MINOLTA'S f1.7 & f1.8 NORMAL LENSES


"Epping & Ongar Railway", 2016
Minolta SRT100x
Minolta MC ROKKOR-PF 50mm f1.7
TURA P150
Copyright @ 2016 by Peter Elgar


Minolta created a plethora of normal lenses over the years.  They can be grouped according to their largest f-stop. The typical normal lens is in the f1.7 and f1.8 range. These are considered normal in more ways than one.  They offer relatively fast optics at a low price.  For those who don't need a normal lens except in bright conditions, a slower lens -- in the f2.8 to f1.9 range -- will probably fill the bill.  For those who need a normal lens to operate in lower light conditions, Minolta made faster, more expensive lenses -- in the f1.4 to f1.2 range -- as well.  Many people operate under the misconception that the more costly the normal lens, the better it will perform.  In fact, this is not the case.  The reason that some lenses are more expensive is that they have much larger glass elements and, typically, more glass elements -- to compensate for the various aberrations caused by the larger glass elements.  A lens with a smaller maximum aperture will typically perform as well -- and often better -- than its faster, more expensive brothers.  It's smaller and lighter to boot!

Minolta made normal lenses in a variety of focal lengths (from 45 to 58) and in a variety of f-stops (from f2.8 to f1.2):

The competition

There are very few f1.7 and f1.8 normal lenses from competitors.  Since the normal f1.7 and f1.8 Minolta lenses are so inexpensive and readily available, there is no sense in looking for an alternative.  Just choose the one that has the features you need.

MINOLTA'S f1.7 & f1.8 NORMAL LENSES
LENS FEATURES IMAGE OPTICAL FORMULA
FOCAL LENGTH: 55mm
f-STOPS: 1.8-22
PERIOD: 1958-1960
INSCRIPTION: MINOLTA AUTO ROKKOR - PF 1:1.8 f=55mm
FILTER: 55
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: no
MD: no
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.75'
SIZE: 2.6"x1.5"
WEIGHT: 9.9oz.

This was Minolta's first normal lens for the SLR cameras, but it was also Minolta's first automatic diaphragm lens -- a real achievement in 1958. The lens is fast, has a very nice coating, an eight-blade aperture, and it produces wonderful results. It was a short-lived lens, existing only until it was replaced in 1960 with a version designed for the Minolta SR-3 (see below). This lens has the early rotating diaphragm plate on the back, and will only work at all f-stops with the SR-2 and the SR-1 (models a and b) cameras. This lens has LV markings and an f-stop lock tab, but lacks a DOF button. It has full f-stop settings from f1.8-f22, and half-f-stop settings from f1.8-f5.6. The f-stops are not equally-spaced, but they will appear in the viewfinders of cameras that offer this feature.


DESIGN: 6/5 
FOCAL LENGTH: 55mm
f-STOPS: 1.8-16
PERIOD: 1960-1966
INSCRIPTION: MINOLTA AUTO ROKKOR - PF 1:1.8 f=55mm
FILTER: 55
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: no
MD: no
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.75'
SIZE: 2.6"x1.5"
WEIGHT: 9.9oz.

This was an updated version of the previous 55mm f1.8 (see above).  It was the same size and optical formula, but it had a new laterally-moving diaphragm tab. With this feature, the lens was able to provide fully-automatic diaphragm action with the new SR-3 (and later) cameras. It was a long-lived lens, existing until 1966. As a result, over the course of its lifetime, it can be found with and without LV markings.  It has an eight-blade apterure, and the f-stop lock tab is typically replaced with a DOF tab -- a more useful feature for a fully-automatic lens. The minimum f-stop was dropped from f22 to f16. The lens only has the f-stop clicks at full f-stop settings, unlike most later Minolta lenses with click-stop settings at half-f-stops, but afterall, this was their first attempt at click-stop lenses.

DESIGN: 6/5 
FOCAL LENGTH: 55mm
f-STOPS: 1.8-16
PERIOD: 1965-1966
INSCRIPTION: MINOLTA AUTO ROKKOR - PF 1:1.8 f=55mm
FILTER: 52
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: no
MD: no
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.75'
SIZE: 2.4"x1.4"
WEIGHT: 7.4oz.

