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Minolta Rokkor Survival guide
  • I thought you might be interested in a little guide I wrote.

  • 63 Replies sorted by
  • I'll split for readability.

    Minolta was founded in 1928 as "Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shōten" (Japanese-German camera shop). After a line of rangefinder cameras modeled close to Leicas the company introduced it's first SLR camera in 1958, the SR-2 with the first Japanese bayonet mount. I'm referring to manual lenses from Minolta for this mount only, officially called SR, but most call it MC/MD these days. MC lenses (meter coupled) are the older ones, produced from 1966, but the only difference in MD mount from 1977 is a modified mechanical coupling for the aperture setting in the MD. The mount stayed compatible between all lenses until the very first autofocus camera was introduced by Minolta in 1985. Of course they continued to make some lenses for the older mount for quite a while after 1985. All lenses with this mount can be adapted to modern mirrorless cameras like µFT or NEX, but via an adapter from MD/MC to Leica-M you can mount it on RED's Leica-M mount just fine. None of these lenses expands beyond the mount, so there is no problem with this combination like there is with most Leica-M lenses wider than 50mm.

    Moved into

  • Thanks, I think it is best to make Contaxt guide into separate topic.

    I'l add some formatting to posts.

  • What an amazing source of information- thank you @nomad!

  • @tetakpatak

    If you just type "minolta rokkor" this topic will be already on top of search results.

  • Thank you for formatting. The Contax guide wasn't mine, so I should only point to it.

  • I am thinking about moving it to FAQ wiki (to also add more images, etc). And leave just small part here for discussion.

  • WOW!!!!! thanks @nomad this kind of contribution makes this forum so specility wise.

  • Good idea. When I find some time, I will add shots of those lenses that are difficult to identify.

  • @nomad, now you really inspire me to do something similar for Canon FDs or Nikkors: adding some image examples of the same lens on µ4/3, APS-C and FF sensors. Such reviews are seldom.

    It just needs soooo much time, samples, documentation.... and all this next to real job. So not before summer probably....

  • @nomad I've got a minolta m-rokkor 40/2, the one sold with the MInolta CLE in the early 80's.

    It's looks like a very good lens to me (I use it on my gh2 too) but I've never done any serious test. May I ask you what's your opinion about it and if there's something I should know?

    Thanks in advance :-)

    P.S. Thanks a lot for this guide too, it's very valuable.

  • I've never touched that one. Minolta made good lenses from the start, but the coating was not that advanced then, it might flare quite a bit. Plus, it needs a different adapter.

  • My first SLR was a Minolta SRT 101 and I have a collection of Minolta lenses. Here's a photo of most of my lens collection. I can provide any one individual photo if desired

    4277 x 2134 - 2M
  • One additional info if you are looking for the 35-70mm zoom: if you encounter some play on the zoom ring (longitudinal) it's not a reason for concern. It should have none in rotation, though.

    @aljimenez Sweet!

  • Thanks! In a strange coincidence, I just spent the whole day yesterday on Ebay buying Rokkor lenses. Have never used them and can't wait to give them a try. Wish you would have waited a few days I will have competition for bidding! :-)

  • Nice primer - I'm a fan of Rokkor lenses and have a few still, including the 35-70 Macro (great but nowhere near as good as my Contax 35-70 IMHO) it's is a super cheap bargain if you can find one on fleabay - and a mint 58 1.2 MC Rokkor PG which is built like a tank and a super lens. Great lenses across the range, you can't really go wrong for the prices they (were) are at.

  • @aljimenez Really nice collection! I'm looking into Minoltas myself. Can you easily match your Minoltas with your Summilux 25 1.4? Which of them would be the best for that? Thanks!

  • I just received my mc rokkor 16mm 2.8. Its a great lens, a real "panzer", tack sharp, but has a bit of distortion as I knew before, due to fish-eye... next days I will post some footage.

  • @Flaaandeeers In general, Minolta lenses need some CA and de-fringing corrections when wide opened. I also find they need small exposure adjustments, but need little color adjustments. They have a lot of character and I spent around $1,000 for my collection, so they are worth and fun to fiddle with. I do mostly family videos and photos so I am not super-picky about precisely matching them with Panny lenses. I am shortly going to retire and will spend more time learning film-making in a more serious manner.

  • @aljimenez Thanks for your answer. Even when I know how better modern glass is compared to vintage, I've been looking at Rokkors thinking of gathering a nice set to get de-clicked and use with FF. They're pretty affordable and seem to be quite good for video. Rokinon would be my first choice but to import their lenses to my country is too expensive due to custom fees.

  • I have 14-15 lenses from the Rokkors because I bought into the system in the 70s. My 50/1.4 MF is a very good lens, slightly sharper than the AF version I paid a premium price for in 1983 I think. So I have two 50mm :) These lenses were really very good in the 70s and 80s. Great glass, solid hand made lenses.

    I bought the GH1 to use these and the Nikkor lenses, I figured, I have all these amazing lenses, just bolt them on the GH1. And then I bought the Panny 20mm, the Olly 45 and the Panny 14, and the Rokkors and Nokkors, they just can't compare. The Vivitar 55 comes pretty close (I have the Minolta mount version) but the Olly 45 is sharper, lighter, faster. It's ironic and tragic, to buy the system for lenses I don't use. Even the Olly 40-150 lightweight zoom is sharper. Maybe Sony will come out with a budget 4K cam that fits the AF lenses.

  • Sharpness isn't everything. I have the Oly 45 too, but I still use the old glass as well, depending on subject.

  • Well... following @nomad advice I finally sold some vintage glass and purchased a set of Rokkors for filmmaking: 24 2.8, 35 1.8, 50 1.4 (PG) and 85 2.8 (Varisoft). I was lucky enough to find all of them in mint condition. Actually the Varisoft is NEW :) I spent less than 900 bucks in total and I'm pretty happy with my purchase. I think I will add SLR 12mm 1.6 to cover wide land in the near future. I hope I can test them all this weekend.

  • Congratulations on the Varisoft – very rare and even more so in good condition! It alone may catch the price you paid in the future if you don't like them. Not that I doubt you will…

  • i agree with nomad, i have minolta 50mm MD and the oly 45mm and i'm using the minolta more than the oly. i love the look of old glasses as i love the video look of the oly too :)