Skip to content

Review: Minolta MC W Rokkor HH 35mm 1:1.8

Minolta MC W Rokkor HH 35mm f/1.8 lens review (‘Hills&Valleys/Knurled’ design, or ‘MC-II’ style by collectors classification).

One another legend by Minolta – the wide-angle 35mm lens powered with F1.8. It is very popular among photographers and should stay in the one row with old-school gems like MC PG 58/1.2 or 85/1.7.

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.

Minolta_Rokkor_MCC3518_078_exterior_logo

Minolta MC W Rokkor-HH 35mm 1:1.8 parameters:

minolta.eazypix.de index 64
Name engraved on lens MC W.ROKKOR-HH
f[mm] 35
A max [1/f] 1.8
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 8
Lens design [gr.] 6
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade screw-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.3/1
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 66×68
Weight[g] 420
Year 1970
Style MC II
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 605-018
Notes
Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 8
Average international price (sold items) 2019: USD 225-275
Reviewed Lens SN: 1513420

Minolta has developed and produced 5 lenses with these characteristics – 35mm F1.8. The first one was in MC I design in 1968 (MC “flat-grip”), later was this currently reviewed MC II (“Hills&Valleys”), later rubberized MC X, MD II, and MD III (MD I design was skipped).

Traditionally, I have to say: MC age was a period of improvements and experiments, and the IQ of lenses may be different not only between generations but even inside one line of production.

MD III reincarnation is already reviewed on Lens QA Works.



Lens exterior:

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

Accessories:

On Minolta SR-T 101 camera:


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)

Mitsuki_Nase_2print_9.png

Scene preview:

MCC3518__b_res_close_previewNEW.jpg

Test results:

MCC3518__c_res_close


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:

MCC3518__e_far_preview.jpg

Test results:

MCC3518__e_res_far.jpg


Vignetting:

(frames scaled – 300×200)

MCC3518__f_vignettingNEW.png


Geometric distortion:

(frame scaled 1200×800)

MCC3518_geometry_71.jpg


Coma aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MCC3518__h_coma_aberr_.jpg


Chromatic aberrations:

(100% crops – 300×200)

MCC3518__i_chrome_aberrNEW_.png


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)

MCC3518__k_bokeh_far_min_0_40m_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)

MCC3518__k_bokeh_far_mid_1_0m_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)

MCC3518__m_dots_far_1min_0_4m_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)

MCC3518__m_dots_far_2mid_1_0m_NEW.png


My overall conclusion about the Minolta MC W.Rokkor-HH 35mm F/1.8:

AvatarReview_MCC3518.png

This is one of the truly Minoltas princesses. It has great sharpness wide opened and totally sharpen over the whole frame at F4 – almost unbelievable for wide-angle lenses from 60th. And it is despite presented aberrations. The rare case – aberrations are enough presented but I can’t recognize a typical affecting for the rendering of the pictures. And it gives the absolutely amazing bokeh in any hard conditions. The geometry is close to the ideal. Vignetting is a little too much for my tastes, but for modern digital cameras, it’s nothing to speak about. More serious cons – weight and size, the lens isn’t small and contains many metal. On the other hand, as any lens from MC II era, this one is a nice option for those who like true “steel&glass” feelings. Of course, it can be easy CLA’ed by any smart person even with tools made of dinosaur bones.

That’s the first time when I was impressed by a lens from MC II era. Let me to explain: I don’t mean that it’s the first a nice one in that period, no. I mean, for example, that we all know that 58/1.2 or 85/1.7 is fantastic and we are expecting miracles from these famous lenses and yes, the very good IQ of these lenses is not a surprise – it’s expected. Of course, I heard about this 35/1.8 many good words but didn’t realize – how it’s cool in reality.

Of course, I recommend it with no doubts.


 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: