Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro – vintage manual lens test and review

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

This lens is a workhorse for any cases when a photographer needs to shoot a close-up without issues and in a budget.

Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro + X700

Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro (MD III, New-MD) specifications

# in minolta.eazypix.de index112
Name engraved on the lensMD MACRO
f[mm]50
A max [1/f]3.5
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]6
Lens design [gr.]4
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]55
Lens Shade
closefocus[m/ft]0.23/0.9
Dimension Ø x length [mm]64×55.5
Weight[g]200
Year1981
StyleMD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.635-818

More data

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesVery High
Reviewed lens SN:8038372

Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro lens 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 1:3.5 Macro sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 0.4m
  • 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

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Test results

Note: little dots on the skin of the model are artifacts of printing, not the camera noise.

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 1:3.5 Macro aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.5m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

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

Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused 0.5m, diodes were fixed in 2m distance

Light bubbles bokeh

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.23m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Minolta MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro (or Minolta MD 100mm F/3.5, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

Simple, small, lightweight, convenient macro lens. I use it quite often to shooting items with a 1.5x-cropped camera: in this case, the focal distance is ‘changing’ to effective 75mm, and it enough for usual purposes. I can say more – I’m continuing to use it sometimes for short and simple tasks even after got MD 100mm F4.0 macro lens because convenience attracts. A lot of ‘portraits’ of other lenses in reviews on this site have been made with this ‘fifty’.

I’ve never thought about sharpness, geometry, chromatic aberrations, or coma (omg!) regarding this lens, because on close distances it doesn’t matter, and the same about autofocus – there is no need. I just close it to F8-F16 and take photos. Mostly in M-mode. It wasn’t surprising that this lens not so good on infinity distances like other 50mm lenses, but who are going to make landscapes with it on wide opened aperture? Close it to F8 and the result will be the same as from any other lens on the market. Additionally, it’s cheap. So, my main idea: this lens is like a tool that should always be at hand, just in case.


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