Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro – MC II – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro – vintage manual lens review (Minolta MC Macro Rokkor-QE 1:3.5 f=100mm)

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

The first feeling: it’s not a lens – it’s a howitzer. Every Rokkor from pre-rubberized generations looks like a rock, but this macro-hundred is the champion among others. Even huge and twice heavier Rokkor MC 300mm 1:5.6 looks more elegant than this hunk of metal with a few pieces of glass.

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro + Minolta SRT-101

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro specifications:

minolta.eazypix.de index159
Name engraved on lensMC MACRO ROKKOR-QE
f100
A max3.5
A min22
Elements5
Groups4
Filter thread55
Lens Shadescrew-in
close0.45/1.5
Dimension75×88.5
Weight550
Year1972
StyleMC II
Code No.654

More data

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh
Reviewed Lens SN:1016005

I was lucky to get almost complete set – the lens, macro 1×1 extension tube, 55mm reverse ring, original two-parts case, lens-shade (or hood), caps.

A little explain for readers, who aren’t familiar with a macro-gear:

  • Macro extension tube aka Macro 1×1 adapter aka macro 1×1 converter aka 1×1 macro-ring, etc. Briefly: 1×1 macro means that if you have a coin with a 10mm diameter than the projection of this coin will be 10mm on the sensor of your camera. 1×2 macro means that image of 10mm real coin will take just 5mm on the sensor etc. Another example: microscopes are optical systems with codings like 2×1 because projections are bigger than real items. So, without any additional options, this Macro Rokkor can provide 1×2 macro, but with the attached extender – the ‘true’ 1×1. If you are going to take photos of an object with a size less than 24x36mm (35mm format) – you may need the tube. If an object is bigger – no need to attach it. Of course, such a description is a simplification but can help at first steps.
  • Macro reverse ring. Many lenses, installed backward, turn into a macro. This ring has a 55mm thread to screw it on the front of a lens like a filter, and Minolta-SR mount bracing on the opposite side. The ring works for any possible lenses with a 55mm filter thread.

Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 was born as ‘knurled’ – with deep grooves on the ring of sharpness, and has no previous versions. The next generation has got rubber focusing ring, so, if real ‘steel&glass’ models are needed – only this MCII incarnation is suitable. And no problems with the weight – rubberized MC-X models even heavier for 50gr (600gr instead of 550gr). If a lightweight is required then go to the latest New MD generation, or MD Rokkors at least.

Sales date – September 1972.

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro lens exterior:

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro accessories

Look at the 1×1 adapter – it has the tripod support.

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro mounted on Minolta SR-T 101

This set is suitable, the camera and lens are from one period.

Minolta MC Rokkor QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro 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 QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro – 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

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 QE 100mm 1:3.5 Macro – final conclusion:

The lens has been tested like a normal lens, macro-abilities were skipped for today.

Here I see the hard choice – the shellproof exterior and feel of heavy metal in a hand, but the average or, better to say – not outstanding optic quality (yes, yes, we always expect a superior IQ from Minolta lenses) and the heavyweight body. I do not know whether to advise this lens or not. Judge for yourself:

  • It has not a good sharpness distribution over the frame up to F8 – because of a lack of details at corners. It would be a problem for a normal lens but for macro shooting, F8 is just a minimal aperture, and F11-F16 is normal.
  • Chromatic aberrations are big enough if wide-open. But who cares about chromatics for today? That’s the one-click on any good photo-editor.
  • The lens is too heavy from the modern point of view. It’s not convenient for the outdoors/field-macro sessions. But some people like the feeling during a process more than the final result.

And, as usual, it’s easy to perform CLA for the lens, even without special skills and expensive instruments. And prices for today still aren’t overheated.

I think this lens can be recommended just in case you take a close-up macro from time to time. If you shoot macros often, then I would advise you to choose something more modern. And, frankly, the reason is not so much in optical quality, but in weight.


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