Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 – vintage manual lens test and review

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

This is an outstanding portrait lens with an unexpected IQ for so small dimensions. So yes, it is sharp even wide-open.

Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 + X700

Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 (MD III, New-MD) specifications

minolta.eazypix.de index140
Name engraved on the lensMD
f[mm]85
A max [1/f]2
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]6
Lens design [gr.]5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]49
Lens Shadeclip-in
closefocus[m/ft]0.85/3
Dimension Ø x length [mm]64×53.5
Weight[g]285
Year1981
StyleMD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.685-810

More data:


Floating elementsNO (full support by autofocused adapters)
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies100%
Reviewed lens SN:8001103


Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 exterior

Mounted on Minolta X-700

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

Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 lens shade:


Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

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 85mm 1:2.0 aberrations

Vignetting


Geometric distortion


Coma aberrations


Chromatic aberrations


Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.85m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera


Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1.5m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance


Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance + 10% of scale (about 1m), diodes were fixed in 2m distance


Other resources with reviews of this lens:


Minolta MD 85mm 1:2.0 (or Minolta MD 85mm F/2.0, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

You know this is the legendary lens: sharp even wide-opened, has great bokeh, nice fire resistance, almost absent aberrations. Legendary Antony Hands called it the best Minolta lens ever. This is probably an ideal second number for a photographer’s bag after normal lenses (35-50mm). No doubt that this lens can easily compete with top-level 85mm lenses in the world, including modern releases. It is so small that it can be confused with a fifty. Definitely it is another one Minolta gem.



2 Comments

David Jenkins · 2019-02-06 at 19:09

This is great, your website has a wealth of information! Do you plan on doing a review of the classical 85mm 1.7? I’d be interested in how these two compare in this test.

    Tony · 2019-02-06 at 20:07

    Thank you, I’m glad to hear it. About Rokkor 85mm f:1.7 – it’s in the the list already, and one nice copy is available, I hope to finish review and comparison with MD III in next a few months , at the end of spring or so

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