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LensWars: Minolta MC Rokkor QF 200mm f/3.5 vs. MC Rokkor PE 200mm f/4.5 vs MD 200mm f/2.8

Comparison of lenses Minolta MD 200mm 1:2.8, Minolta MC Tele Rokkor QF 200mm 1:3.5 and Minolta MC Tele Rokkor PE 200mm 1:4.5

At first glance it seems that the fight is not very fair, because newer MD version is faster than previous MCs. But it turned out that speed is important of course, but not very much, look at the results.

This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can differ if any element is changed.

Tested lenses reviews:


MD 200mm F/2.8
MC 200mm F/3.5
MC 200mm F/4.5
Serial: 8001960 5519793 1518998
Optical Condition: Near Mint Near Mint Near Mint
Mechanical Condition: Like New Like new Like new
Cosmetic Condition: Good Very Good Very Good

Long distance – sharpness:

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 were made with apertures from fully opened and up to F16. ISO-100. Shutter Speed – depends on light (camera A-mode). SteadyShot – OFF. Focus was manually corrected for each shot to exclude focus-shift.

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 cut into 300×200 px elements (100% crops), combined into diagrams and exported into JPEG-files.

  • I am just a man, I do not pretend that in all cases my focus settings were absolutely accurate. But I aspired to it.

Scene preview:


Test results:

Minolta MC Tele Rokkor QF 200mm 1:3.5 vs Minolta MC Tele Rokkor PE 200mm 1:4.5:


Minolta MC Tele Rokkor QF 200mm 1:3.5 vs Minolta MD 200mm 1:2.8:


Minolta MC Tele Rokkor PE 200mm 1:4.5 vs Minolta MD 200mm 1:2.8:


‘What does it mean?’ – my conclusion

  • Fight #1: MC 200mm 1:3.5 vs MC 200mm 1:4.5

It’s the draw, there is no noticeable difference. With a microscope, we can say that MC 200mm 1:3.5 is better in the center, but MC 200mm 1:4.5 is better in the corner.

If you need to choose one of these two lenses – the sharpness isn’t a factor.

Personally, for me it would be hard choosing: one is a little bit heavier, but other is a little slowly.

  • Fight #2: MC 200mm 1:3.5 vs MD 200mm 1:2.8

The newer MD 200mm 1:2.8 is better on F4.0 than MC 200mm 1:3.5. So, we’ve got the winner. Anyway, the difference is seen but isn’t big enough to say that sharpness is the reason  which drives us to choose the MD 200mm 1:2.8 instead of MC 200mm 1:3.5, but if to take into consideration other factors – the presented F2.8 instead of F3.5 and 80g bonus in weight – MD can be recommended without doubts

  • Fight #3: MC 200mm 1:4.5 vs MD 200mm 1:2.8

Obviously the same result as in the previous case – MD 200mm 1:2.8 won.


Simply speaking, MD 200mm 1:2.8 is faster, and this advantage of ‘one-stop closed’ against fully opened MC versions makes this lens winner. I’ve expected a little bit more excellence from the New-MD version, but after the tests, I realized that I was just underestimating the old MCs. On the other hand, the sharpness of MCs is amazing and I like the fact that Minolta has incremented the newer lens for one F-stop without lack of sharpness.



  1. A pity you didn’t test the MC / early MD 200 f/4, which on XXXXXXXXX, tested on APSC, performed “better” than the 2.8 perhaps. I have this lens, and it is superb on APSC, can’t speak for full-frame.


  2. The sharpness of an MD 200 f/4 is able to exploit a high-resolution APS-C sensor, and in terms of resolution it is certainly at the top of all Minolta 200mm lenses (and other brands as well). Unfortunately, the lateral chromatic aberrations towards the edge are serious and clearly worse corrected than the older MC versions.
    Perhaps the most interesting 200mm is missing: the MC/MD 100-200 f/5.6. The venerable zoom construction is apochromatically corrected (without mentioning this) and regarding color error correction certainly the best lens ever. And it has a very special character: with open apertures with a sharp core and a certain softness, and especially between f/8 and f/11 sharp, almost brilliant and of course without disturbing color errors.
    As you can see, not a single one of these 200mm lenses represents the “eierlegende Wollmilchsau” …


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