Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 MD II – vintage manual lens test and review

This lens was produced only in one incarnation – MD II version. It has no analogs before and after, and this case is quite rare for Minolta because usually, we can see product lines of the lenses with identical focal distances and apertures, like MC -> MD-I -> MD-II, etc. That’s why we have a right to call this lens as unique, so let’s see the abilities of one of the most famous pancakes in the world’s lens history in Minolta Rokkor MD 45mm 1:2.0 lens review.

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 + Sony A

Minolta Rokkor MD 45mm 1:2.0 specifications:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 88
Name engraved on lens MD ROKKOR (-X)
f[mm] 45
A max [1/f] 2.0
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 6
Lens design [gr.] 5
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade  –
close-focus [m/ft] 0.6/2.0
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 64×30.5
Weight[g] 125
Year 1978
Style MD II
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 588-100 (-300)

More data

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 5
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies High
Reviewed lens SN: 1665021

Note: the tested lens has ‘ROKKOR-X’ labeling, it means that the lens was produced for the North American market, but there are no other differences with the same lenses without this label.

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 lens exterior

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 0.4m
  • 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

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 aberrations


Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh


Test conditions: the lens was focused on 0.6m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance


Test conditions: the lens was focused on 1.5m, buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.6m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)


The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 1.5m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Other resources with reviews:

Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm 1:2.0 – final conclusion:

This is a small and pretty simple lens with not very common focal distance. Very good choice for photographers who likes a little bit wider than classical fifties. It is a nice performer in the middle and center, corners are good enough too, but this lens better to recommend for street or portraits than for landscapes. This feature with not perfect sharpness distribution over the whole frame may be one of the reasons for interesting bokeh rendering provided by the lens – quite ‘old-school’ if wide-opened, and if closed – with amazing pentagons because of the five-blades aperture.

A lot of fans have added these lenses into favorites and many people use it permanently without switching to other lenses. This lens is from ‘pancakes’ family, but I believe that it still too thick for this category, anyway, it is still smaller than an average 50mm lens, also very lightweight. It wouldn’t take much room in a photographer’s bag and unexpectedly can invert a simple scene into an amazing picture – looks very close to the ‘must-have’ lens, especially if to remember the price. In ‘heavy case of dependence,’ the lens has a chance to become the only lens for the owner.



Pacónidas · 2018-10-27 at 23:10

Congratulation for your website, it is really interesting and useful for minolta md shooters.

What do you think about this lens against de 50 mm minolta MD III?. This fifty may be better in every regard, and i dont know if it is worth the extra little more size and the little less field of view.

All the best,

    Tony · 2018-10-28 at 23:38

    Hello, thank you. And what about me personally – I prefer faster (F1.4) 50mm lenses from Minolta MD line with 49mm filter thread MDIII or MDII – 7 elements in 6 groups optical design, also the legendary MC PG 58mm F1.2 can be recommend if price looks OK. All these lenses have been reviewed and compared on the site

Doog · 2018-11-22 at 19:15

Thanks for such a thorough review!

According to MinMan ( http://www.subclub.org/minman/ ) Minolta only made one pancake lens, and it is fixed to the Minolta ER SLR (45mm f2.8). Most of the eBay listings for 45mm f2 call it a pancake, but I believe you are right: it is too thick.

    Tony · 2018-11-22 at 19:32

    You are welcome, and thank you for reminder of MinMan’s site – I must add it to ‘links’

Gustavo · 2019-02-27 at 12:48

Would like to ask you , due my ignorance on the topic:( .
What you means whe you find a lens with floating elements is “partially suported by Af adapters” and when they do not have floating elements is fully supported by af adapter. I do understand is the techart but it means will fail to focus when floating elemenst?
Beacause I’m wondering if for example having a 35 mm 2.8 and the 1.8 (floating) it is better to have the 2.8 than the 1.8 if this last one has issues with techart pro, maybe fail to properly focus? ( a7iii+ techart user)

Many thanks

    Tony · 2019-02-27 at 13:31

    Hi, for lenses with floating elements the distance from back lens to film/sensor surface is important for image quality. The focusing of such lenses isn’t a simple moving the whole lens-block from- to- sensor as it happens with simple scheme lenses, and adapters like techartPRO can’t help many with focusing. Common hint – is to set manually a correct distance on the lens scale and then use TAP for thin tuning. But I recommend to perform a little tests with your current lens on wide opened aperture and on minimal-middle-infinity distances on the lens scale – in some case the affect can be too little to care about it, but for some lenses it can be big. The affecting mostly noticeable in corners. Hmm.. good idea for test-article, will plan it for 2019.. Thank you 🙂

      Gustavo Ibarra · 2019-02-27 at 16:46

      Oh, I see. I didn’t know about it.
      My md 35 1.8 may have some issues the. :(. I will check that, and begin to look forward for a 2.8 version , just in case .

Bill Taylor · 2019-03-17 at 05:00

Fantastic Reviews. Love your cute anime girls .

Andrzej Wilk · 2020-03-02 at 22:48

great job, thanks

Mohammad varzideh · 2021-08-07 at 08:57

Hello . Great review . I use this little lens on my minolta xd7 and srt 100x . It’s really good lens for general purpose . Also for my photography it has really fantastic wide open . I like it a lot.

    Tony · 2021-08-07 at 20:24

    Thanks. BTW – XD7 and this lens are items from one generation, a very suitable couple

JC · 2024-05-14 at 15:17

Hallo Tony,
ich bevorzuge das Rokkor 35mm f2.8.
Es hat zwei entscheidende Vorteile gegenüber dem 45mm f2, welches übrigens eine offene Blende von etwa f2.4 hat.
1.) Und zwar kann ich mit dem 35mmf2.8 Closeups machen, also Nahaufnahmen, bei einem MFD von nur 0,3m.
2.)Zweitens ist das Rokkor 35mm f2.8 schärfer, und zwar a) bei Unendlich, also bei Nahaufnahmen,
b) in den Ecken ist es schärfer als das 45mm
und c) ich kann das 35mm f2.8 schon bei f2.8 einsetzen.
3.) Ich verwende das MC W.Rokkor 35mm f2.8 in der letzten Ausführung mit 5 Linsen, es ist viel , viel besser gebaut als das 45mm Objektiv.
Gruß, Jens

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