Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 – vintage manual lens test and review

  • Official classification: New-MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD III

Unexpectedly popular lens among Minolta fans. Even more – some people think that it is the best fifty ever,.. but sometimes these people say that this lens is a result of collaboration with Leica – and this is not true of course. So, don’t believe da hype (c). Anyway, independently of the fact that tests don’t display any advantages over other MD fifties, except a slightly better geometry, it is an amazing lens, like any other fifty by Minolta.

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 + X700

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 (MD III, New-MD) specifications

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 105
Name engraved on lens MD
f[mm] 50
A max [1/f] 2
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 6
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade clip-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×36
Weight[g] 150
Year 1981
Style MD III
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 2510-100
Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies Very High
Reviewed lens SN: 2093004

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 exterior

Mounted on Minolta X-700

This is a very suitable set – the camera and lens have the same design (1981 released)

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 lens shade:

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance:10% longer than minimal focus distance marked on the lens
  • 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

Scene preview

Test results (selected version, easy to compare – 4 positions)

Test results (full version – all 9 positions)

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 MD 50mm 1:2.0 aberrations


Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Short-distance bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance 0.45m, plants are in 2m distance from the camera

Long-distance bokeh

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance + 10% of scale (about 0.5m), diodes were fixed in 2m distance

Light bubbles bokeh, long-distance

On the minimal focusing distance 0.45m

Other resources with reviews:

Here you can see how the review of Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 looked right after the release in the press:

(Thanks for the material for   from forum.mflenses.com)

old Amateur Photography Magazine:

Minolta MD 50mm 1:2.0 (or Minolta MD 50mm F/2.0, New-MD, MD III design) – overall conclusion

This is cheap and common fifty of Minolta. Not so common as 50/1.7 but dozens of them can be found on auctions at any time. Also, it works very similarly to a faster 50F1.7. I envy photographers who do not pay attention to the maximum aperture size, as they can save money by getting the same photos as those who shoot with faster 50mm lenses. As in the previous case with MD 50mmF1.7 – the difference with faster lenses can’t be called as noticeable.

I know that on some forums people describe this lens as the sharpest fifty. But honestly, this lens is not the sharpest and it isn’t a disadvantage – the IQ is enough for any photographer’s tasks. In other words – this is just the usual wonderful fifty, like any other lens made by Minolta.

So, take any Minolta 50mm lens and you’ll be limited by your skills, not by the lens characteristics – these lenses are sufficient for everything, and MD 50mm F/2 is no exception.


Yes · 2018-09-28 at 05:29

Great review, thank you

RICK · 2019-07-07 at 05:36

I came back to this to compare the characteristics of my MC version. Nothing wrong, but, after looking closely at a couple of my pictures and liking what I saw, I wanted to see what your verdict was, but I think we might secretly have very different lenses. The most obvious difference is that the MC version has 5 aperture blades, 55mm filter threads, and slightly longer minimum focus, and but I think that it might have a very different, and possibly superior optical design compared to the MD (yes, I know they’re both 6/5, but there’s more to lens design than elements and groups, as you know). Just something to think about, in case you’re wondering what lens to review next and want to spend as little as possible!

Also, I noticed you didn’t have the long distance bokeh test posted for this lens… not critical, but I personally like it the best for examining bokeh character, which is largely what I came here to check…

Anywho, thanks for your work!

    Tony · 2019-07-07 at 13:39

    Thank you. Yes, everything is possible if we are speaking about Minolta. Usually, the newer lenses have a better IQ, but I know a few exclusions, so we can’t say something like ‘this lens is better because younger’ until tests will be completed. About ‘light dots bokeh’ on a far distance – I’ve added the one from archives – on shortest focusing distance only, but it’s better than nothing

      RICK · 2019-07-07 at 17:17

      Of course, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I thought you might find it interesting.

      And thank you for updating the page, I really appreciate it!

Tony · 2019-07-07 at 18:56

Of course, it is interesting )), always. If I get an opportunity to test any Minolta lens which still wasn’t tested on the site – I’ll do it

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