I absolutely adore this lens. It's fast, sharp, light-weight, and gives my camera a little "old school" appeal.
50mm is such a natural focal length to shoot at, since it closest approximates human vision. I frequently like to take my camera with me to work, and with the Rokkor-x 50mm f/1.4's compact size, I can just toss it in my bag and run out the door. No muss, no fuss!
In total truth, I far prefer it over my more modern Sony 50mm f/1.8 enough that I may probably end up selling the latter at one point or another as I just have no use for it. This lens completely feels natural on my a7-series cameras. It's got a good weight to it, it's compact and it makes my camera perfectly balanced, as all things should be...
I have become a huge fan of Minolta’s vintage manual lenses. They are amazing pieces of glass decades after they were made.
|Minimum Focusing Distance||19.7in/50cm|
The original production run of the Minolta Rokkor/Rokkor-x 50mm f/1.4 lens ran from 1973 until 1977 with this particular version being manufactured in, or after 1974, when Minolta added the "X" to the Rokkor name.
Construction and Build Quality
The build quality of this lens is fantastic. The lens body is pretty much all metal. The focus ring is knurled and give it a good, solid feel. It turns nice and smooth with just the right amount of "give." The aperture ring clicks, and I can work it without looking at it.
From a purely cosmetic standpoint, which is literally one of the LAST things you should think about when picking a lens, but we'll go with it, it looks great on my a7-series cameras. A great old-school look for a modern camera.
Vignetting and Chromatic Aberration
Vignetting can be a problem up til f/2.8. once stopped down however, it’s barely noticeable. The distortion is very minor and can be easily corrected in Lightroom. CA is thoroughly average, and the flare resistance is what you would expect from a lens of this age. This can result in loss of contrast if you’re not careful. I didn’t have a lens hood for this lens, so I bought an inexpensive aftermarket lens hood and it works fabulously. I lieu of a lens hold, simply shielding it with your hand will help a lot.
Sharpness is great in the center pretty much across the board, however, the corners stay relatively soft until you stop down to at least f/8. This is one of the major drawbacks of this lens. Overall, however, I’ll put the sharpness of this lens up against any modern lens. For a 40+ year old lens, I think pound for pound it’s one of the sharpest lenses I currently own.
Bokeh is such an tough thing thing to rate, because I find it’s a matter of preference. That being said, I like the bokeh the 50mm 1.4 produces. It’s not the creamiest smooth bokeh you will ever find, and many would consider it “busy” but I find it quite lovely and comparable at least to my Sony 50mm 1.8.
When the lens is stopped down, it starts producing hexagonal bokeh, I personally love it, but I totally understand that this might not be a universal sentiment…
Sunstars can be subjective subject, as with practically every other aspect of photography, but I really like the sunstars this lens produces. Owing to its six straight aperture blades, it makes really nicely defined sunstars, though i find my enjoyment of them increases as they grow smaller.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the 50mm 1.4. I tend to use it more often than my more advanced Sony 50mm 1.8, and really enjoy the results it produces. Flaring can be an issue, so just try and be mindful of where the sun is when shooting. Overall I think this is a great lens that can be found pretty easily and at a terrific price. if you come across one don’t hesitate to jump on it.