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Featured: 'A truly fine Minolta lens...the MC Rokkor PF 55/1.7 (series 2)' by f/otographer

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by f/otographer, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    There are many fine Minolta standard, fast prime lenses in the wild. You really cant go wrong with any of them. What has long been my favorite is an older standard lens from the time before they moved to the regular 50mm format. The last in this line was the MC Rokkor PF 55/1.7, the second version with the knurled rings, not flat like the series one focus rings were. This is a beautiful little gem of a lens that is small, has excellent coatings, looks good and is capable of some very nice imagery. If you find a clean version I can heartily recommend it.

    I had a co worker ask me to take pictures at her grandsons first birthday party some weeks back. Since I love to take pictures I naturally agreed. I decided to take a break from my Yashica lenses which I shoot with almost all the time. I loaded up the little MC 55mm along with a newer (relatively speaking) MD 35/2.8, another Minolta favorite of mine. I ended up shooting almost the entire party with the 55.

    So here are some of the photos, along with a couple of my little girl playing in the park. The black and white images were shot in the High Contrast BW mode and are straight out of the camera. Hope you enjoy.

    14138258369_419c65f16a_b.

    14321576851_da1349b231_b.

    14345105983_2d17c43e9c_b.

    14323136492_f22ecd0e90_b.

    14138261479_e73f7aa00e_b.

    14301773566_f26f2b71e6_b.

    14345101093_2f9c57cf24_b.

    14069339940_23e9aa002c_b.

    14069381587_71df2164e0_b.
     
    • Like Like x 14
  2. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    Love the second shot and the last two shots! :)

    But I'm not in love with the bokeh of the light through the trees...
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Excellent set of photos!!!
    Personally I find #8 outstanding :thumbup:

     
    • Like Like x 4
  4. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    All amazing!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Those are all excellent. Your photos always have this otherworldly quality. I don't know if the coatings are the same but I have an MC Rokkor-PF 58/1.4. It is quite nice.

    Tony
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Just lovely, you should print those.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    lovehate, glad you liked the photos. You bring up an interesting point about the particular bokeh in these shots. This actual style of photography, using the out of focus pin point light sources of sunlight thru trees, is actually one I shoot quite a bit. I use it as a background effect whenever I can. It is a side effect of shooting wide open which comprises the bulk of my photography. I have experimented with it quite a bit and had varying degrees of success.

    At the party the day I shot these the light was absolutely horrible. It was around noon with no clouds and the party took place in a local park, some parts under the trees and some parts exposed directly in the sun. It was a nightmare of highs and lows. I had to be very particular about how I shot everything since I dont use flash at all. So no fill flash to help even exposure. I had some success with the color shots but it was the high contrast black and whites that, in Tonys words, help me achieve that 'otherwordly effect' that I am constantly trying to capture.

    Having said that, the pin point sun/tree bokeh in these shots are not the best. Not anywhere near it. The highlights are blown in many which detract from the swirly look that can often be achieved. But the subject matter is the much more compelling part of these photos and I feel I captured that at least part of that 'something' I am always looking for. But I agree with you, had I been going for bokeh alone these would have ended up in the recycle bin. :)

    Nick, Jose, Dave, thanks for the comments guys.

    Tony, as I mentioned above I am glad you can see what I am trying to do with my photography. I always shoot with an eye toward the 'dreamscape' that is just around every corner and can sometimes be glimpsed out of the corner of your eye. Its elusive and I dont capture it as near as often as I would like, but as with most things in life it is a learning process. I am very pleased you saw it here. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    Here are a few more examples from the little Rokkor that could.

    the fairy queen holds court
    14276125913_179b40162e_b.

    contemplating the slant of the world
    14374069574_ddee42a532_b.

    water witch
    14366821671_2b36f4f6fe_b.

    science fiction
    14376874822_58085fbf86_b.

    another from the party
    14450273753_917091fb01_b.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  9. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    The "feel" of an image is always more important than technicalities. And your photographs really speak for themselves :)

    I hope you don't mind that I'm discussing your work. I do it because I like it so much, if that makes any sense to you. Honestly, I think you are better than your lens here. For example, the 6th photo of the girl at the birthday party table is composed beautifully and very "in the moment." But it could have so much pop if the bokeh weren't so distracting. I understand the look you are trying to achieve (I'm all for shooting wide open all the time) but I feel the lens is kind of a let down in controlling the pinpoint light. I'm sure the hard noon light has something to do with it tho!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    I guess we all have different views on things, because I don't find the bokeh distracting at all. I'd be quite happy to have taken those photos. Your daughter is adorable, by the way.

    Tony
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    Yes, it's totally my subjective opinion!
     
