Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 – AR I – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR-I) engraved as “Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 1:2.0  f=55mm” lens review

  • Official classification: SR
  • Collector’s classification: AR-I

Slightly slower sister of the earlier Auto Rokkor PF 55/1.8. Literally – the second kit lens in the history of Minolta SLR cameras – was produced specifically for the SR-1 cameras (the second SLR by Minolta). I will definitely make a comparison of these lenses in the future, but for now we will consider the younger one separately.

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens specifications

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 125
Name engraved on lens AUTO ROKKOR-PF
f[mm] 55
A max [1/f] 2
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 6
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade D57KB
closefocus[m/ft] 0.5/1.75
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 62×42
Weight[g] 260
Year 1959
Style AR I
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 526 or LFJ

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 8
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies Good
Reviewed Lens SN: 1424743


Historical note

As mentioned above, this is the second kit lens (1958) for the Minolta SR mount and thus has no direct predecessors. The lens was replaced in 1962 by the next version AR-II by collectors classification. It is very easy to distinguish it from all subsequent 55/2.0 – the distances between the aperture marks are unequal:

Probably about 90,5k copies were made (Thanks to Andrea Aprà for the estimates).

The model has a few versions/variants with a number of little differences. Serious collectors distinguish at least 3 versions, If you see a simpler differentiation, then some nuances are skipped, so let me to describe the main signs.

Firstly, we can select two “color” versions: for black and for silver cameras. Both were produced throughout the entire production cycle of the camera SR-1. The version of the lens for black cameras is a hero of this review. It seems to me, the SR-1 in black was produced much more than the black “flagman’s” SR-2 and SR-3. Therefore, black SR-1 cameras themselves and lenses for them a less rare and do a less strong heartbeat among collectors. But that heartbeat still presents.

On the photo below, you can see the difference in color of the mount ring between silver and black versions:

The rest of the differences: Aperture ring without half-stops or with half stops at 1:2.0-5.6, and serials starting from 13xxxxx and from 14xxxxx. Here are the combinations of these features and gives us three possible variants of the lens:

  1. No half-stops
  2. Half-Stops and SN = 13xxxxx
  3. Half-Stops and SN = 14xxxxx

It seems to me that all variants are more or less the same by optical design . The specific lens tested is somewhere in the end of the entire line (SN started from 14).

Also, I must express my admiration for the work done by Maury Jacks, Trotwood Paris, Han Fiasco, Michel Brien, Henrik Robeck, Brad Smith, Andrew Coones, Jan Koning and Andrea Aprà of course… as well as many other collectors, who invested part of their efforts in popularizing the early period of SR cameras.

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens exterior

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens mounted on camera SR-I

To be honest, it is not a kit – the lens is bit older than the camera.

Below is the real kit of Minolta SR-1 silver and AR-I lens (Han Fiasco’s collection):

“SR-1 Model 2 (1157353) + AR-I 55mm F2.0 (1343593) with box matching numbers, so we are sure that they were delivered together back in 1960.
Mint condition and complete with case and D57KB lens hood.”

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens 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

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) small distance

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

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) big distance

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens aberrations


Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.5m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.


Test conditions: lens was focused on 1.0m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.5m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 1.0m

Minolta Auto Rokkor PF 55mm 1:2.0 (AR I) lens – final conclusion

What should we expect from an old simple inexpensive lens from a secondary product line? Usually, nothing special. But not this time.
Based on test results, we get:

  • Excellent sharpness in the center on the fully open aperture and even good detail in the corners. Again: there is no softness in the center on any aperture. Amazing
  • The entire area of ​​the frame becomes completely sharp at F5.6 – good
  • It is ready for portraits at F2.8. Yes, I recommend to remember the behavior of the lens and place the subject in the correct part of the frame, but anyway – it is quite working aperture
  • The absence of geometric distortion
  • Minimized chromatic aberration
  • Predictable coma
  • Extremely soft bokeh and literally imperceptible transitions to the blur zone.

I re-read everything I wrote above, and even began to doubt – is this really the ideal lens? Of course it is not. But the fact that it surprises me with it’s IQ is definitely a surprise, I expected much worse results.

Can it be recommended? The fast answer – yes, but depends on…

I admit, that more modern and extremely cheap 50mm counterparts with an aperture ratio of 1.7-1.8 will cost just as cheap, but at the same time can have some advantages in tests. On the other hand, this lens has a historical and collectible value, perhaps it will inspire photographers even more than than a few pixels. (Of course, if photographers are interested in the history of their photographic equipment).
Anyway, I think that if you come across it at a sale, then you simply cannot pass by. So there is no need for recommendations.


Pablo Minces · 2023-06-20 at 20:25

Hello, thanks for your interesting reviews. It would be great to see your comments or review on the rare Auto Rokkor PF 53mm 1:2.0 which was manufactured only during the year 1964 for the SR-1. A very compact lens. The lowest and the highest serial numbers I’ve ever seen on the internet were 1000518 and 1011651. It is very difficult to find information online about this lens.

    Tony · 2023-06-22 at 13:25

    Hello Pablo. To my regret I still hadn’t get this lens, I’m working on it – is in my wish-list. Many Thanks for the SNs range

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