« Nothing To See HereWell, Yes There Is (OT) | Main | Print Sale Update »

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Still using a Minolta 50mm 1.7 with my SLT A77. I can't stop loving it enough to move on to anything else.

What camera are you using it with? As a 75 on the Nex 6? - but it sounds like you're using it as a true 50mm on a full frame.

[If I got one it would be for my A900. --Mike]

I find the OM system as close as perfect a system can be. I still occasionally use an OM1 with TX400. The Fuji XT1 reminds me all the time of this camera. I find it curious that Canikon could never manage something with this size, weight, and handling. And the lenses are fantastic. I used an OM 24 2,8 MC on a Canon 5D with great tesults.

I own the Minolta version (RS model) and use it on the a850. The focus limiter switch makes it quite versatile.

I've never actually made much use of it because I don't shoot macro and I had, until recently, the Sigma 50 1.4 in alpha mount. If I decide to keep the a850, I'm moving to cheap lenses and this may be my 50 fill-in.

In limited use, I see much to like — sharp, good contrast, good bokeh.

The spiritual successor of your favorite OM, the Zuiko Digital 50mm f/2, was one of my favorite lenses on the 4/3 system, and really the only lens that I "miss." Tack sharp and lovely character. Too bad it hunted slowly, loudly, and incessantly, otherwise I would pick up one to use on my E-M1. Now I'm just looking for a good quality 90mm macro to adapt to m4/3 and use manual focus...

I used that lens with an a850 (Alpha mount). Oddly, I had bad luck using it for copy stand work. I didn't want to spend the money for a Zeiss makro, so I ended up selling my Sony kit and swam across the river over to the Nikon side. The Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Macro Autofocus Lens is way better for copying flat art. It even shines at 1:1. And furthermore, it is a sweet walkabout lens. I used a variant of that lens in the 1980s; it was a 55mm f/2.8.

I used the Minolta version on a Maxxum 7 film camera. My landscape kit was a backpack containing a WA zoom, then 50, 100, 200 & 400mm primes. The 50 & 100 were both Minolta macro lenses. Then when my daughter was born, I used it as a (very close) close up portrait lens for a while. It was great for faces, noses, toes, ears, fingers, etc.

I do not have this lens, but I have had its Minolta ancestor for some years, and use it on my A700 and on my NEX-6 with an adapter.

It is not my favorite lens, although no connotation of unsatisfactory performance is intended. I just have other lenses that I prefer because of the types of photos that I normally shoot.

FWIW, some images from that lens can be found in message #22 at:


These were taken in response to a question from a NEX user that was asking about performance of 50mm macro lenses.

- Tom -

I have the minolta version. I find it to be very practical in size and weight. Competent in its image qualities and neutral in its color. However, it is not a lens that I would usually pick first; it’s more in the category of lenses that I use to challenge my favorite shooting styles (35mm and 85mm). So in short, I don't love it as much as it deserves.

Link to a picture of mine, where I have no regret that I did not used a 35mm or 85mm

I've fallen in love with the old Canon FD lenses — on my Sony A7.

I seem to gravitate a lot to the 50mm 1.2 L

Picture at: https://flic.kr/p/omPDud

- Fabio

I guess I should say something about why I like these old MF lenses. :)

First of all, they're Manual Focus. This is important, because I've used Auto Focus for so long, I've become habituated to it. Yes, Is is a habit. With MF lenses I started questioning that habit.

To me AF is never really in focus anyway. Yes, something is in focus, but not really what I had intended to, at least not quite as precisely. With MF I can be somewhat more intentional, more deliberate.

An the aberrations of these lenses are cuter. They're not so overcorrected, there is (longitudinal) chromatic aberration, and I like the way it plays with the out of focus.

Do I miss shots because of having to manually focus? Sometimes. But I've become quite good at using the shimmering highlights on the A7, I can estimate quite well when I'm in the right spot. Better than with a split screen. The (human) body can learn a lot is you train it.

Finally, A7 EVF is quite amazing. It sees in the dark, it has incredible contrast and dynamic range, and with the possibility of magnifying things, I can see what I'm going to take a picture of as I've never before. MF lenses have a new life with this new way of seeing.

- Fabio

Once I saw the MTF chart I lost interest. Photographic examples of what the lens can do in various situations is all that matters to me. However I do understand that some people like to obsess over such things as charts and specs. To each is own.

[You can create MTF charts for any lens. And you can look at pictorial examples for any lens. Neither one precludes the other. --Mike]

I have offloaded my Canon gear to my daughter, a gifted photographer who lives in Nashville and shoots Country/Bluegrass musicians. Most of the gear I shoot is Micro 4/3. The last remaining DSLR is a Pentax K5 and that is to be able to use the 35mm f/2.8 macro. What a sweet lens.

I have this lens and really like it. I've had a Minolta 50 f/1.4 lens from the film days and have never been happy with it (and until recently 50mm-e has been my favorite focal length--35mm-e seems to work better for me now). I often thought the 50 f/1.4 should focus a bit closer than it does and it really needs to be stopped down to at least 2.8 before I consider it usable and the focus seems a bit erratic.

