Minolta MC Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5 Macro vs MD 50mm 1:3.5 Macro – comparison

Published by Tony on

Minolta SR 50mm macro lenses comparison:

  • Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5 (Hills&Valleys/Knurled, MCII)
  • Minolta MD Macro 50mm 1:3.5 (New-MD, MDIII)

This is yet another battle between the generations. But I want to say in advance – regardless of the test result, in macro photography, both the lenses fully cope with their tasks because of closed apertures in this style of photography. Differences can be found at an infinite distance, but it will not affect the choice of the photographer.

MC Rokkor QF 50mm 1:3.5 MD 50mm 1:3.5
Serial: 2503371 8038372
Optical Condition: average (a few thin scratches on the front element) near mint
Mechanical Condition: near mint near mint
Cosmetic Condition: good near mint

This comparison is correct only for conditions and equipment used for tests. Test results can differ if any element is changed

Tested lenses reviews

Minolta SR 50mm Macro lenses comparison – sharpness/resolution

Long-distance test description

  • Camera Sony A7II (24mpx, full frame) – RAW (ARW), tripod, A-mode, ISO 100, WB fixed, SteadyShot OFF, manual focus correction for every shot
  • Targets (buildings) – fixed by gravity power on the distances in more than 200 meters
  • ARW post-processing – Capture One, default settings, 100% crops 300×200 px

Scene preview

Minolta SR 50mm macro lenses comparison - preview

Test results

Minolta SR 50mm macro lenses comparison

Minolta SR 50mm macro lenses comparison – final conclusion

Note: this was the simple comparison on the infinity distance. Such a test is suitable for macro lenses regardless of the fact that they are designed for shooting at short distances. Nevertheless, in the future, a more extended test will certainly be carried out for macro lenses

On opened apertures F3.5 and F5.6 and in the center and middle positions – the New-MD version is significantly better than older Rokkor MC, but Rokkor is amazing in corners and won there up to F8. Such the strange distribution of sharpness over the frame is rare but happens. Anyway, the newer Minolta MD 50/3.5 Macro is preferable because of the total amount of sharpness on photos and of the importance of the middle position for compositions in photography.


aidaho · 2020-02-20 at 16:27

I hate to say it, but this is not a good test for macro. Yes, it does tell us how these lenses perform at infinity, but this is not a use-case they were developed for.
One really has to test sharpness at appropriate magnifications (1:2 for these two, and 1:1 for a baseline) and watch for CA correction, as this can make or break the lens at specific magnification.

Something like Olympus 80/4 is brilliant at 1:1 (slightly better even than some contemporary macros), but will look atrocious at infinity.

    Tony · 2020-02-20 at 16:57

    hmm.. I think you’re wrong. This is a good test for any lens that can work at an infinite distance. Or do you think that at micro distances the winner will change? Even more – after the reading of this comparison, you can look at the main reviews with other tests: it seems you don’t know that at least 5 articles on this site are linked with these 50mm Macro lenses. And a few more are planned. One more: no need to pay so many attention for “macro” word – such lenses still the lenses, just with short MFD

aidaho · 2020-02-27 at 01:45

>Or do you think that at micro distances the winner will change?

This is indeed possible, though I’m not making this claim. I think few people realize just how bad really good macros can be at infinity.
My point here: other 5 articles didn’t say “this macro is better than that macro”, while shooting no macro at all.
Macro vs macro battle can’t be settled with just the infinity shots.

P.S. Replies don’t trigger email notification, even though I’ve subscribed for one.

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