  12. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    lovehate, I dont mind you discussing my photos at all. Thats one of the reasons I post them to forums such as this. And I am very pleased that you like them as much as you do. An artists always wants his work to be well received beyond just the usual platitudes. As for being better then my lens...well, tis but a poor musician that blames his instrument. :)

    Would my beloved Yashica ML lenses have fared better here? Possibly. As any number of other lenses might have. I dont really know, the lighting was quite atrocious. Bokeh is such a funny thing and can be affected by so many different attributes in a given photo. But I have noticed over several years of shooting a distinct difference in the way Minolta and Yashica lenses render the OOF areas of a photo. Almost all Yashica lenses were made by Tomioka, a third party Japanese lens maker that Yashica eventually bought so they wouldnt have to outsource their lens production anymore. Tomioka was already in house by the time of the Yashica Zeiss deal that led to the creation of the Contax/Yashica system. It has always been my opinion that the Tomioka made Zeiss lenses are some of the finest lenses ever created in the history of photography. There is just something about the way a Tomioka lens renders. I dont know what it is, but it has always been pleasing to my eye. It is why I choose to shoot with Yashica ML lenses. You are really getting about 99% of the ability of a Contax Zeiss lens at a fraction of the cost. Except for the German made CY Zeiss lenses they were made of the same assembly line as the ML's. Yashica learned a lot from Zeiss and it shows in the ML line.

    Anyway, the lenses I had that day were Minolta. Outstanding lenses in their own right. But if I had the ML's the photos would have probably have a completely different rendered character. Howerver I am in no way displeased as to how they turned out. :)

    By the way, I have spent a bit of time on your blog. Very interesting stuff there. Kudos for a great website.

    Tony, thanks again for the positive comments on the photos. And the comment about my daughter. She is a little sweetie. :)

    As to your earlier comment, I have a MC Rokkor PF 58/1.4 as well. It is a lovely lens to be sure. Not quite as sharp wide open as the 1.7's that Minolta made (in either 50 or 55mm), or at least my copy isnt (I have owned two of them). The coatings from old Minolta lenses are hard to pinpoint because they were constantly changing them as they made improvements, even directly in the middle of a production run of lenses. So the same two old Rokkors of the same type of lens could have different coatings even if they are off by just one serial number. The only real way to compare them is to hold both of them up and let them reflect a light source and then look at the color of the reflections. I have done this with my series two 55/1.7 against a series one and seen the difference in the later coating on my lens. I havent been able to check it directly against another series 2 though. It would be nice to have a large number of Rokkors of one type together in one place to actually compare them so a better working knowledge could be had. As it is one must just peruse the web for stories and hearsay and histories and try to just piece it all together. I mean afterall we are talking about lenses that were considered old and out of date when the internet first began. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    @f/otographer - I must say your photos are truly captivating. I always like to see you come out of hiding and post these pictures that border on that "dreamlike" state. It takes a special eye to spot that place in a scene and exceptional skill to capture it. I'm still in my rookie year, so I can only dream of getting to that level some day. Keep posting to help me get there quicker. ;)
     
  14. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Yep, and then eBay was created. My guess is that lenses that once could be had for a few dollars suddenly became "collectible", plus the MILC phenomenon that allowed for the use of older adapted lenses. I've looked occasionally for Yashica ML lenses, and except for the 50, they tend to command premium prices, similar to Voightlander lenses of the same FL. I need to get out and scour some yard sales and thrift shops.

    Tony
     
  15. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    West0kid, thank you for the very kind words, Im very glad my photos speak to you. It has taken me quite a while to be able to capture even a small part of the dreaming in my photography. Its all about continued practiced and getting in touch with the well of creativity that is inside yourself. Every photographer has an 'eye' and it takes some time for that vision to be brought forward and transposed onto the mundane world. But when you do it once or twice your hooked for life. :)

    Tony, it is unfortunate that prices of ML glass seems to be on the rise. But the lenses really are worth quite a bit and it was only the death of the CY system and rise of digital imaging that 'devalued' them for a while. Even before the MILC renaissance they commanded decent prices since they were one of the few systems that would work on Canon DSLR's. But even then they never sold at their true worth due to being seen as 'inferior' to the Contax Zeiss lenses in the same mount. Nothing could be further from the truth of course. But I am fine with that myth being perpetrated if it helps keep prices down. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 TalkEmount Regular

    60
    Mar 2, 2014
    RI
    Brilliant set of pics!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    322
    Sep 25, 2011
    I agree! Although the rest of the shots are good. This is the one that stands out as an image.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount
     
  18. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    Thanks storyteller. I was fortunate to catch that one with the water still falling off the bottom of her boot as she stomped around in the puddle. It was one of those that as I was going back looking thru the photos at home on the computer I just stopped and said "Wow.....thats a keeper". :)