Chiyoko 135mm 1:4.0 Tele Rokkor – review

Published by Tony on

Chiyoko Tele Rokkor 1:4 f=13.5cm (c) lens review, aka Chiyoko 135mm f:4.0

Mount – LTM, Leica Thread Mount, or LSM, Leica Screw Mount, or M39

This lens is from the list of four very first lenses released by Minolta for 35mm standard film. Just 4 years after the end of WWII. We can say that this lens is a museum exhibit, but nevertheless, nothing prevents photographers from using it. I even think that if these lenses were alive, then they would really like to participate in photographing despite their age.

Chiyoko 135mm 1:4.0 Tele Rokkor + Minolta-35

Chiyoko 135mm f:4.0 specifications

Name engraved on lens Chiyoko TELE ROKKOR
f[mm] 135
A max [1/f] 4.0
A min[1/f] 32
Lens design [el.] 4
Lens design [gr.] 3
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 40
Lens Shade —
closefocus[m/ft] 2.4/8
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 50/97-105
Weight[g] 435gr
Year 1949-1953
Style Chiyoko
Notes red (c) on the front ring means “coated”

More data

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 10
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies Enough high
Reviewed Lens SN: 3157

Historical note

Excluding prototypes, this model has three generations:

  1. The earliest – started in 1949, with a rim near the screw mount which has a dull chrome. Very rare because of a small amount of production. The collector’s dream as it seems to me. The main difference from the next lines: close-focus is 2.0m/6.5ft. Serial numbers contain 4 digits.
  2. The second – continued in 1949. Rim’s material is changed to shiny chrome and close-focus becomes 2.5m/8.0ft. Serial numbers contain 4 digits. Absolutely not a rare item, from a collector’s view of course. The reviewed copy is definitely from the second generation. Readers know that I love all sorts of catchy features, so it looks like this lens has the earliest known serial number for the second generation. At least at the time of this writing, correct me please if this is not true.
  3. The third – started in 1953. The lens got a new shape with slightly changed dimensions and labels and a larger diaphragm ring. Serials of this generation contain seven digits. By rarity, I would put it between the first and second generations.

Lens Works -site can be proud – all four lenses from Minolta-35 initial period were reviewed:

  • 45mm f/2.8 Chiyoko Super Rokkor
  • 8.5cm f/2.8 Chiyoko Super Rokkor
  • 11cm f/5.6 Chiyoko Tele Rokkor
  • 13.5cm f/4 Chiyoko Tele Rokkor

And a few of LTM Minolta later models:

  • 50mm f/2.8 Chiyoko Super Rokkor
  • 50mm f/2.0 Chiyoko Super Rokkor
  • 50mm f/1.8 Chiyoda Kogaku Super Rokkor


Chiyoko 135mm f:4.0 lens exterior


Some elements of the set

Chiyoko 135mm f:4.0 mounted on camera Minolta-35 model B

Very authentic set – the camera and lens could be purchased at the same time.

Chiyoko 135mm 1:4.0 Tele Rokkor sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Scene preview

Test results

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Chiyoko 135mm 1:4.0 Tele Rokkor aberrations


Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (2.5m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.


Test conditions: lens was focused on 4.5m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 2.5m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 4.5m

Chiyoko 135mm f:4.0 Tele Rokkor – final conclusion

This lens has shown quite average results in tests. Not enough sharpness at any distance. Other types of distortion are also noticeable, even the geometry has a visible “pillow”. Although chromatic distortion and coma are lower than usual. As usual, a large number of aberrations make a beautiful bokeh.

As a result, we see the lens which can shoot interesting portraits in a vintage style, but, unfortunately, with some restrictions on the location of the subject due to the sharpness and the minimum focus distance.

Yes, lenses from that era can’t be recommended for photographers because of the lack of IQ, inconvenient constructions, weight, thread-mount, etc. But if you want to touch history, then this is exactly what is required. And remember, these lenses will be very happy if you take photos with them at least sometimes.


Paul Riecke · 2022-10-21 at 06:16

I have a 2nd Generation copy of this lens and it has a Serial Number 2928. It is missing the front and back caps. I have not tried using it yet. It came with a Leica IIIc, and a Canon Serenar 85mm f2, (SN 52979). Both lenses are in good condition.

Mike W Smith · 2023-12-21 at 07:08

I have a second gen lens because close focus is 8 ft. But it has the non chrome ring next to the screw mount and serial number is 27xx and it is used on a Leica iii, i think.

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