Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 – MDII – review

Published by Tony on

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 lens review

  • Official classification: MD/New-MD
  • Collector’s classification: MD-II

Ladies and Gentlemen! If you are even a little fond of photography, then this lens should be put on your camera, and only sometimes change to some other lenses. OK, it is a joke. I am by no means going to insist on such radical advice. The choice of lens is a personal matter for everyone. It’s just that this particular lens is really a great option among other ultra-fast models.

Lens specifications:

# in minolta.eazypix.de index 91
Name engraved on the lens MD ROKKOR(-X)
f[mm] 50
A max [1/f] 1,2
A min[1/f] 16
Lens design [el.] 7
Lens design [gr.] 6
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 55
Lens Shade screw-in
closefocus[m/ft] 0.45/1.5
Dimension Ø x length [mm] 65.5×46.5
Weight[g] 315
Year 1978
Style MD II
Code No. (ROKKOR-X) or Order No. 581


Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies High
Reviewed Lens SN: 1016005



Historical note

This lens has no predecessors, it doesn’t even have an MD-I version, and appeared already in the form of MD-II. Yes, in the past Minolta released Rokkor MC PG 58mm 1:1.2, but there is nothing in common between these two lenses except speed.

The reviewed Rokkor lens was borne in 1978 and replaced by the next MD-III incarnation in 1981. Total production estimates – about 25000 copies.

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 lens exterior

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 mounted on camera Minolta XD

A quite authentic set – the camera and lens could be purchased at the same time

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 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 MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 resolution close 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 MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 resolution far distance

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 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 MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.2 – final conclusion

Let me go straight to the positives. The lens is small and light for its parameters. This, by the way, feels good after 58mm 1.2. It has good sharpness at F2, and it becomes completely sharp across the entire field of the frame at F5.6. Quite a common result, even for lenses from the 1950-s. But I’ll clarify – you can shoot without worrying already starting from F2, a completely working aperture.
As for F1.2, be sure to experiment with portraits. I insist, because I myself have ceased to be afraid to use it at all – yes, there is a slight loss of contrast, but this is not a problem subject to subsequent digital processing. If to exclude softness, the lens keeps details very well even on F1.2.
The second plus, no longer so obvious, is related to bokeh. The lens gives an absolutely Gaussian bokeh on wide aperture, but at F2-F4 it starts to look like it was painted with oil paints – some kind of brushstroke appear. I think it’s because the lens has 6 aperture blades and it doesn’t draw a usual circle but straight lines at different angles like brush strokes. Yes, I know that talking about bokeh is not a very good form, because only those who want to think about bokeh think about it. But in the case of such lenses, this can begin to play a noticeable role in the frame, even for the average viewer.

The lens also has disadvantages. They are all expected. I was even too lazy to do some tests, because the results were predictable in advance. Firstly, geometric distortions are slightly larger than lenses with f1.4 aperture (which, in turn, are inferior in this parameter to slower f1.7, and so on). This is not critical, yes, the barrel is noticeable but can be fixed in editors. Also noticeable is strong vignetting and chromatic aberration at F1.2. They are also corrected in the editor, but still this cannot be ignored.

Am I ready to recommend this lens? Yes, without a doubt. By optical design, the Rokkor MD-II version and the MD-III version without the word Rokkor are the same, so choose whichever you like.


Saveelah Janjua · 2023-02-01 at 18:09

How do I find the film to use in it? It’s an original from 1979.

    Tony · 2023-02-01 at 18:12

    This is the lens. You can use it with almost any 35mm film or with many digital cameras

Mikołaj · 2023-04-18 at 21:21

Tony, once again your reviews are a source of great information and are feeding my lens addiction. Many thanks from Poland

    Tony · 2023-04-19 at 12:34

    Hello Mikołaj, thank you for the kind words. You are always welcome 🙂

Max · 2024-04-11 at 20:53

Hey Tony!
Great review as always. Thank you for your work 🙂

How would you rate this against the MD III version of this lens? I have the MD III and really like it but always prefered the build quality of MD II over MD III.

    Tony · 2024-04-12 at 17:33

    Hi Max! Thank you and welcome! To be honest, I think it is the question of religion – what is better MD2 or MD3 – they are so similar. On the other hand – in some cases Minolta really did work on the mistakes in the last series of MD. Not very noticeble but anyway. On the other hand, this is more linked with some long-focus lenses, but the designs of fifties are most likely close to similar. In addition, they have absolutely the same optics. My opinion is simple – from the photographers point there is no difference between MD2 and MD3, and if you are the owner of one of them, then this is a good reason to use it; photographing with such optics is always a pleasure. Of course, there are times when someone who is a perfectionist has, for example, 10 lenses of the same series and one that is different – then this is a reason to think about replacing. But perfectionists have their own ways and it’s impossible to give advice here ))) So, the my simple opinion: if you prefer MDII – it always would be a nice choice

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