers have a chance to feel the difference. But differences in body design can be seen easily.

The third version of the lens is never radioactive. If you are interested in the question of the radioactivity of Rokkor 58/1.2, then look at the review about the second version, there you will find more details.

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 lens exterior

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 lens shade

The original lens shade is coded as D55NC, also the later version has existed – without code but with simple text on a side “MC 58mm F 1.2” – very suitable for MC-II generation:

A bit more about shades for Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2

This is not suitable but popular lens shade – Minolta D57KB which is authentic for Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 55mm F1.8 and Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 – it works enough good, and photographers often recommend it because of convenient attaching:

Attention: this lens-shade gives a slight vignetting at corners on opened apertures. Thanks to Jan Koning for that notice and for the scheme with proof:

One more note: many companies called such devices as “Lens Hood” (wiki), but Minolta is from a team that prefers “Lens Shade”.

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 mounted on camera Minolta XD

Not a strongly authentic set – the camera is a bit younger but the combination looks awesome.

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 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 PG 58mm 1:1.2 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.6m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

Test#2:

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2.0m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.6m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2.0m

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm 1:1.2 – final conclusion

I is difficult to maintain a personal opinion under the pressure of statements from five generations of photographers. But I haven’t collected something new or uncommon about the behavior of this Rokkor – everything looks like expected after the reading “of statements from five generations of photographers”.

Disadvantages

The lens is big, heavy, and not convenient in use. It has huge all-types aberrations on F1.2, and even more – a little softness can be seen in corners up to F5.6. But it’s possible to say that lens is better than most of another lens with the same characteristics from the same age. The sharpness can be called amazing for the Center and Middle positions of a frame. A softness is presented of course, but the lens doesn’t have issues with displaying details even on F1.2. I don’t understand how it possible, but this is a great lens for portraiture.

It gives the amazing feeling of Steel&Glass lens in hands and looks like a tank. But be careful – the lens has quite thin elements in the internal structure and can be damaged as a result of careless handling. I’m not going to say that construction is unreliable, it isn’t of course, because a lot of these lenses continue to work from 70′ up to today, it was just a note – MC 58/1.2 PG has more complicated construction than other Minolta fifties. Unlike for many other manual  lenses, I can’t repeat words that it can be reassembled and tuned with a kitchen knife in 10 mins (see the video by Matt Bierner).

Advantages

All mentioned issues are payment for the possibility of taking photos with one of the most attractive art-lens in the world. MC PG 58/1.2 has the unique combination of some parameters – 58mm focal distance, huge front, and back elements, 8 aperture blades, and good enough IQ starting from F1.2 – all of this makes the lens very suitable for an objects/portraits photography. Actually, I can’t say that such bokeh is the best one – a lot of another lens are able to provide the ‘smooth and creme and bla-bla-bla’ abstract pictures on a background, but only this lens can mix really lovely bokeh with thin DOF and with 58mm perspective, it gives a good chance to create magic photos in absolutely trivial environments.

On the other hand – this lens isn’t a good choice for common photography or for the role of universal gear – because of disadvantages mentioned above and because not all scenes need such approach: on closed apertures, this monster stops to be outstanding, and limitations come to the fore. You know the common idea about “All lenses are the same at F8”.

As a result: I think that the lens isn’t too overpriced – such possibilities are worth its market price. This is the unique lens that can make photographers happy, especially those who like thin DOF and games with bokeh. Gladly, this lens is not rare: there are a lot of copies on auctions anytime, just prices are growing more and more.

 


0 Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: