Review: Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4

Another Minolta New MD 50mm F1.4 lens review.

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

After getting a new lens, I always take a few technical shots to understand its strengths and weaknesses – usually it helps me a lot to start using unknown lens with much less of doubt. One day I decided that my data might be interesting for someone else and this site has been made.
MD_50_1_4_DSC00521.jpg

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

minolta.eazypix.de index 97
Name engraved on 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
Average international price (sold items) 2019: USD 100
Reviewed lens SN: 8271095


Lens exterior:

(Please, forgive me the dust on the lens, I never have the patience to clean objects for close-up photo sessions)

Mounted on Minolta X-700:

Lens code name – Pepperoni ペパロニ

Pepperoni – is a student from Anzio Girls High School, and, together with Carpaccio, she serves as the Sensha-dō team’s vice-commander. She operates a Carro Veloce CV.33.


Sharpness – portrait distance:

Test description: target is a 10×15 cm picture (printed, glossy photo paper), fixed on the wall by scotch. Distance – 1.7m. Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) was fixed on the tripod and managed remotely with computer display as a viewfinder. All groups of shots were repeated 3 times for every target position on all apertures from fully opened up to F16, ISO-200, WB – same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot. After all needed shots have been taken for one target position – I moved  the target to the next place. Main idea – to exclude the field curvature affect on so close distance. Of course, I can’t be absolutely accurate, but test results looks correct.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings (Some single files have a slight light correction, for better visual convenience in comparison), then cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files

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

rory mercury 1.jpg

Scene preview:

FDN5014_b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MD5014__c_res_close.jpg


Resolution – close distance:

Test description: target is a 10×15 cm picture (printed, glossy photo paper), fixed on the wall by scotch. Distance – about 0.5m – very close to the minimal focus distance marked on the lens. Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) was fixed on the tripod and managed remotely with computer display as a viewfinder. All groups of shots were repeated 9 times for every target position on all apertures from fully opened up to F16, ISO-100, WB – same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot. After all needed shots have been taken for one target position – I moved  the target to the next place.

test_scene_view300x200

Main idea – to exclude the field curvature affect on so close distance.

Of course, I can’t be absolutely accurate, but so many repeats of shots – 4 for corners, 2 for long side, 2 for short side are giving me insurance that test results are correct.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings (Some single files have a slight light correction, for better visual convenience in comparison), then cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.

Scene preview:

_MD_50_1_4_F_preview2

Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions):

50_1_4_close_dist_test_SHORT.jpg

Test results (full version – all 9 positions):

50_1_4_close_dist_test_FULL.jpg


Resolution – long distance:

Test description: Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) was fixed on the tripod and managed remotely with computer display as a viewfinder. Targets (buildings) were fixed by gravity power on the distances in more than 200 meters. All shots have been taken with apertures from fully opened up to F16. ISO-100. Shutter Speed – depends on light (camera A-mode), WB – fixed and the same for all shots. SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot to exclude focus-shift affect.

Finally, pictures were converted from ARW-files in Capture One with default settings (Some single files have a slight light correction, for better visual convenience in comparison), then were cropped for 300×200 px elements, combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.

Scene preview:

_MD_50_1_4_F_longdist_scene2

Test results:

50_1_4_LONGDIST.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)


Close distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance (0.45m), plants were fixed in 2m distance from camera in front of the window with bright light from outside.

(frame scaled 1200×800, bokeh covers the frame partially)


Long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)


Light dots bokeh:

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance, lights were fixed in more than 200m.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is demonstration of extreme conditions. In most cases of real life photography the blur level will be less.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MinoltaMD50_14_DotsLongdistTotal


Another resources with tests and reviews:


My overall conclusion about the Minolta N-MD 50mm 1:1.4F (Minolta MD III 50mm F/1.4):

I agree with people who think that this lens is the best 50mm lens in the world ever. It can be really true – the sharpest among other MD 50mm lenses, it has a quite low aberrations and beautiful bokeh with 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 opened. If you are choosing your first Minolta lens – buy this 50/1.4 and you will be inspired into MD lenses at all.


This lens took part in battles:

MD5012_MD5014_MD5017_MD5020_MDM5035_Battle__Avatar
50mmLTM_Serenars_MSR_Battle__AvatarFDN5014_MD5014_Battle__Avatar
MDZ2450_MD2428_MD2828x5_MD3528_MD5014_Battle__Avatar
MDZ3570_SCZ3528_MD5014_Battle__Avatar
Battle__Avatar.png


9 thoughts on “Review: Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4”

  1. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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!

    Like

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