MC Rokkor 58mm f1.4 PF

Technical data

6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view: 29 degrees
Min. focus distance: 0,6 m
Filter thread: 55mm
Diaphgram: f1.4 - f16
Weight: 300g

My personal experiences

This is the only Rokkor lens with metal focusing ring that I have owned. I bought it from a small shop in the central Finland to get an idea how these early Minolta SLR lenses worked. This lens is not known to be one of the best of the early lenses, but after having owned it several years I can assure it is a very useful one.

The lens has pleasant bokeh and it gives good sharpness and colour rendition when stopped down to f5.6 or further. Even at f1.4 it beats most cheap zooms of the AF era if they are also used at full aperture, and it is three stops faster than a 28-80 f3.5-4.5 zoom at 50mm! A good and cheap alternative for 85mm f1.7 for portraits.

This lens has relatively low contrast and, what is a bit odd, it does not handle high-contrast lightning very well. I've lost a couple of shots in harsh lightning conditions, which I think a newer 50mm lens had worked well, because the dark areas are totally black and whites burned. Another problem are the soft corners - the closer the focusing and wider the aperture used, the worse the problem. I think it comes from the curvature of the field, because it became really abstract, almost funny looking, when I put this lens in the end of Auto Bellows 1 (this setup) and tried to copy a slide. Tried, because I could see a ring of sharp focus - both the center of the frame and the corners were off focus at the same time! Of course, if I focused to the center of the picture, there was a sharp spot (size of the microprism in the Sr-T's viewfinder), and the rest was unsharp. When I moved the focus, the center became off the focused area while the outer parts became sharply focused. Of course, the slide is not completely flat, but I had much better success with 50mm f1.7, not to mention the 50mm f3.5 macro. I've never tried this lens reversed, which may be the right way to use this lens in closeups.

Old wheel at winter morning

Minolta XE-1
MC Rokkor 58mm f1.4 PF
1/60 sec. at f1.4
Sensia II 100
6.4.2000 Raisio, Finland

Mechanically, this is a well-made lens. It also gives bright viewfinder and a slightly narrower angle of view than the 50mm, which helps in portraits. If buying, check the diaphgram working carefully, as it sometimes is stucked in these old lenses. The lens should be relatively cheap, so there is no reason to buy a broken one, unless you get it free and can repair it yourself. I've heard these are used as loupes, but given the mentioned field curvature I would not try - or maybe reversed? Overall, I would not advice buying this lens, but look for a 50mm instead, because especially the f1.7 version can be found very cheaply and it is much better optically. But if you already own this one, it can be used to produce excellent pictures - it is not a bad lens, but there are better ones available.

River at Winter

Minolta XE-1
MC Rokkor 58mm f1.4 PF
1/60 sec. at f5.6
Kodachrome 25
12.3.2000 Vehkalahti, Finland