1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 - a "Sigma 30" for full-frame?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jefenator, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Back in the NEX-7 days, the Sigma 30mm EX DN was my most-used lens. Now that I use the A7, I couldn’t help but wonder: how would a 45mm like the Minolta MD Rokkor-X compare?

    The plastic Sigma lens on the smaller NEX-7 body feels almost weightless. With more metal content and a metal adapter, the old Minolta on the larger A7 feels more substantial but not overwhelmingly so. The pairings differ by half a pound (17 vs 25 ounces).

    12711822563_eb00a97db2_c.
    NEX-7 w/ Sigma 30mm A7 w/ Minolta 45mm by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The Minolta gives you the old-school manual lens experience while the Sigma has the sometimes-annoying focus-by-wire setup with a focus ring that sticks if you squeeze it too tightly. But of course you get autofocus.

    There are a few scenarios in which the Sigma will render more detail than the Minolta. In particular: wide open in the corners. By f/5.6 the Minolta catches up in the general region, but the extreme corner remains a just tad soft, even at f/11.

    12765242943_f88e983fce_c.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on NEX-7 vs Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 on A7 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Most of the time, the Minolta has little trouble rendering slightly cleaner detail at the pixel level. This is very consistent with my other comparisons, pitting the NEX-7 against the A7 – full frame has a slight but undeniable advantage. (In my experience, only an especially cheap lens - like my DeJur 35/2.8 - will fail to come out ahead most of the time on full-frame while only the very best optics come close to bridging the gap on APS-C at optimal settings.)

    12765541754_5ceba1608b_c.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on NEX-7 vs Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 on A7 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Subject isolation is no contest. With f/2.8 on the smaller format, the Sigma 30mm always did seem a bit workmanlike in this department. The faster (f/2) Minolta on the larger format yields a 2 ½ stop advantage!

    12765541944_9ee74e2fb5_o.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on NEX-7 vs Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 on A7 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    But it’s not all gravy for the Minolta. Minimum focus distance is 2 feet versus 1 foot for the Sigma. (Closer than most old non-macro normal lenses.)

    Also: flare. The Sigma has modern coatings and generally fares pretty well with the sun in or near the frame. The old Minolta? Not so much.

    12765093615_f46731d9e6_o.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on NEX-7 vs Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 on A7 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The Minolta 45mm seems to have a slight sickly yellowish tint - definitely not the best example of those legendary Minolta Colors. Calibrating both systems with the WB card evens things out, but with the Sigma 30mm I never felt a need to.

    12765093155_e66d322457_o.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on NEX-7 vs Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 on A7 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    So, at the end of the day, does the Minolta 45mm recapture my old Sigma 30 experience? Not really. The thing is, on the NEX-7, the Sigma 30mm is one of the best performers and the best values in a normal prime – I preferred it quite a bit over the 28-35mm legacy lenses I tried.

    The A7 is a completely different story. It works splendidly with just about any normal-range legacy prime, so good options could not be more numerous. The Minolta 45mm seems frankly outclassed by other “nifty fifties” I already use. For general use and landscapes, I much prefer my Leitz Summicron-R 50mm. (Something about the colors, the performance at all apertures and the overall character – you can really feel the absence of compromise.) For low light and/or extra isolation, there’s my Minolta MC 50/1.4 or the Canon FL 55/1.2.

    12765539094_39c2899812_o.
    Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 vs Leitz Summicron-R 1:2/50 by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The Minolta 45mm does have a certain size/price allure but in my opinion there are better performers to be had for not much more cost or heft. (Hint: I’d rather head out the door with the Olympus OM Zuiko 50/1.8, which has the exact same adapted size.) I guess that extra 5mm of width didn't sway me.
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Great review/comparison :thumbup:
     
  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Pretty descent review.

    Having both these on my 6, it is interesting to see the differences.
     
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    The thing that would really replicate the Sigma 30 experience for me would be a 42mm FE-mount lens. Reasonably sharp all over from wide-open, crazy sharp from f/5.6 to f/11. Good flare resistance. If it were 1:2.8 it could be small and light and cheap (and still have a 1 1/2 stop shallow focus advantage over APS-C). Autofocus, of course. About $250, new.

    How about it, Sigma?? ;)
     
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I'm not sure that any (reasonably-priced) legacy lenses are going to achieve the kind of corner-to-corner sharpness and flare-resistance that can be achieved with some modern designed-for-digital lenses like the Sigma 30 (and 60). Then again, as you know better than most, sharpness isn't everything. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    196
    Aug 20, 2013
    Heehee, I would be to sure of that. :)

    http://www.artaphot.ch/sony-nex/altglas/341-sony-a7-and-classical-rokkors

    As to the 45mm Rokkor I have said this before and I will say it again. I literally hate that lens. I am a big fan of Minolta glass and plan to use my collection more now on my A7. But that 45 just does nothing for me. IQ isnt great, its plasticky and the minimum focussing distance is rangefinder-like long. Ick...a stain on the great Minolta heritage.
     
  7. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    I've had nothing but good luck with mine.

    Not perfect, but some respectable shots.

    DSC_0251.JPG

    Still probably not the best to compare with the 30mm Sigma.