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Review: Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm 1:1.9 lens review (‘MC-II’ style by the popular collector’s classification).

This lens is much more interest to collectors than for photographers. This is because it has a special place in the line of Minolta lenses. Though of course photographers can use it too.

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.

MCC5519__exterior_336 copy

Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55mm F/1.9 parameters:

minolta.eazypix.de index 124
Name engraved on lens MC ROKKOR-PF
f 55
A max 1.9
A min 16
Elements 6
Groups 5
Filter thread 52
Lens Shade
close —/1.75 ft
Dimension 54×37.5
Weight 225
Year 1971
Style MC II
Code No. 634
Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 6
Average international price (sold items) 2019: USD 25-50
Reviewed Lens SN: 2600339

Here are some facts to underline that this lens is unique, independently of modern and very low prices:

  • It’s the first Minolta lens with the rubberized focusing ring. All other signs say that this lens is from the first MC generation.
  • The profile of rubber is close the same as for Celtic lenses, but… The longitudinal ridges of the rubber is uninterrupted on the Celtic whereas the 55/1.9 there are distinct intersections or cuts that separates them, instead of a slight raised ridge, but below the tips of the longitudinal ridges. They are very much related, almost a prototype, but still slightly varied.” (Henrik Robeck). And yes, this lens is definitely not a Celtic.
  • By the most popular collector’s classification (minolta.easypix.de) it is the MC-II style lens. So, it’s the only one ‘not glass&steel’ MC-II. To be honest, this Rokkor looks like a challenge for any classifications.
  • The lens can be bought only with the camera SRT-100. So it does not have its own box.
  • It doesn’t have an original lens-shade (lens-hood).
  • Kits with this lens were in selling in the USA and Canada only.
  • The distance scale is marked only in feet.
  • The serial is typed outside of the filter ring and isn’t painted.
  • This the only one lens by Minolta with F1.9 wide opened (among regular lenses at least).
  • This is the last 55mm Minolta lens.
  • Let me quote the note by Andrea Apra: “Cheap lens without the full Achromatic Coating” – there are not a lot of models produced by Minolta with such description.

As you can see – this Rokkor is really something special.


Lens exterior:

(Please, forgive me the dust on the lens, I never have the patience to clean objects for close-up photo sessions)

Mounted on Minolta SR-T 101 camera. This set isn’t authentic because the lens was in stores only with SRT-100 model, but SRT-101 looks enough the same as the little sister:


Lens code name – Zero Two / ゼロツー:

Zero Two (ゼロツー, Zero Tsū) is the main heroine and the deuteragonist of DARLING in the FRANXX. She was a human-klaxo sapiens hybrid and a member of the APE Special Force fighting on the front lines. An elite Parasite with the codename “002” who was also known as the “Partner Killer”, Zero Two had always accepted solitude due to her horns and Klaxosaur blood.


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)

Zero_Two_26_2Print.jpg

Scene preview:

MCC5519__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MCC5519__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:

MCC5519__e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MCC5519__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MCC5519__f_vignettingNEW.png


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MCC5519_F_5_6_geometry_317.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MCC5519__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MCC5519__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.jpg


Long distance bokeh:

Test#1:

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.45m, 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)

MCC5519__k_bokeh_far_min_NEW.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)

MCC5519__k_bokeh_far_mid_NEW.png


Light dots long distance bokeh:

Test #1

Test conditions: lens was focused on to minimal distance 0.45m, 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)

MCC5519__m_dots_far_min_NEW.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)

MCC5519__m_dots_far_mid_NEW.png


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MC Rokkor PF 55MM F1.9:

MCC5519__Avatar.png

The high value of this Rokkor is not because of its characteristics but in the historical significance. We can not expect miracles from the lens, which was originally designed as a low-cost alternative to other competitors. It has even been in a sell for a kit-lens role for a simplified SRT-100 camera model.

About IQ, it is strange, but this cheap lens shows enough little aberrations – the coma, chromatic, vignetting and distortion looks very good, not a ‘top-3’ level but enough acceptable. Just need to remember that the maximum level of a sharpness distribution over the frame lies around F5.6, actually, the fact that it is presented is just nice, so we have a quite sharp lens, maybe not as sharp as later 50mm generations but enough for most of tasks.

Like many other Minolta lenses from 70’s it draws a nice bokeh and it better to say that it is a well balanced near-fifty lens that works even better than expected. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend it as something outstanding for photographers because a lot of other lenses from the market display the same abilities, but collectors should get it because of its unique position in the middle of production lines.

But I still want to add to the above: if you already have this lens – use it, because it shoots perfectly, like most other near-fifties.


 

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