Minolta New MD macro 100mm F4.0 lens review.

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.

MDM10040_onCamera2.jpg

Minolta New-MD (MD III) 100mm 1:4 macro parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 163
Name engraved on lens MD MACRO
f[mm] 100
A max [1/f] 4
A min[1/f] 32
Lens design [el.] 5
Lens design [gr.] 4
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 66×88.5
Weight[g] 385
Year 1981
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 599-828

MDM10040_Tony_optical_design2

Minolta MD macro 100mm 1:4.0 optical design


Lens exterior:

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

 


Lens code name – Shinka Nibutani  丹生谷 森夏:

Shinka Nibutani (丹生谷 森夏 Nibutani Shinka) is one of the characters in the Japanese light novel series and anime, Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!.

 


Sharpness – close distance:

Test description: target is a 10×15 cm picture (printed, glossy photo paper), fixed on the wall by scotch. Distance – 50cm. 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-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. Main idea – to exclude the field curvature affect on so close distance.

Of course, I can’t be absolutely accurate, but test results looks good enough.

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:

MDM1004__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

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

Shinka Nibutani_2Print.png

Test results:

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

MDM1004__c_res_close.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:

MDM1004__e_far_preview

Test results:

MDM1004__e_res_far


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDM1004__f_vignetting


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDM1004_F4_0_Geometry_DSC05891.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDM1004__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDM1004__i_chrome_aberr_


Close distance bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance (0.5m), plants were fixed in 2m distance from camera in front of the window with bright light from outside.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDM1004__j_bokeh_close_5crops.jpg


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)

MDM1004__k_bokeh_far_5crops


Light dots bokeh:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to 1.0m distance, diodes were  fixed in 3.5m distance at the dark background.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDM1004__l_dots_close.jpg


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)

MinoltaMD100_4macro_DotsLongdistTotal


Other resources with reviews:


My overall conclusion about the Minolta N-MD 50mm 1:2.0F (Minolta MD III 50mm F/2):

MDM10040_Avatar.png

Strictly macro lens – 100mm focal distance with shortest Minimum Focusing Distance provides the optimal distance for macro-photography, magnification 1×1 is available with original macro ring. Actually, there will be less temptation to use it as a portrait lens because it F4 only, not F2-2.8, but it still can be used for portraits of course. The lens is incredible in macro role, so if possibilities of this lens isn’t enough for photographer, then only bellows-systems can help, I think. Of course, I can’t say that this lens is ‘the best’ among other competitors, because all serious photo-companies have produced lenses with same characteristics, but I believe that even modern auto-focused lenses with top-prices can’t give more abilities for photographers than this beauty. The lens can be described as ‘middle-priced’ for today, not so cheap as Minolta MD 50/3.5, but definitely it isn’t overpriced.