Anyway, I got the Sony 50mm Macro a few years ago to use on an A900 and haven't used the 50 1.4 since. The Macro is very sharp but not obnoxiously so. Works well even wide open (effectively as fast as the 50mm 1.4 as I was willing to use that lens). The recessed front elements means no need for a lens hood. I also never use it for Macro work, but do appreciate that it focuses closer than other lenses I use. If it were f/2 and only focused to 1:2 or even 1:3, it would be perfect.

I have that precious OM 50mm f2 macro, as well as the 21mm f2, 28mm f2, 100mm f2 and 35-80mm f2.8, I never wanted to get rid of them. They are such great lenses that I'm deciding which A7 I will get for them.

[All superb lenses save for the 28mm which is merely very good. [g] That 100/2 is fabulous. --Mike]

Thanks as always for the post. I thought your favorite 50mm was the Takumar 50mm 1.4. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-02-11-24.shtml

[It's kinda like picking your favorite between several of your own children. [g] --Mike]

I have a similar experience but with a longer lens. I use a Mamiya 80mm f4 macro on my A99 through at tilt shift adapter. It's the same concept of lens but for medium format. It's not my sharpest lens, not even my sharpest Mamiya (120mm f4 macro A) but it is dependable and consistent across the frame and the out of focus transitions are clean. I find it making its way onto my camera whenever I don't need f1.9.
I'm now searching for a 75-90mm replacement that fits my A7r though. So far the search has been tough, I want a reasonably small sharp and slowish lens and I haven't found it yet. The Leica 75s look really cool but are way too expensive. The old 90mm f2.8 Leica M doesn't sing to me. My current test is the old X-pan 90mm which looks nice so far but flares extravagantly. I may be stuck carrying the bigger A99 around whenever I have the itch to take slightly compressed detail images.

I bought the Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 after your review and discussion with Carl Weese. As an APS-C equivalent, it does the job.

[Another lovely macro-as-normal. --Mike]

I think many of us who are of a certain age have owned (and even kept) a disproportionate number of 50mm lenses! I'll add my voice to the support for the Zuiko 50mm ƒ/2 Macro. We've had a couple of them in the family (the first was stolen). But my personal favourite in this category is still the Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm f/2.8. I wouldn't describe it as a great lens technically, and on paper it's nothing special either as a macro or a standard lens, but its character and handling are excellent. We're probably all familiar with its results, as so much of Salgado's influential work was shot with this lens. As a bonus, it works very well for colour work with digital cameras, which is not the case with many of my older lenses.

Back in the day sporting a 55mm Micro Nikkor as your normal lens gave you a little extra photography cred. I'll bet one of these little guys would still sing on the front of one of Nikon 's high megapixel beauties.

I'm a big believer in the macro in the normal range, a double duty lens for the price of one, even tho the 'working distance' might not be all that ideal for a lot of macro subjects. BTW, it's good to remember that one of the aspects of macro lenses, is that they have very 'planar' sharpness, for document and art copying, not that they just "focus close". Just bought the 40mm Nikkor for my crew at work, and checked it on SLR Gear, and it has quite 'flat' plane of sharpness.

The 2.8 to 3.5 lens speed was fine, in a day and age before everyone wanted to shoot everything wide open all the time, for any reason. Most of us always shot (and I still do), at between f/4 and f/5.6, because for 'real' clients that were paying you, you actually had to get more than a tiny spot in focus.

Still looking at the newer "G" series 60mm Nikkor as the solution to an excellent portrait lens for Nikon APS-C

I own a few 50mm lenses, all of which became (co-)favorites.

This last year the lens most often on my K-01 (with the DSLR sensor) is the pentax 43mm 1.9. A new favorite (near-enough to) standard lens. I have not tried it yet with on a film body.

I'll bet you a dollar that the depicted MTF chart is showing the percent contrast for 10 and 20 LPPM, not 20 and 30 LPPM.
Of course, there's probably no way to verify it either way.

[Could be. MTF charts supplied by manufacturers are first stylized (the curves smoothed and regularized) and then percolated through the marketing departments, where the people responsible for presenting them often don't understand them. This one for instance was labeled as being f/2.8 and f/8, which is clearly impossible since it's just one chart. These always have to be accepted not as real data but as "symbolic of data" we might say. [g] --Mike

i've not used this particular macro, largely because i don't particularly care for macros for general use photography (they tend to be too slow for my available light shooting and too well corrected for my taste).

anybody considering the lens for macro photography should be aware though that the lens is prone to sensor reflections at macro distances and small aperture: http://thesybersite.com/minolta/sensor-reflection/

i've experienced this with my tamron 90/2.5 macro and they really can ruin images. luckily the issue doesn't seem to be visible for non macro shots with this sony lens or my tamron.

" I have that precious OM 50mm f2 macro, as well as the 21mm f2, 28mm f2, 100mm f2 and 35-80mm f2.8, I never wanted to get rid of them. They are such great lenses that I'm deciding which A7 I will get for them.

[All superb lenses save for the 28mm which is merely very good. [g] That 100/2 is fabulous. --Mike] "

Yes Indeed, the 28 f2.0 is the weakest of the bunch, but closed @ around f5.6 to f11 is really great. Take a look at this photos by Makten with this lens on a Sony A7.


The comments to this entry are closed.