Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA – vintage manual lens test and review

  • Official classification: New-MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD III

This lens is enough rare and if I were not a fan of New-MD I think I would not hunt for it at all, even for the review. It is not difficult to find one of the predecessors – Rokkor Shift MD 35mm 1:2.8 but this latest New-MD version is from the top of the list ‘disappeared from all radars’.

Shift lenses are born for professional using by photographers with a narrow specialization – wikipedia.

Anyway, I was lucky to get one for the review.

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA + Minolta X-700

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA specifications:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index87
Name engraved on the lensSHIFT CA
f[mm]35
A max [1/f]2.8
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]9
Lens design [gr.]7
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]55
Lens Shadescrew-in
closefocus[m/ft]0.3/1
Dimension Ø x length [mm]83.5×71.5
Weight[g]555
Year1982
StyleMD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.613-810

More data

Floating elementsunknown
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh
Reviewed Lens SN:8001061

History

There are four reincarnations were produced – the three Minolta Shift CA Rokkor MD 35mm F2.8: MC-X, MD-I, MD-II generations (by collectors classification), and finally the new one hero of this review – New-MD generation (MD III by collectors classification). It’s considered that optically and mechanically all are the same, the difference is just in the exterior.

Additionally to the shift-feature, this lens is equipped with VFC (Variable Field Curvature) control. The same as Minolta MD VFC 24mm F2.8. Only Minolta had this technology. As a result, if we add a “tilt” adapter, like on the photo below, then we get an absolutely unique product: “Tilt-Shift-VFC” lens. Greetings for geeks.

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA + Sony A7II

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA lens exterior

Box set

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA + box

 

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA lens shade

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA mounted on camera Minolta X-700

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA 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

(note for perfectionists: do not pay attention to the slope of the horizon, please)

Test results

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA 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 (0.3m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

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

Test#2:

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.3m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

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

Test #1

The lens is on the middle of the focusing scale – 1m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Other resources with reviews

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 Shift CA – final conclusion

My conclusion is not long:

This is a very good lens, seriously – it’s well built, enough sharpen, has low aberrations, etc. So, if you are a crazy person who is looking for the most difficult way to get shift-lens – this is your choice, and good luck to spend a few years in hunting mode. At least you will not be disappointed by the IQ. Note: from the resolution point of view it isn’t so cool as two others New-MD 35/1.8 and 35/2.8 lenses (the battle is already on the site) but it is enough for targeted photographer’s tasks. I’m just not going to recommend this lens for real photo-sessions because of its rareness.

Some resources said that this Shift CA is identical for plain Minolta Rokkor MD 35mm 1:2.8 from MC-X generation. I don’t understand how it can be, so, if you know the truth in detail and can share it – let me know it please, and I will update this review.


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