Another Minolta MD Rokkor (MD II) 50mm F1.4 lens review. 49mm filter thread

(Those who love anime, probably spotted Yoko on the avatar. Yes – this lens is really so cool.)

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.

MDR5014ext_DSC00960.jpg

Minolta MD Rokkor (MDII) 50mm 1:1.4 parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 96
Name engraved on lens MD 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 Shade
closefocus[m/ft] 0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×40
Weight[g] 220
Year 1979
Style MD II
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2521-500 (-700)

MDRR5014_Tony_optical_design2.png


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 – Yoko Littner  ヨーコ・リットナー :

Yoko Littner (ヨーコ・リットナー Yōko Rittonā?) is the primary female protagonist of the series Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. She is a girl from Jeeha’s neighboring village of Littner who had been chasing the Gunmen that crashed into Jeeha Village during the events of Episode 1. She wields an extensive range of firearms, most frequently use of which is a long range sniper rifle modeled after the Barrett M82.


Sharpness – close 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)

YokoLittner_4.jpg

Scene preview:

MDRR5014__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDRR5014__c_res_close.jpg


Sharpness – 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:

MDRR5014vsMD5014_e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDRR5014__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDRR5014__f_vignetting.png


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDRR5014__F4_0_geometry097.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDRR5014__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDRR5014__i_chrome_aberr_.png


Long distance bokeh:

Test#1:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.45m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

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, see the next Test#2.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDRR5014__k_bokeh_farMin.png

Test#2:

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDRR5014__k_bokeh_farMid.png


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test #1

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.45m, 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, see the next Test#2.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDRR5014__m_dots_farNEW - minimal.jpg

Test#2:

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDRR5014__m_dots_farNEW_1m.jpg


Other resources with reviews:


Demo Photos dedicated article

Some of examples:


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm F/1.4:

MDRR5014__Avatar

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

scheme_diff_MD5014_MDRR5014.png

So, my conclusions 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 can be better in case for only one lens in the bag because more universal, but ‘one lens rule’ is too extreme condition, usually photographer has two or three lenses in range from wide- to tele- and in this way 50/1.4 is preferable. So, that’s my absolutely personal opinion: grab any incarnation of this mast have fifty-bomb if you don’t have it yet.

 


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