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Review: Minolta MD Shift CA 35mm 1:2.8

Lens review: Minolta New-MD Shift CA 35mm 1:2.8 (New-MD, NMD, MD III)

This lens is enough rare and if I were not a fan of New-MD I think I would not hunt for it at all, even for the review. It is not difficult to find one of predecessors – Rokkor Shift MD 35mm 1:2.8 but this latest New-MD version is one from the top of the list ‘disappeared from all radars’.

Shift lenses are born for professional using by photographers with a narrow specialization – wikipedia.

Anyway, I was lucky to get one for the review. ✌

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 an 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.

MDSH3528_exterior_362_logo

Minolta MD Shift CA 35mm F:2.8 parameters:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 87
Name engraved on lens SHIFT CA
f[mm] 35
A max [1/f] 2.8
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 9
Lens design [gr.] 7
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade screw-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.3/1
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 83.5×71.5
Weight[g] 555
Year 1982
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 613-810

Floating elements unknown
Aperture blades number 6
Average international price (sold items) 2019: depends of your luck
Reviewed Lens SN: 8001061

There are four reincarnations were produced – the three Minolta Shift CA Rokkor MD 35mm F2.8: MC-X, MD-I, MD-II generations (by collectors classification) and finally the new one hero of this review – New-MD generation (MD III by collectors classification). It’s considered that optically and mechanically all are the same, the difference is just in the exterior.

Additionally to the shift-feature, this lens is equipped with VFC (Variable Field Curvature) control. The same as Minolta MD VFC 24mm F2.8. Only Minolta had this technology. As a result, if we add ’tilt’ adapter, like on the photo below, then we get an absolutely unique product: “Tilt-Shift-VFC” lens. Greetings for geeks.

MDSH3528__exterior_A_063.jpg


Lens exterior:

Box set:

MDSH3528_exterior_356_logo

Exterior:

Lens shade:

On camera Minolta X-700:


Lens code name – Rena Andou 安藤レナ:

Rena Andou is the Vice Commander of BC Freedom High School Sensha-do team representing Examination Faction of the school. She commands a SOMUA S35 with the emblem of Green Spade.

As you can see, this lens got the avatar from ‘GIrls Und Panzer’ Universe, and this is a remind of the site tradition – only New-MD lenses can be linked with incredible and amazing tanks-girls.


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)

Rena Andou 31 2print.png

Scene preview:

MDSH3528__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MDSH3528__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)

MDSH3528__e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MDSH3528__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MDSH3528__f_vignettingNEW.png


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDSH3528_geom_60.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDSH3528__h_coma_aberr_.png


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MDSH3528__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.png


Long distance bokeh:

Test#1:

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.3m, houses were fixed in infinity distance on the ground.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is a 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)

MDSH3528__k_bokeh_far_min_0_3m_NEW.png

Test#2:

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDSH3528__k_bokeh_far_mid_1_0m_NEW.png


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test #1

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 1m, lights were fixed in more than 200m.

Such scenes can’t be meet often, so this is a demonstration of extreme conditions. In most cases of real-life photography the blur level will be less – see Test #2.

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDSH3528__m_dots_far_amin_0_3m.png

Test #2

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

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MDSH3528__m_dots_far_bmid_1m.png


Other resources with reviews:


Minolta MD Shift CA 35mm 1:2.8:

MDSH3528__Avatar.png

My conclusion is not too long:

This is a very good lens, seriously – it’s well built, enough sharpen, has low aberrations, etc. So, if you are a crazy person who is looking for the most difficult way to get shift-lens – this is your choice, and good luck to spend a few years in hunting mode. At least you will not be disappointed by the IQ. Note: from the resolution point of view it isn’t so cool as two others New-MD 35/1.8 and 35/2.8 lenses (the battle will be published soon) but it is enough for targeted photographers tasks. I’m just not going to recommend this lens for real photo-sessions because of its rareness.

Some resources said that this Shift CA is identical for plain Minolta Rokkor MD 35mm 1:2.8 from MC-X generation. I don’t understand how it can be, so, if you know the truth in details and can share it – let me know it please, and I will update this review.


This lens took part in battles:

MDSH3528vsMD3528_Avatar_Battle.png

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