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Minolta MD and MC Lenses
  • This is a place for discussion of Minolta MD or MC lenses

    I will try and give a more thought out intro at a later date, and I'll endeavour to put resources in the next post.

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  • The most complete listing of Minolta lenses I have found
    Analysis of this list and perusal of ebay photos will help you spot the bargains and spot the poorly described.

    Some excellent Reviews

    An ebay store 'gokevincameras' that has a lot of nice Minolta glass.
    I have bought one lens from them and was happy with the service, it isn't exactly bargain price .. but it's available.

  • 58mm Rokkor f/1.4 (I will grab the more complete name later)

    • Beautiful bokeh - quite possibly the best I have seen under $450 at this aperture.
    • A lot of bloom wide open (tons of coma, a bit soft etc.) but can be used as a flattering effect.
    • Much, much sharper at f/2.0 with noticeable improvement continuing to f/2.8.
    • I like the focus wheel, personally - infinity focus works quite well on the GH2 in my copy.

    A nice character lens with beautiful bokeh. Used it for both stills and video work. Definitely not the one to call on when you need super-sharp, but flattering in everything from detail to color.

  • Most vintage lenses do not resolve as high as modern glass. Consequently, they handle in-camera sharpening better than contemporary lenses. For example, I've found that all my MD and FD lenses work best in the GH2 with sharpening set to +2. There is no artificial edge - the picture looks just right.

  • My god, did they get that expensive in one year? I bought the 58mm 1:1.4 last year with a stuck aperture für 50 U$, had it cleaned and repaired professionally for 30,- Euros…

  • Detailed Minolta lens chronology:


    General Minolta lens info:


    Minolta 28-mm and 50-55 f/1.7 lens info:


    I have the MD 28-mm f/2.8 7/7 and 35-mm f/2.8 Celtic MD. They're sharp and have good contrast even wide open, and they have exceptionally good flare resistance - nearly as good as a modern lens such as the Lumix 20-mm.

    My 50-mm f/1.4 MC Rokkor-PG performs better than a similar age Nikon AI, but I wouldn't call it a stellar performer for a fast 50-mm lens. Wider than f/2.0 the image gets hazy. I have no complaints at f/2.0

  • For some added lens resolution test info. on old Minolta lenses, I found this to be quite interesting:

    I have Minolta 24mm f2.8 MD W Rokkor-X and 28mm f2.8 MD lenses. I'd like to try them on a FF camera!

  • what adapter is required to mount rokkors to the gh3?

  • @drbuckyballs same one like for any other MFT camera: Minolta SR mount (MD/MC lenses) to micro four thirds

    This one is cheap and good:

  • I'm a little late to the party here, but I'll offer my opinion: I shoot video, often on a GH2. Right my now favorite MF lenses are the Kiron 28mm F2 (a really great 'normal' lens for MFT). I also LOVE my Rokkors: 40mm f2, 50mm f1.7 (even though they are a bit plastic'y), the 58mm f1.4. I've been looking at the Rokkor 85mm f1.7 and the 21mm f2.8, as well as the Kiron 105mm f2.8 Macro (a true legend).

    I do also own a some other MF lenses, like Super Takumars (35mm f3.5/50mm f1.4) and Vivitars (24mm f2 and 28mm f2.8) along with some other random old M42 lenses inherited from my grandpa's dusty old camera bag, but in my own personal opinion, the Kiron plays really nice with the Rokkors, which of course match REALLY closely, and I find these lenses produce the most pleasing image to MY eye on my GH2.

    The Vivitar 24mm f2 is a pretty decent lens too (although a bit softer with more glow wide open than my Kiron 28mm f2), but the main reason I don't use it is because the front element rotates when changing focus. When I'm shooting with my rail system and mattebox etc, it's not a big deal, I put a linear 4x4 polarizer in the mattebox instead of a circulular polarizer on the lens (ND can go either on lens or as a 4x4 in the second mattebox slot if needed), but when I'm trying to keep the camera build smaller in size, I don't find this lens gets as much use.

    The Kiron 28mm f2 has been practically glued to my GH2 and I feel I should mention that it has the most amazing and beautiful lens flare I've ever seen on a photo lens (without an anamorphic adapter). It produces a very lovely cinematic look and is a bit of a sleeping giant - I picked mine up for $40 (!!!!) with a stuck aperture, and fixed it in about a hour of repair.

  • The Kiron F2 has some nice color but I find the bokeh really distracting for video.

  • Ever compared the Rokkor 28mm 2.0 ?

  • The Rokkor 28mm is a beautiful lens, but it's harder to find than the Kiron (and often much more expensive). It would match the other Rokkors better, but I've still got a soft spot for the Kiron 28 f2.

    DrDave is right in bringing up the bokeh of the Kiron, it can be a matter of taste, but for video, personally I really love it and I don't find it distracting at all. In fact I like the uniqueness and can use the lens to help craft a certain look or feeling. Don't forget the amazingly beautiful way the lens flares under certain circumstances.

    Also, I want to mention I recently started collecting some FD glass, which I'm really digging. It seems like the old FD glass is pretty low contrast, which helps me squeeze that little extra bit of latitude out of the relatively limited dynamic range of the GH2 in video mode. I've been having lots of fun with the FD 20mm f2.8, which is a decent wide-normal FOV and is pretty damn sharp at 2.8. I can't wait to slap a speedbooster on that baby.