In 1965, Minolta came out with a series of "compact" Rokkor lenses. It was a select group of Rokkors from 35mm to 135mm that were a little thinner, a little shorter and weighed a little less than their predecessors.  The 55mm f1.8 Auto Rokkor was one of these.  The size and weight of the lens was reduced, but the optical formula remained the same.  The filter thread was dropped to a less convenient 52mm filter thread.

DESIGN: 6/5 
FOCAL LENGTH: 55mm
f-STOPS: 1.7-16
PERIOD: 1966-1972
INSCRIPTION: MINOLTA LENS MADE IN JAPAN MC ROKKOR - PF 1:1.7 f=55mm
DESIGN: 6/5
FILTER: 52
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: yes
MD: no
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.75'
SIZE: 2.5"x1.5"
WEIGHT: 7.9oz.
A new lens to the Minolta line-up of SLR lenses. It replaced the 55mm f1.8 from the Auto-Rokkor series with a slightly faster f1.7 lens.  The optical formula was nearly identical (if it ain't broke...) and the lens features were very similar as well.  Except for the awkward 52mm filter thread size, this lens is a real winner and will work well with even the newest Minolta SLR cameras.
FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm
f-STOPS: 1.7-16
PERIOD: 1972-1977
INSCRIPTION:
EARLY STYLE: MINOLTA LENS MADE IN JAPAN MC ROKKOR-X PF 1:1.7 f=50mm
LATE STYLE: MINOLTA LENS MADE IN JAPAN MC ROKKOR-X 1:1.7 f=50mm
DESIGN: 6/5
FILTER: 55
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: yes
MD: no
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.5'
SIZE: 2.5"x1.4"
WEIGHT: 5.6oz.
Think of it as an updated version of the MC Rokkor 55mm 1.7 with the improved cosmetics and lenses coating of the MC Rokkor-X series. It's now a 50mm lens instead of a 55mm lens, but most people don't notice the small difference in perspective. To top it off, this lens is quite a bit lighter than its predecessor, and focuses a little bit closer.
FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm
f-STOPS: 1.7-16
PERIOD: 1977-1981
INSCRIPTION:
EARLY STYLE: MINOLTA LENS MADE IN JAPAN MD ROKKOR-X 1:1.7 f=50mm
LATE STYLE: MINOLTA MD ROKKOR-X 50mm 1:1.7 LENS MADE IN JAPAN ø55mm
DESIGN: 6/5
FILTER: 55
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: yes
MD: yes
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.5'
SIZE: 2.5"x1.4"
WEIGHT: 5.6oz.
An updated version of the MC Rokkor-X 50mm 1.7 with the typical changes of the MD Rokkor-X series.  If you use an XD camera or X-700, this is the lens to get.
FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm
f-STOPS: 1.7-22
PERIOD: 1977-1981
INSCRIPTION:
EARLY STYLE: MINOLTA LENS MADE IN JAPAN MD ROKKOR-X 1:1.7 f=50mm
LATE STYLE: MINOLTA MD ROKKOR-X 50mm 1:1.7 LENS MADE IN JAPAN ø49mm
DESIGN: 6/5
FILTER: 49
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: yes
MD: yes
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.5'
SIZE: 2.5"x1.4"
WEIGHT: 5.6oz.
Later style with filter thread changed from 55mm to 49mm.
FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm
f-STOPS: 1.7-22
PERIOD: 1981-present
INSCRIPTION: MINOLTA MD 50mm 1:1.7 JAPAN ø49mm
DESIGN: 6/5
FILTER: 49
DIAPHRAGM: auto
MC: yes
MD: yes
CLOSE FOCUS: 1.5'
SIZE: 2.5"x1.4"
WEIGHT: 5.8oz.
An updated version of the MD Rokkor-X 50mm 1.7 with the typical changes of the MD Minolta series.

COPYRIGHT @ 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 by Joe McGloin.

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The material on this website is protected by US Federal copyright laws. It cannot be copied or used in any manner without specific approval from the owner.