Quick question: Minolta 50/1.7 vs SEL50f18 ?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Amamba, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I have a chance to buy the Minolta 50/1.7 - haven't seen the lens yet, all I know is that it says "Japan" on front.
    Does it have any advantages over SEL50f1.8 ? Bokeh, color etc.

    The lens would be inexpensive ($20) but I don't need to have a duplicate of a better lens.
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The Sony 50mm lens is a great one with outstanding bokeh for its price. I don't think the Minolta can beat it in any area substantially, so I wouldn't buy it.
     
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  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    The Nifty Fifty rabbit hole can be dangerous. I have six lenses in the 50-55mm range and I don't even like telephoto! ;)

    That said, my Minolta MD 50mm 1:1.7 (doesn't say Rokkor on the front) seems to be the runt of the litter. Could just be my copy, but I wouldn't advise someone to get that if they already have the SEL50.

    HTH
     
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Any image quality issues may well be a wash between the two lenses. However (you knew there was a however, right? ;) ), if you find yourself in shooting situations where the AF can't keep up, or it's too dark to get a lock, or… ?? then the MF lens can come in very handy.

    The ability to zone/scale focus a lens is something that has to be experienced- telling someone about it just doesn't really convey the concept adequately. And the MF lens is inexpensive to the point of being a no-brainer.

    And there's that reversed lens macro thing that's tough to do with an AF lens w/no aperture ring too. ;)
     
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  5. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    So what I gather from this is, there's a plus to having a MF lens in a "duplicate" focal length, but Minolta 50/1.7 may not be the best one :).

    I had a sell offer for an Olympus OM Zuiko 50/1.8, $38, which may still stand. Would this be a better lens ? My previous exposure to OM was kind of mixed, but it was a different lens and it had some glass issues.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    You know that you can also MF the Sony 50mm lens? ;)
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Let me see you zone focus it. ;);)
     
  8. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    The problem with zone focus - for me at least - is that I suck at guessing distances.

    Otherwise, I can zone focus any lens - in theory. I would need to know the DOF limits (that's what calculators are for).

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Well, you can always pick up a pocket rangefinder and solve the distance estimation problem. Somewhat difficult to zone focus a lens with no range scale on it though. DOF calcs are easy if you have a smart phone. Several apps available for both iOS and Android. I use DOFMaster on my iPhone.
     
  10. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    IMHO the MD 50 f/1.7 is an awesome lens...
    an old thread... after that the obsession began :D
    https://www.talkemount.com/f12/im-love-1894/
     
  11. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    The biggest two things are of course the cost and AF.

    I hear good things from both lenses, and sure you would be pleased either way.

    If you like MF and want to save a bunch the MD 50 would be a great asset.
     
  12. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, I ended up getting it anyway. There's plenty of good reviews on the net, and I already have a MD adapter so I save some $ there. I will be mainly using it for portraits so corner performance is slightly less important.
     
  13. sleekdigital

    sleekdigital TalkEmount Regular

    135
    May 7, 2013
  14. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Macro is a completely new game... Right now I am more interested in portrait performance, especially the bokeh.
     
  15. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    From another thread I saw that you bought it and you did the right thing.

    It's hard to put the finger on it but some lenses just "speak" to you. It's not so much the focal length or maximum aperture, as how the lens renders the photos.

    I have three Minolta lenses in this range, the 50/1.4, 50/1.7 and 58/1.4. While they are all great lenses, the 50/1.7 strikes the perfect balance between optical correctness and artistic rendering.

    So, hopefully you will like this lens too. If not you can probably sell it on and recover your money.
     
  16. dshin525

    dshin525 TalkEmount Regular

    67
    Jan 4, 2013
    For $20, you cant go wrong. I have the lens, as well as 2 50/1.4s (MC and MD). They are all great lenses. Plus, i think it's much more fun shooting with legacy manual lenses!
     
  17. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    This one was $25... Not that it's a big difference.

    The $20 guy decided he would only sell the entire package for $65, which included the film body, an ancient flash, and a Quantarray tele - none of which I had any use for.
     
  18. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Getting a manual focus 50mm lens doesn't make much sense IMHO if you're happy with your Sony 50/1.8. However, if you want to play around with MF lenses then any cheap 50mm is a good way to start. I don't expect an Olympus 50/1.8 to be significantly better than a Minolta 50/1.7 (will now hide for the stampede of Olympus fans). Even an MF 50/1.4 of some sort doesn't make much sense because they usually have to be stopped down to at least f/2 for adequate contrast and sharpness. And then there's the comfort of having AF and lens data in the EXIF with the Sony lens.

    I've noticed that I leave my Minolta lenses at home as soon as I have a suitable native replacement for that focal length. The Sigma 30/2.8 is so good that no Minolta 28mm or 35mm lens comes close to its sharpness across the frame. The relatively expensive Minolta 17mm is no match for the Sony 10-18mm at the same focal length. I think I'll still carry a Minolta 50/1.4 sometimes even now I have the Sigma 60/2.8; the MC 50/1.4 performs very well at f/2 and that's a full stop faster, but I don't think I'd use it if I had a Sony 50/1.8.

    Real problem for me is that there aren't any really good telephoto E-mount options beyond 50mm. So I make do with lenses like the Minoltas 135/2.8 and 75-150/4 alongside the Sigma 60/2.8, until there will be a native telephoto zoom.
     
  19. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    From your posts, it's rather obvious that corner sharpness and overall good across the frame performance matter a great deal to you. I assume that you shoot a lot of landscapes.

    I shoot lots of portraits, so to me a good bokeh is very important. SEL50F18 so far doesn't stand out in this respect. Of course I only had it for a month. From what I see, the bokeh is merely OK. If I can get a better bokeh from an $25-30 lens, it's money well spent.

    Another reason to try an older (and much cheaper) 50mm is for travel / vacation. Fine Florida sand that gets inside the smallest cracks (and sometimes inside focusing rings), an overturned canoe, a sudden wave etc. All happened to me before. Luckily I was able to get the camera above water. Still, I'd rather risk a $25 lens that has no electrical contacts or OSS than a $250 lens.

    Finally, each lens had it's unique image characteristics, especially the tele lenses as they are all about bokeh. The colors and bokeh of my Minolta MD 70-210 are different from my Canon 55-250IS and that was different from Tamron 70-300VC. If I was shooting birds in flight or soccer matches, this would matter a bit less, but for portraits this is very important. Unfortunately my Minolta tele is too heavy and long for the tiny F3 body and it makes it difficult to avoid introducing hand shake blur; otherwise I'd be using it a lot, for it's unique IQ. (Hopefully EVF will make a difference). Judging by the samples posted from SEL55210, it has a very nice IQ and bokeh, too, and it's output looks distinctly different from Minolta. If I had both lenses, I'd use them both. This is hard to do when each lens costs hundreds or even thousands, but at $20-60 a pop, why not, it's a relatively cheap way to have fun.
     
  20. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    You're right, landscapes and cityscapes are my favorite subjects. It seems like a good idea then for you to try out some cheap old standard lenses. In my experience good bokeh is generally not related to price, it might pay off to just look around for image samples of older lenses. MF zoom lenses often show inferior bokeh, I think a prime is a better bet.