Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 – vintage manual lens test and review

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

This is the ideal lens. If a photographer gets this lens first – then all other lenses in the photo-bag will be the Minolta only. It’s like an essence of the fifties – the last generation which absorbs all the best from predecessors and balanced in all aspects.

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 + X700

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 (MD III, New-MD) specifications

minolta.eazypix.de index 97
Name engraved on the lens MD
f[mm] 50
A max [1/f] 1.4
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 7
Lens design [gr.] 6
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×40
Weight[g] 235
Year 1981
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2521-800
Floating elements NO (full support by autofocused adapters)
Aperture blades number 6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies 100%
Reviewed lens SN: 8271095

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 exterior

Mounted on Minolta X-700

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

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 lens shade:

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, portrait-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

Printed file

Scene preview

Test results

Additional: Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

This is a rather complicated and not very visual test. It gives an idea of possible deviations between different sides of the lens. You can skip it, the usual three-point sharpness tests are enough to understand the capabilities of the lens.

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

 

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 50mm 1:1.4 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.45m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

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

Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance + 10% of scale (about 0.5m), diodes were fixed in 2m distance

Light bubbles bokeh, long-distance

On the minimal focusing distance 0.45m

Other resources with tests and reviews:

Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 (or Minolta MD 50mm F/1.4, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

I agree with people who think that this lens is the best 50mm lens in the world ever. It may be really true – the sharpest among other MD 50mm lenses, it has quite low aberrations and beautiful bokeh with a perfect and interesting character of smoothing. It’s very fast with F1.4 and provides thin DOF of course. The combination of characteristics makes this lens in my eyes the ideal around 50mm – it can be used in any style of photos on any aperture with no doubts. One more thing – it is better than previously reviewed MD 50mm F 1.2 in all aspects, except presented F1.2 of course. And it works great even wide open. If you are choosing the first Minolta lens – buy this 50/1.4 and you will be inspired into MD lenses at all.


11 Comments

gustavo Ibarra · 2018-09-07 at 02:36

Did you compare this with the rokkor Pg? I have that one but also waiting this MD on the mail box any time the next week.

    Tony · 2018-09-07 at 10:05

    Yes, it has been compared with Minolta MC PG 50 1.4

      gustavo Ibarra · 2018-09-08 at 06:17

      Cool, yes, I’m extremely happy with the Pg, I like it even more than the zeiss 55 (wich I sold), I will play around with both, read your analisis when ready and keep the “best” of them. Regards!

Sroyon · 2019-02-16 at 08:29

Hi, thanks for your detailed reviews! Can I ask, where do you get the hand-drawn lens diagrams? Like this one: https://photolenses.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/minolta_md_50_14___944.jpg. I like them a lot!

    Tony · 2019-02-16 at 22:56

    I drew it myself. Just circled around the contour over the bright light ))

      Sroyon · 2019-02-16 at 23:47

      Oh wow, great job! Sorry, a follow-up question: where do you get the geometrical diagrams on the right?

        Tony · 2019-02-17 at 18:18

        The same idea, just a little bit more complicated realization )) – https://lens.ws//2019/02/17/lens-qa-works-optical-design-schemes-how-to/

          Sroyon · 2019-02-17 at 18:25

          oh WOW this is amazing! Thank you SO much, it was very cool to see your workflow! I guess there will be one more level of complication with aspherical lenses haha!

          Tony · 2019-02-17 at 18:50

          Yes, aspherical elements make ‘remaking’ a little bit longer.. Not so much, but anyway..

feline_Ivy · 2019-12-23 at 20:09

Tony, have you put up the wrong images for section ‘Long Distance Bokeh’? I checked the images taken under same condition (focus at 1m, buildings at infinity) in the reviews for MC Rokkor PG/ MD-I / MD-II 50mm f/1.4 lenses, the bokeh of new MD 50mm f/1.4 is drastically smaller than the others, which is weird. I just cannot explain that difference.

    Tony · 2019-12-23 at 21:15

    You are right. But it isn’t a mistake – files are correct. I think that the keyword is “conditions” – this is the influence of another light direction. These tests relate to those that may be compared face-to-face only, otherwise, the influence of external factors can greatly change perception. Therefore, I use them only in reviews, but not in comparisons. Someday I will redo these tests to get comparison tables, but this is not soon – not all SLR lenses from this world have been tested even for sharpness 🙂

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