  • Hi to all,

    I am looking to invest in two vintage minolta lenses and I need somme advice. I do only video with my GH3. After reading about Minolta lenses I am still confused as for the impact of what's been said on video usage. I am planning to get the 135mm 2.8 MD 5/5. The 4/4 version seems to have better reputation on sharpness, while the 5/5 version is less sharp and more contrasty. How does that translate on the image in filmmaking? Will I see the difference between the two on the screen? how? (someone here said there is no real difference between the two in daily life usage:

    The same question would be asked about the 28mm 2.8 (early vs second generation) for I'm planning to get one as well.

    I am looking for vintage lenses to get a softer more organic look than the clinically sharp rendering of the modern electronic lenses. I hate the video image look coming out from my pane 14-140 while I love the feel of the one coming out of my SLR magic 12mm 1.6T.

    Maybe I should checkout other vintage brands?

    Any thoughts?

    Many thanks

  • I suppose you'd see the difference between the 135s only in photography.

    The 28mm is excellent in both MC or MD, the optical formula is identical, only the flare resistance might be a tad better in the later version.

    I really love the Minoltas, but Zeiss Contax lenses are worth a consideration too. The 135mm and the 28mm in 2.8 are still out there for reasonable prices.

    Canon FD has quite a few aficionados here as well, but personally I found them a bit too lo-con.

  • I suggest you to check @nomad 's guide:
    I've built my Rokkor filmmaking set (24, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 35-70) following his advice and I'm more than happy with all of them. They look beautiful on my GH2 and match quite well (with minor color adjustment) with my SLR 12 1.6. I'm also planning to use them on the BMPCC if I go that route, pairing them with Metabones Speed Booster.
    In fact, I might have became a Rokkor fan myself.

  • The Minolta MD 35-70mm f3.5 (macro version) is the best zoom that I have ever owned. Once I corrected the back focus on my adapter, it is parfocal.

  • @QuickHitRecord Was that an easy correction? My 35-70 is almost parfocal but not precise.

  • @Flaaandeeers It is tedious but worth it, especially for zoom lenses. At the risk of going off topic, here's what I do:

    I remove the metal face of the adapter and layer four tiny pieces of clear Scotch tape underneath, and then put the adapter back together again. I use my locked down camera and tripod to shoot a resolution chart; from zoomed all the way in (and focused) to zoomed all the way out. I do this each time I stack on a layer of tape to the four points, and then once I get to about 6 or 7 layers of tape, I import the footage for review. I trim each video clip to begin at the zoomed out portion and blow them up to 300%. Then I can simply flip through them and find out exactly how many pieces of tape give me perfect back focus.

  • Any word on an MD/MC to m4/3 speedbooster?

  • @QuickHitRecord Nice approach. I'll try. Thanks!

    @aldolega According to Metabones, hopefully by the end of the year.

  • Excellent! Gives me time to finish my collection.

  • Thanks guys. First regarding speed booster for Rokkor lenses. Here is the official answer I got today from their sales department:

    "Sorry! We have not MD speed booster now, we may condor to develop it at later.

    Thank you!

    Alex GBI Ltd"

    Second and most important to me, I understand from Nomad that for filmmaking it's ok if I get the newer version Rokkors. Is this from your own experience? The others agree on this?

    Flaaandeeers, Do you have any samples of your work with the Rokkors on the net? that would be great.

    Finally, I wonder why everybody is so enthusiastic about the Rokkors while there are other brands out there that should match and even bypass them for relatively the same price. How come no one mention Olympus or Pentax for instance...?

  • Well, I need to make clear what "newer versions" are. There are two generations of classic Rokkors, the MC and the MD line. Many of these even share the same optical formula, they have just some differences in the mount to transmit aperture information for automatic exposure. Some have been improved optically, and all MDs have newer coatings (sometimes less beautiful flare…). But they share the excellent build quality of glass and metal that may last for another 40 years (with the 100mm 2.0 being the only exception, it's very fragile).

    Then there are the most recent MDs with 49mm filter threads, most of them smaller, lighter with more plastics. They were built for the mass markets and in many cases compromised in quality for smaller size. I don't like them.

    The greatest advantage in filmmaking IMHO is their consistency in color. Just like Zeiss, Minolta had their own glass factory in the MC/MD era and they tried really hard to match all their glass in color. After all, Minolta is still known for it's leading position in colorimetry. Plus, many of these lenses have a pretty long focus throw.

    Olympus and Pentax made some great glass too, no doubt.

  • Ok. So I got it for the 135mm. I'm getting the newer lighter version for portability and coating reasons. What about the 28mm 2.8? You suggest in your guide to get the 7/7 version instead of the last 5/5 one. Above you say the optical formula is identical. Again, do you think for video there won't be a noticeable difference?

    Also, when you say for example that a latter version (the 135mm for example) is softer and has more contrast, it doesn't sound great for video where its better to have more sharpness and soft focus. That's what made me hesitate...

  • @aashkar77 just read a bit more careful what @nomad wrote, he hasn't written anywhere that the 7/7 and 5/5 versions of the 28mm Rokkor are the same.

    Between both 135mm versions, you won't make notice in sharpness as 1920x1080 has only 2MP resolution. The contrast, indeed, could be the reason for the final choice.

    Regarding the colors consistency of Rokkor lenses, I can confirm that it is easier to work with several simultanousely recording cameras if Rokkor glass is on each of them. Also for shooting the same object with several lenses in different focal lengths are reason to consider Rokkors or Zeiss glass as first.