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Review: Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50mm 1:1.4

Another Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50mm F/1.4 lens review

This is was the first 50mm F1.4 lens by Minolta, only 58mm with F1.4 was in production earlier. It has so great reputation that even younger and modern fifties sometimes hide in the shadow of this MC. You can find a lot of opinions about this lens, sometimes very objective, sometimes too personal, and my target is to understand the real abilities of this piece of ‘glass and metal’ (and a few rubbers).

MC5014_exterior_48.jpg

Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50mm F:1.4 parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 93
Name engraved on lens MC ROKKOR(-X) PG
f[mm] 50
A max [1/f] 1.4
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 7
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade screw-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.5/1.75
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 65.2×46
Weight[g] 305
Year 1973
Style MC-X
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 521-xxx (-300)

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 6
Average international price (sold items) 2019: USD 50-75
Reviewed lens SN: 3865323

Note: tested lens has ‘ROKKOR-X’ yellow labeling, it means that the lens was produced for North America market, but there are no any other differences with same lenses without this label.

Special thanks for Maury Jacks for optical design scheme. It was surprise for me that even well known and trusted resources contain images with wrong optical design of this lens. So, here you can see correct scheme:

MC5014_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)


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)

Izetta_19_cut.png

Scene preview:

MC5014__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MC5014__c_res_close


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-50. 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:

MC5014__e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MC5014__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MC5014__f_vignettingNEW


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MC5014_geometry_longbokeh_100cm__42.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MC5014__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MC5014__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


Long distance bokeh:

Test#1:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.5m, 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)

MC5014__k_bokeh_far_50cm_NEW.jpg

Test#2:

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MC5014__k_bokeh_far_100cm_NEW.jpg


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test #1

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.5m, 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 Test #2.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MC5014__m_dots_far_50cm_NEW.jpg

Test #2

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MC5014__m_dots_far_100cm_NEW.jpg


Other resources with reviews:


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50mm F:1.4:

AvatarReview_MCX5014.png

This lens has a dual life in people’s opinions. Somebody calls it the small sister of greatest legend MC PG 58mm F1.2 – because ‘less resolution and with not so impressive bokeh, but still very good‘ (it aren’t my words). Others say that this is ‘sharpest Minolta’s fifty ever with incredible resolution and bokeh‘(it aren’t my words too). Additionally, some people don’t care about IQ and prefer this lens just because of it easy to disassemble it for cleaning – photographers are strange people, you know. The truth is in the middle – of course it isn’t the sharpest lens ever in the world, but I don’t see noticeable weakness.

The lens is worth to try it at least. It looks for me that if a photographer got this lens then don’t need to look for a better lens from the same era. Yes, it’s possible to get the sharper lens, or lens with fewer aberrations if wide opened, or better color rendition, and yes – MC PG 58mm F1.2 has a more famous rendering. But… You see – I didn’t say ‘better’ – just said ‘famous’. It’s because the bokeh of this MC 50/1.4 is absolutely great for any photographer task. This lens is a bit heavier and bigger than common fifties – a good advantage for photographers who prefer tactile sensations, but lens is still quite lightweight for trips. It can be used for portraits if wide opened and ready for landscapes from F5.6, works fine with modern digital cameras, compatible with autofocused adapters like Techart-Pro. One another important advantage – the price. As I see for today this lens still isn’t rare and not overheated on auctions – good point to take it and make a few photography masterpieces.


AvatarLensWars_MC_MD_5014_all.png

8 Comments »

  1. In the test#2 lens was focused on 1m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground,compare with Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 or Canon FDn 50mm f:1.4,all the lens is f1.4,but why so difference than any other? Is there something wrong? I just guess,please give me answer,thinks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s because of different settings – test#2 has been made not on the minimal distance of focusing. Reviews for MD 50/1.4 and FDn 50/1.4 don’t contain this examples, I’ve started to make such tests in newer articles

    Like

  3. Thinks for your answer, all reviews have the tests lens was focused on 1m, maybe the different lights and different weather make me feel than they are different, nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello,
    I have one but unfortunately, the rear lens is broken.
    I patiently look for another one in a poor condition but with a good rear lens to repair mine.
    What is interesting in this article, is the optical scheme.
    Does anybody knows if this rear lens is the same on some other objective, so I could extend my research of a donator to other lenses ?

    Like

  5. Hi PG. By my experience with experiments of repairing MC-I and MC-II: back lens should be only from this lens model, and better from donator with close serial number. Otherwise, you are in risk to get a lack of the sharpness. But this is regarding of MC-I and MC-II, and I don’t sure in 100% that MC-X lenses are the same case, so, you can try of course. I believe that it can be better to catch cheap another copy

    Like

  6. Thank you Tony,
    That’s what I though but I just wanted the advice of some experimented person. A cheap copy can be hard to find so even if the serial is far from mine, the first I can buy will be the right one.

    Liked by 1 person

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