Film Photography

The 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X is a lovely lens

After shooting my Minolta XG 1 in Operation Thin the Herd, I decided it was time to part with all of my Minolta gear. Bit by bit I’ve been selling it off. But before I let my 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X lens go, I shot one last roll of film with it.


It’s a crying shame I’ve had such bad luck with Minolta bodies, because the lenses are sublime. This 50/1.4 leads the pack. It’s easily the finest 50/1.4 I’ve used for any system.

Queen Anne

Ultrafine Xtreme 100 has been a good utility b/w film every time I’ve used it, but this lens made the stuff absolutely sing.


Just look at that sharpness and detail! If only I had better luck with Minolta bodies, this lens and I could have made beautiful music together for years to come.

West Park Church

But I sold the camera to one person and the lens to another. I hope that they both get excellent use in new hands.

View out the window

Now every time I look at these photos, I will think wistfully about this lovely 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor lens.

Carpentry Hall

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22 thoughts on “The 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X is a lovely lens

  1. I have to agree abundantly about the Rokkor lenses generally Jim. And yeh as 50/1.4s go I think it was the best I’ve ever used too. I’ve had a Pentax-M 50/1.4, Pentax-A 50/1.4, a Konica 50/1.4, a Yashica ML 50/1.4, and a Super Multi Coated Takumar 50/1.4. Whilst all of these were great in their own ways (and with my love for Takumars I want to say that was the best), but the Minolta was at least as good if not better. Second is probably the Pentax-A, optics wise, but it doesn’t quite have the classy feel of the Takumars or Rokkors. Very very smooth to use too.

    Agree with you about the Minolta film bodies too! But for anyone wanting to pick up a couple of lenses to shoot on a micro four thirds or NEX or EOS digital camera, you can’t go wrong with those splendid Minolta Rokkors, especially the 50 and 55s.

  2. Andy Umbo says:

    Those of us in the “older” category can certainly remember when the Minolta system was still considered “professional” (David Hamilton anyone?). When I was in college Minolta and Pentax were still pretty big players (as well as the Miranda Sensorex). I knew one photographer that was a big proponent of the system and for him it was all about the glass. He couldn’t say enough good stuff about the lenses! In Milwaukee, we even had one “pro-am” camera shop specializing in Minolta (Colony Camera on west North Avenue). He had a collection of all the Minolta Twin-lenses too! My favorite.

    • It’s fascinating, isn’t it, to see how Canon and Nikon shook out as the leaders. It’s equally fascinating to see how Sony is now challenging everyone and giving them a run for their money.

      • Andy Umbo says:

        You said it! Hard to believe, if you would have told me Sony would have been a player even 10 years ago, I would have laughed! Now all the really experienced pros I know are starting to trade their stuff in for Sony and Carl Zeiss (which I live BTW), or amazingly Fuji! Can’t tell you how many old 35mm shooters I knew from 30 years ago are shooting and lauding Fuji!

        • TBM3FAN says:

          Sony cameras still use a lot of Minolta’s DNA via their earlier technology and innovations. All their early Alphas incorporated Minoltas work. Their newer E-mount Alphas still have Minolta DNA in them. No surprise as that was what Sony was after in 2006. The difference is the size and marketing power of Sony vs. Minolta. Had Minolta been larger, with more assets, the company may not have been forced to go with Konica who then sold out to Sony 6 months later. So Minolta does live on when you look for it.

  3. As the lucky purchaser of this particular lens (great price, excellent customer service) I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do. I haven’t managed to get out with it yet since I’ve been exploring my recently acquired 35-70 zoom but I think I’ll be taking out next week.

    • I think you’re going to love this lens. By the way, I bought it at an antique store in Centerville, Indiana, attached to a Minolta SR-T 202 that had some issues. I sold the 202 right away, but kept the lens until I sold it to you.

  4. jon campo says:

    Lovely images Jim. I agree about the Rokkor lenses, some of my favorite photos have been shot with a lowly 55/1.9 lens I got in a junk bin for almost nothing. I only have had one dead Minolta body myself, but quite a few lenses have had issues, most of which I have been able to DIY repair. Mine are all on the chopping block as well.

  5. TBM3FAN says:

    Such a hard luck guy with Minolta cameras. I collect Minolta and last count showed 48 of them. Four don’t work but I bought them that way to try my hand at repairing which includes the mysterious XD-11. However, all you needed to do was get an SRT be it a 101, 102, 201, or 202 and put the lens on. Unless you were born cursed at birth any of those cameras would have worked for you. Heck I could have sent you one of my 101 SRTs which was my first real camera four decades ago. With a working meter no less.

    ps: saw above you once bought a 202 with issues. Yes, you are cursed and don’t want to be near you in a lighting storm…

  6. Victor Villaseñor says:

    Jim, great shots, I like the first 2 the most!

    I have chosen Minolta glass as the best bang-for-your-buck balance, and concur, my 50mm f1.4 is the most impressive glass I have. I´ve just made the jump to FF with a Sony A7 and this lens just sings on it.

    Not that it doesn’t already on the XD11

    Thanks for sharing!

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