Review: Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 (MC-X)


Review_MC Rokkor PG 50 1.4The MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 is the successor of the MC Rokkor-PF 58 mm f/1.4. The 50 mm is often said to be Minoltas sharpest standard prime in the SR system, although some insist that the MC Rokkor-PG 58 mm f/1.2 wins this battle by a hair (heads up: it doesn’t!).

The lens feels fantastic, focus is buttery smooth and the weight balances well on a NEX-5T. Optical qualities wide open and the effective focal length of 76 mm on APS-C cameras make the MC Rokkor-PG an excellent portrait lens.

For the MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 I’ve created lens correction profiles, which are available for download. For further details on the lens like weight and dimensions, have a look at its entry in the Minolta SR mount lens database.

 

Condition of my copy

Optics: Very good. Only the slightest scratches in the coating due to cleaning. A handful of lonely dust particles inside.

Mechanics: Very good. Smooth focus, aperture clean and fast.

Exterior: Good. Slight scratches in the finishing here and there.

 

Optical performance on NEX-5N / 5T

Update (16.03.2015): Test shots repeated with a little more love put into focusing at f/1.4 and f/2. The lens now performs slightly better wide open.

The lens is hazy and slightly soft at f/1.4, with consistent performance across the frame. The haze mostly clears at f/2 and contrast improves considerably pushing the perceived sharpness. Resolution increases visibly starting at f/2.8, when the last bit of haze disappears from the corners. From f/2.8 on, the lens clearly outperforms the Sony SELP1650 kit zoom resolution wise. Sharpness reaches excellent levels from f/4 to f/8 with consistent performance across the frame. Diffraction ever so slightly softens f/11 and gives the image a pronounced softness at f/16.

Chromatic aberrations are blurred away at f/1.4 due to strong hazing. A red and cyan glow becomes visible at f/2 and transforms to clear, very small CAs at f/2.8. The CAs decrease slightly when stopping down, but never disappear completely. A good to very good performance for an achromatic lens.

Vignetting is about 2/3 of a stop at f/1.4, improves nicely at f/2 and is gone by f/2.8. The MC Rokkor-PG also exhibits a slight barrel distortion of -0.5%. The effective T-stop at f/1.4 is approximately T1.6 (-0.4 EV), which is okay.

Compared to the MC Rokkor-PF 58 mm f/1.4, the 50 mm f/1.4 is certainly the better lens. While is shows a bit more chromatic aberration, it is sharper up to f/4, has superior contrast and the better corner performance. In a contest with the MD-I Rokkor 50 mm f/1.4, though, there is no clear winner. The MD shows slightly more haze in the corners up to f/2 but higher contrast in the center. The MC features a slightly higher sharpness at these apertures. From f/2.8 on, both lenses are very, very close in terms of resolution & sharpness and probably indistinguishable at f/4 to f/16. But the MD has the advantage of showing less chromatic aberration. In the battle of the f/1.4 normal primes, the MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm is your specialist for wide-open apertures, the MC Rokkor-PF 58 mm is the one for dreamy retro shots and the MD Rokkor 50 mm probably is the best allround performer.

 

Test charts

The following images are pixel-level crops from the test chart. They may appear scaled in your browser window. Click on them to view the crops in full size and cycle through them easily. For more info on the test setup, visit the details page.

 

Overview

Test chart overview

(Cropped areas marked in orange)

 

f/1.4

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4

 

f/2.0

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/2.0

 

f/2.8

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8

 

f/4.0

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/4.0

 

f/5.6

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6

 

f/8.0

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/8.0

 

f/11

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/11

 

f/16

MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 @ f/16

 


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4 thoughts on “Review: Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 50 mm f/1.4 (MC-X)

  • Glauco

    Hello! I have this lens and try to use your LCP but Lightroom 5 do not recognize. I’ve installed in Mac ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Camera RAW/ LensProfiles/1.0/Minolta but I cannot see in Lightroom. I suppose is the extension .lcs all the others profiles have .lcp. Any suggestion? But anyway thank you for you work!

    • Benjamin Post author

      Hi Glauco,

      the profiles I offer are created with the PS lens correction filter (not CameraRaw). To my knowledge, it is not possible to use them in LR. The LR & CameraRaw .lcp profiles need multiple shots of a special checkerboard chart as well as an Adobe tool to compute them, which is a process I currently do not have the patience for 😉

      Regards,
      Benjamin

  • nurjaya

    hi..

    is any difference(s) in image quality between MC Rokkor PG 50mm f1.4 and MC Rokkor-X 50mm f1.4? because i found that the rokkor-x version in cheaper in ebay

    thank you

    • Benjamin Post author

      Hi nurjaya,

      to the best of my knowledge, there is no difference between the MC Rokkor PG and the MC Rokkor-X PG 50mm f1.4 except for the inscription on the front ring. The ‘X’-designation was introduced by Minolta for the US market only – either as a marketing move, or to identify gray imports.

      Regards,
      Benjamin