After year long break I finally found some time for posting some short reviews of 35mm lenses. These days I’m more into electronics than photography and I’m afraid it won’t change anytime soon. However I’ll try to finish what I started and test all remaining lenses that I have. The 35mm tests are last ones performed before changing testing environment a bit, hopefully to provide better results. In fact I tested all my 35mm lenses year ago but never managed to post results. I’d reshot these tests in new environment but I already sold some of lenses. Also please forgive me nice piece of lint visible at higher F numbers I’ve noticed it after conducting the tests and was too lazy to reshot everything.
We will start our 35mm journey with Minolta MD Rokkor 35mm F1.8
This is smallest and lightest version of Minolta MD 35mm F1.8 lenses weighting only 235 grams according to Minolta Manual Lens List. I don’t have it anymore (I chose to keep F2.8 version) so I can’t weight it myself. My copy had marks on front ring and on mount screws on the back so most probably lens was disassembled for cleaning or repairs in the past. It could have been either week before I bought it or 30 years before I bought it. You’ll never know, but it was working flawlessly.
At F1.8 we start with strong vignetting which reaches well into middle of the frame. After stopping down to F2.8 things rapidly get better with very light vignetting at F4 and none at F5.6. Color rendition is very good with great contrast and just minimal yellow tint. Blueish tint on lower right part of color table is my mistake in lighting setup causing reflection. It affected only 2 of all tested lenses.
Sharpness when wide open is ok from center to mid sections and worsens near edges. Corners are soft with a bit of visible ghosting. At F2.8 and F4 center and mid sections become good/very good, but edges and corners are still soft. They improve at F5.6 and are ok from F8 all the way to F22. The lens produces medium barrel distortion throughout entire F range.
If you really need F1.8 this is one of smallest and lightest manual lenses available. However with average prices between 120 and 200 euros and if you don’t need F1.8 I’d rather choose F2.8 version of lens which is sharper, smaller, lighter and cheaper (even by half).