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Review: Chiyoko Super Rokkor 85mm f:2.8 Minolta

This is the lens from first years after WWII and it’s a part of history of Japans photo-industry, from the times when the poor and ruined country started the race against the worlds most famous corporations producing photo equipment and finally have won. The reason is clear – one glance at Super Rokkor 85mm is enough to see that it was created and built with incredible quality.

Some of amateur photographers says that they love real ‘glass and metal’ lenses, and this feeling drives them to create better photos than with lenses are built using plastic and rubber elements in construction. Quite often when saying these words they are holding in their hands something like Minolta MC or Canon FL or Nikon pre-AI, etc. I believe that these MC and FLs against this Chiyoko are looking like aluminum trinkets.

Lens review: Chiyoda Kogaku Chiyoko Super Rokkor 1:2.8 f=8.5cm C (Minolta – Japan) LTM/LSM/m39

It isn’t the first Minolta LTM lens on this site – I was lucky to use and review all LTM 50mm lenses made by Minolta:

Touching these lens drives me to feel that I touch history.

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.

MSR8528_121.jpg

Chiyoko Super Rokkor 1:2.8 f=85cm (Minolta) Japan LTM parameters:

Name engraved on lens Chiyoko SUPER ROKKOR
f[mm] 85
A max [1/f] 2.8
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 5
Lens design [gr.] 3
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 40
Lens Shade
closefocus[m/ft] 135cm
Dimension Ø x length [mm]
Weight[g] > 400gr
Year 1947(1949?) – 1958
Style MD II
Notes three editions but always the same 5/3 schema

Floating elements NO (full support by autofocused adapters)
Aperture blades number 10


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 – Re-L Mayer:

Re-L Mayer is one of the main characters of Ergo Proxy. As an investigator for the Intelligence Bureau in Romdo, she is attacked by two monsters and drawn into the mystery of the Proxies. She eventually joins Vincent Law and Pino on their quest for answers.


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)

Re_L_Mayer_6_2print.jpg

Scene preview:

MSR8528__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MSR8528__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-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:

(note for perfectionists: do not pay attention to the slope of the horizon, it was necessary to bind the image to certain points)

MSR8528__e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MSR8528__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MSR8528__f_vignettingNEW.png


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MSR8528_geometry_312.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MSR8528__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MSR8528__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


Long distance bokeh:

Test#1:

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1.5m, 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)

MSR8528__k_min_150cm_bokeh_farNEW.png

Test#2:

Test conditions: lens was focused on 3m – ‘portrait distance’, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MSR8528__k_mid_3m_bokeh_farNEW.png


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test #1

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 1m, 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)

MSR8528__m_min_dots_farNEW.png

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 2m – ‘portrait distance’, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MSR8528__m_mid_dots_farNEW.png


Other resources with reviews:


Chiyoko 85MM F2.8 Super Rokkor, Chiyoda Kogaku, Minolta:

MSR8528__Avatar.png

Just another one portrait-monster, but this lens is specific enough and can be recommend mostly for those who are feeling that got photographers skill is enough. Those who interesting anime and know Re-L Mayer from the avatar – can imagine that Chiyoko 85/2.8 is close the same – very cool, very powerful, can do impossible things, but very independent, cold and not easy in establishing of relationships.

Of course so old lens has no chances against modern optics in comparisons by IQ, but weakness of sharpness in corners can be compensated by feelings of spectators who are seeing photos rendered by this steel beauty. Real old-school style bokeh with a lot of aberrations which are providing amazing 3D effect, and with enough resolution at the middle and center points of frame – all these makes lens an ideal for object-photos or portraits. Be careful: the lens is heavyweight, aperture ring is mounted on the focus ring and spins together with it, there are leaks of contrast, it isn’t good in front-light conditions, 1,4m minimal distance etc. – Chiyoko has more ‘cons’ than ‘pros’, that’s why I can’t recommend it to everyone, because at least basic skill in photography is required – ‘point and shoot’ approach doesn’t pass, but if photographer got an idea how to use this lens – then it definitely will help to make a lot of masterpieces.


1 Comment »

  1. You did start tracking aperture blades, thank you :~)

    What an interesting lens, definitely has a particular look. The corner softness in your portrait length test looks quite nice for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

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