The MD W.Rokkor-X 35 mm f/2.8 with 5 lens elements in 5 groups is a pretty regular Minolta wide angle from the late 70’s. It is the successor of the MC versions with more complex designs (7/6) and the “slower brother” to the MD 35 mm f/1.8. Although simpler in construction than the MC lenses, the later MD designs offer a much improved performance as you can see later on.
The MD 35 mm f/2.8 is a light and compact lens with a surprisingly small front element. The two beveled diameter steps at the distance scale and atop the focusing ring give it a rather distinct appearance. Handling on a NEX-5T is effortless and focusing poses no problem, although the rubber grip is very thin. The effective focal length of 53 mm on APS-C cameras makes the MC 35 mm f/2.8 a handy, no-worries normal lens with good performance.
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. No visible scratches, some very fine dust particles inside.
Mechanics: Very good. Uniform and very smooth focus, aperture clean and fast.
Exterior: Good. Some scratches in the finishing and other typical signs of use.
Optical performance on NEX-5N / 5T
The lens shows acceptable sharpness at f/2.8 with no apparent haze but rather soft corners and some astigmatism (horizontal lines are rendered sharper than vertical ones). At f/4 the center get’s a head start and reaches close to very good sharpness, while the corners are now at least acceptable. They further improve at f/5.6 where the central region shows a very good performance – maybe it even deserves an “excellent”. f/8 is a tiny bit softer again in the center and the corners still don’t impress. Diffraction becomes apparent at f/11, visibly softens f/16 and mushes f/22.
A dark red and cyan glow is visible at f/2.8 which finally sharpens up at f/8 to form some small CAs. The aberrations stay constant when stopping down further. A very good performance for a wide angle lens.
Vignetting is about 2/3 of a stop at f/2.8 and is gone by f/4. The lens also exhibits a small barrel distortion of -0.6%. The effective T-stop at f/2.8 is T2.9 (-0.1 EV), which is very good.
The MD 35 mm f/2.8 is a top performer in every aspect. With the exception of slightly soft corners – probably due to field curvature – it does not show any weaknesses and can be used even wide open without restrictions. Compared to it’s older cousin, the MC W.Rokkor-HG 35 mm f/2.8, the MD is ahead in every aspect. If you want even more, 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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