Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 – review

Published by Tony on

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

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

This little lady is one of the winners in ‘unexpectedly surprising IQ lens’ competition. Really, how about the lens from 1981 which works like the most famous and expensive modern competitors? Got doubt? The results of the tests are below.

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 + X700

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 (MD III, New-MD) specifications

minolta.eazypix.de index81
Name engraved on lensMD
f[mm]35
A max [1/f]2,8
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]5
Lens design [gr.]5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]49
Lens Shadeclip-in
closefocus[m/ft]0.3/1
Dimension Ø x length [mm]64×38
Weight[g]170
Year1981
StyleMD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.592-810

Floating elementsNO (full support by autofocused adapters)
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies100%
Reviewed lens SN:8024417

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 exterior

Mounted on Minolta X-700

This is a very suitable set – the camera and lens have the same design (1981 released)

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 lens-shade

BTW: one of the rarest collectible items by Minolta – is the 50mm 1.4-1.7-1.8 lens-shade – this is a target for any collector. But this 35mm lens-shade – is absolutely the same as for 50mm, except marks of course. And finding lens hood for 35mm lenses is much easier.

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance:10% longer than minimal focus distance marked on the lens
  • 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

Scene preview

Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions)

Test results (full version – all 9 positions)

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 MD 35mm 1:2.8 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.3m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (0.6-0.7m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance + 10% of scale, diodes were fixed in 2m distance

Demo Photos dedicated article

Minolta MD 35mm 1:2.8 (or Minolta MD 35mm F/2.8, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

This lens is an amazing masterpiece designed by Minolta.  It is ready for anything from wide-open F2.8 and becomes totally sharp over the whole frame at F5.6. It is not so fast as another ND sister – MD 35/1.8, but this 35/2.8 is sharper on any stop. Yes, even on F2.8. Of course, the lens is small, lightweight, durable, convenient in operating. Aberrations are almost absent. After the tests of many different Minoltas, I would say carefully that, probably, this MD III 35mm 1:2.8 – is the best lens for SR mount by the sum of all possible traits. It is especially surprising that so little attention was paid to this lens in the period from 80′ up to today, and it always remained a hidden gem.

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2 Comments

Andrea · 2021-03-26 at 21:16

Is the MD W. Rokkor version equally performing? Thank you

    Tony · 2021-03-26 at 23:46

    I prefer not to talk about lenses that I haven’t tested. The chances are high that the two lenses are similar, based on their manufacturing history and schemes. But this is just a chance. In any case, this period was wonderful for Minolta, and you will definitely not regret using MD-I lenses

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