The MC W.Rokkor-HG 35 mm f/2.8 with 7 lens elements in 6 groups is a standard Minolta wide angle lens from the 60’s. There are MC non-X versions of this lens with full metal body and identical optics and there are MC-X and MD versions with simpler optics (5/5) and superior performance. The latter can be identified by a much smaller front element.
The MC 35 mm f/2.8 is a solid and relatively compact and light lens which offers that typical buttery smooth focus common to most Minolta MC lenses. Handling on a NEX-5T is effortless. The effective focal length of 53 mm on APS-C cameras makes the MC 35 mm f/2.8 a handy normal lens with good overall performance and some weaknesses wide open.
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: Good. Slight scratches in the coating due to cleaning. A handful of lonely dust particles inside and what seems to be some ultra fine droplets of oil.
Mechanics: Satisfactory. Uniform and smooth but very easy focus, oily but working aperture. The latter seems to be a common problem of the W.Rokkor-HG, which is rare for a Minolta lens.
Exterior: Very good. Slight scratches in the finishing here and there.
Optical performance on NEX-5N / 5T
The lens starts a little soft at f/2.8 with medium haze and mushy corners. Resolution actually isn’t bad. At f/4, the haze clears in the center but still affects the corners. Central sharpness improves to medium to good values. Stopping down to f/5.6 finally clears up the corners which are now passable, while the center reaches close to very good sharpness. Performance becomes even across the image at f/8 with the center being very lightly affected by diffraction. The latter is slightly more pronounced at f/11 and visibly softens f/16.
CAs are not apparent at f/2.8 due to the haze. A slight red and dark cyan glow becomes visible at f/4 and transforms into very small red/cyan CAs at f/5.6. The aberrations stay constant when stopping down. Overall, a very good performance for a wide angle lens.
Vignetting is about 1 a stop at f/2.8, shrinks to 1/3 of a stop at f/4 and is gone by f/5.6. The lens also exhibits a small barrel distortion of -0.3%. The effective T-stop at f/2.8 is T3.2 (-0.4 EV), which isn’t impressive.
The MC 35 mm f/2.8 shows the typical weaknesses of vintage wide angles: Soft corners and uncorrected longitudinal CAs leading to a visible glow at large apertures. But stopped down to f/5.6, it compares favorably to a modern kit lens like the Sony SELP1650. Especially in terms of sharpness and resolution, the MC f/2.8 delivers pretty much the same performance as Sony’s compact zoom, which – to be fair – is already wide open at f/5.6. If you want more, you should look for the MD-II version of the 35 mm f/2.8, or go for the MC W.Rokkor-HH 35 mm f/1.8. The f/1.8 really destroys it’s competitors in terms of sharpness and corner performance, but shows visibly more CAs and is rather large and heavy for a 35 mm.
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