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LensWars: Minolta MC Rokkor PF 135mm f/2.8 vs. MC Rokkor QD 135mm f/3.5 vs MD 135mm f/2.8

Comparison of lenses Minolta MC Rokkor PF 135mm f/2.8, MC Rokkor QD 135mm f/3.5, and MD 135mm f/2.8.

135mm is the very popular focal distance for many styles of photography: portraiture, landscapes, street-photo, etc. – it’s great for scenes which are required compressed perspective for a more tight feeling of the picture. This comparison should show the difference between very budget manual 135mm lenses. Actually, Minolta produced the only one expensive 135mm – the famous MD 135mm 1:2.0, and all another 15 models for SR-mount looks cheap enough, so, three are here.

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

Tested lenses reviews:

MCC13528__Avatar.png

MCC13535__Avatar.png

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:

MCC13528__e_far_preview

Test results:

MCC13528_vs_MCC13535_battle.jpg

MCC13528_vs_MD13528_battle.jpg

MCC13535_vs_MD13528_battle.jpg

‘What does it mean?’ – my conclusion:

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 135mm 1:2.8 vs Minolta MC Rokkor 135mm 1:3.5
  • Center: MC 1:3.5 is better if wide opened. Lenses became the same from F5.6
  • Middle: MC 1:3.5 is better wide opened. Lenses became the same from F8.0
  • Corner: MC 1:3.5 won at full diapason – From F2.8 till F16
Minolta MC Rokkor PF 135mm 1:2.8 vs Minolta MD 135mm 1:2.8
  • Center: New-MD is better wide opened. Lenses became the same from F5.6
  • Middle: New-MD is better wide opened. Lenses became the same from F8.0
  • Corner: New-MD is better at full diapason – From F2.8 till F16
Minolta MC Rokkor 135mm 1:3.5 vs Minolta MD 135mm 1:2.8
  • Center: New-MD is a little better wide opened. Lenses became the same from F5.6
  • Middle: New-MD is a little better wide opened. Lenses became the same from F5.6
  • Corner: enough similar behavior for both lenses

Results, as you can see:

  1. Minolta New-MD 135mm 1:2.8 won. Well, it’s expected, the lens is much younger and using more modern technologies.
  2. The second place – MC Rokkor QD 135mm 1:3.5. Well known in photographers community “surprise” from the one of cheapest Minolta
  3. The third – MC Rokkor PF 135mm 1:2.8 – anyway this is a very good portrait lens, but I wouldn’t recommend it for something like a landscape

By the way: in communities of manual lens photographers and collectors the legend about an ‘incredible’ 135/3.5 Rokkor appears in any conversation linked with 135mm focal distance. I believe, that it’s true if to speak about the old Rokkors era and probably the base of this statement is a quite low IQ for 135/2.8 lenses from that period. Later in 80′ – faster 135/2.8 were greatly updated and for today 135/3.5 lenses are very good, as any other Minoltas, but don’t look ‘incredible’.

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1 Comment »

  1. Excellent review again.
    I use a 135 3,5 QD that suffered from some fringing. Fringing almost disappeared after micro adjusting the length of the Fotasy adaptor with scotch tape shims.

    Liked by 1 person

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