Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 W. – SR – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta W.Rokkor-QE 1:4.0 f=35mm lens review, aka Minolta Rokkor 35mm 1:4 SR

  • Official classification: SR
  • Collector’s classification: SR

Not a very rare, but also not a very popular lens, which should definitely get its review on the site. This is Minolta’s very early 35mm lens for SLR cameras. Looks like a bit cheaper option with F4.0 instead of the earliest one with F2.8 (AR I)

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 specifications

# in minolta.eazypix.de index82
Name engraved on the lensW.ROKKOR-QE
f[mm]35
A max [1/f]4
A min[1/f]22
Lens design [el.]5
Lens design [gr.]4
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm]55
Lens ShadeD57KC
closefocus[m/ft]0.4/1.25
Dimension Ø x length [mm]62×36
Weight[g]210
Year1960
StyleSR
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No.526 or LFJ
Notes

 

Floating elementsNO
Aperture blades number8
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesenough
Reviewed Lens SN:1123254

Historical note

There were two versions of this lens. The earlier SR, which we are testing right now, and the last one is SR (according to the collector’s classification) or SR-C (C means ‘compact’). The compact reincarnation was slightly smaller in size, a bit lighter, and had a 52mm filter thread, unlike the earlier one with its 55mm. Optically and mechanically, both versions are the same (it is considered so at least).

The lens has a “pre-set” design, true old-school, so the lever is for the pre-set control ring.

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 lens exterior

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 mounted on camera SR-1

Enough authentic set – the camera and lens could be purchased at the same time

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal 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

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

Scene preview

Test results

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 sharpness

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 Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 sharpness

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.4m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

Test#2:

Test conditions: lens was focused on 1m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance (0.4m), lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 1m

Minolta Rokkor QE 35mm 1:4.0 – final conclusion

 

The historical significance of this lens is much higher than practical. In today’s environment, we have hundreds of 35mm lenses to choose from, and our Minolta 35mm f4 will be far from the top in this multitude of competitors.

Let’s start with the good. Lens has ideal geometry – it’s a big point for the wide-angel lens. Coma is small, and chromatic aberrations are absent. The vignetting is presented but nothing serious.

The lens is built of metal and glass, it is compact enough and looks immortal. Seriously, the reviewed copy is 60 years old and has never even had its oil changed.

As for the disadvantages. The main problem is the lack of sharpness in the corners. At the same time, the center and middle positions look very good. Perhaps this lens will be a good choice on APS-С cameras, but our main goal is a full-frame, no? The maximum aperture at F4 also looks insufficient for some situations. And the last thing – the “preset” type construction is rather inconvenient. 

As for me, from the modern point of view, this lens has enough drawbacks, and probably should not be advised to photographers. But it has a high collectible value, as already mentioned – this is the second (I can’t be sure but it looks so, anyway – it’s very early) 35mm Minolta lens for SLR cameras. Its importance cannot be overemphasized.

 


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