Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MD II – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MD II (49mm filter thread) – vintage manual lens test and review

  • Official classification: MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD II

This is one of five 50/1.4 lenses made by Minolta. One of the best.

BTW – all of them are the best.

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII + Sony A

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII specifications:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index96
Name engraved on lensMD ROKKOR
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 Shadeâ€â€
closefocus[m/ft]0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm]64×40
Weight[g]220
Year1979
StyleMD II
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.2521-500 (-700)

More data

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh
Reviewed lens SN:4077444

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII lens exterior:

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII 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

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

Test results:

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test#1:

Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.45m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Test#2

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

Light bubbles bokeh

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.45m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test#2:

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 1m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Other resources with reviews:

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 MDII – overall conclusion:

The site contains the review about newer Minolta MDIII 50/1.4 – these lenses are like twins from the performance point of view, the main difference is in the body design of course, and one another little difference is between shapes of two optical elements inside, but without viewable influence for an image rendering.

So, the conclusion about this MDII is the same as about MDIII – ‘best of the best’. This is my favorite line of Minolta’s F1.4 fifties which is started from MDII up to restyled Minolta AF 50mm and even to Sony AF 50 mm f/ 1.4 (SAL-50F14). All of these lenses have an ideal balance between resolution, aberrations, and bokeh. Only MD 50/1.2 may be better in the case for only one lens in the bag because a bit more universal, but the rule ‘only one lens for any case’ is a too extreme condition, usually, a photographer has two or three lenses in a range from wide- to tele- and in this way 50/1.4 is preferable.

Just grab any incarnation of this must-have fifty-bomb if you don’t have it yet.


3 Comments

howiedewing · 2021-07-11 at 04:56

I’m pretty sure it was this lens, with that beautiful bright orange Rokkor-X logo on the front, that came with the Minolta XG-M I received in 1981. It must have been among the last available in stock for that camera/lens combination; later Rokkor-X lenses were painted white before Minolta eliminated the Rokkor designation altogether. With 400-speed film and a 1/15th shutter speed (and much younger, steadier nerves), it could see in the dark; a candle-lit room could be easily photographed. I nearly put this lens onto an XD 11 camera, but, like you, I have an irresistible attraction for 1:1.2 lenses and found a very nice MD II with that orange Rokkor-X emblazoned on the front. It’s difficult to go wrong with any of Minolta’s lenses, but also difficult to sort out just which ones I want to get. Your tireless and valuable work with these tests are fascinating to go through, and hopefully many other Minolta lovers can glean some useful information from you. Thank you once again for your dedication.

    Tony · 2021-07-11 at 13:05

    I’m sure – you are right as usual.
    We know that this is the last Rokkor 50/1.4 (md-II). But the XG-m (X-70) camera is considered the first camera, which was released with the new logo “Rising Sun” “from scratch” – that was the start of a post-Rokkors period of Minolta. These are products of approximately the same period of time and could be purchased simultaneously in one shop. Thank you very much for your detailed comment

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