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LensRomantic: Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4

Comparison of two similar copies Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.4 (New-MD, MD-III or Plain MD design)

Introduction note for the first article in this category:

Such comparisons can give us a piece of information about the degree of trust and the degree of applicability of lenses testing results. It can be interesting mostly for collectors or technicians and doesn’t contain extended conclusions or descriptions with transcripts of results – everything can be seen on samples diagrams. True photographers can skip it and immediately go to the lens review pages.

This is not the secret that most of the lenses have deviations in construction which means deviations in optical behavior. Reasons can be any: production quality tolerance, normal wear, consequences of disassembling, damages, etc. So, such comparisons help to understand: how much tests results are applicable to all other lenses of the same model line?

This article also can help with understanding of the purpose.

I don’t especially tend to look for second copies of lenses, but you know how it happens, for example, you bought one lens for review, but tomorrow you accidentally found a set of other lenses into which it belongs. If this is a bargain, you buy the kit, and then sell the extra unnecessary lenses. Why not do paired tests before selling?

MD 50/1.4 is one of the most popular and powerful lenses from Minolta armory, I’m glad to open a new set of articles ‘Lens Romantic’ with this lens.

Copy #1 Copy #2
Serial: 8156763 8113689
Optical Condition: Mint Very Good (has been cleaned after fungus)
Mechanical Condition: Near mint Very Good (re-lubricated)
Cosmetic Condition: Near mint Good (has been reassembled after non-professional CLA)

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



Tested lens review:


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.

  • Sunlight has been slightly changed during the session.

Scene preview:


Test results:


‘What does it mean?’ – my conclusion:

Copy #1 has a nano-advantage but that isn’t enough to say that both are different, lenses work like twins. Especially if to remember that Copy#2 has been restored from the really awful condition. There is no need to repeat the test on close distance – we see enough to be sure in result.


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