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LensRomantic: Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5

Comparison of two copies of Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5

‘LensRomantic’ tests description is here. Tests of this type are mostly for collectors or tech-enthusiasts, for photographers I recommend to go directly to the lens review.

Minolta Rokkor Macro 50/3.5 MC-II – maybe not a star or gem but works fine and can save a few yens if Macro is not a daily necessity but required in sometimes.

Copy #1 Copy #2
Serial: 1501435 2503371
Optical Condition: Like new Has a few scratches on the front element
Mechanical Condition: Very Good Very Good
Cosmetic Condition: Good Good

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



Minolta MC MACRO Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5 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 changed during the session.

Scene preview:


Test results:


‘What does it mean?’ – my conclusion:

This is a rare case for Minolta – a noticeable difference between two copies of a similar lens. It looks not like bad and good lenses, but lenses that work in different ways. I prefer #2 independently of the scratched glass, but it just my taste and in general I want to say that both are enough equal and it’s hard to make a choice. Also, I tend to think that both lenses are in borders of quality control of that era.

Update: after the publishing of this comparison I got an interesting comment by Andrea Aprà:

There are some Minolta lenses that although apparently have the same aesthetic characteristics and the same dimensions, have been produced with different serials.
Serials have 7 digits and generally (there is no precise rule and therefore there are exceptions) the first two (sometimes 3) digits identify the group of serials, the other 5 are an incremental counter of the pieces produced.
This 50 mm macro was produced with serial numbers:
– 111xxxx
– 15xxxxx
– 25xxxxx
These are disjoint numbers, that is, the observed pieces are much less than those needed to connect the groups continuously (that is, no 12xxxxx or 13 or 14 or 16 or … 24 serial were ever seen).
It is impossible to know exactly why this production was segmented into 3 large groups. Perhaps for production reasons a change of manufacturing methodology has been made making it better or cheaper, or a supplier of some part has changed or something not very visible has been changed in the optical scheme while maintaining the same global structure or the coating or … We don’t know. Perhaps the fact that 25 is better than 15 depends on this or is only an oscillation within the range of production tolerances and the serials have nothing to do with it.


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