Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4

December 22, 2018

As with my previous lens reviews, I don’t go through technical tests, I don’t review actual performance of a lens, I talk about my experience using a lens, and show images captured with said lens.

I bought the Minolta Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4 in the summer of 2016 for my Sony A7 from Kameratori. It’s not in mint condition, but I only paid 79€ for it, so I can’t complain. My specific lens was built sometime around 1965, which makes it 55 years old, quite a bit older than me, 23 years to be exact.

Sunset in Vaasa, Finland
Sony A7, Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, 1/4000s, f/x, ISO100

Although it’s not at 50mm, it’s close enough, and I actually think it’s been one of my main workhorse lenses on the A7. I’ve adapted the lens with a cheap MD-NEX adapter from Ebay, which put me back a whoopin’ £6,99, the adapter is a metal ring that you put between the camera body and the lens. It’s not permanently attached to the lens, so it can be reused with however many lenses you want.

The lens, and the adapter, are fully made of metal, which makes them quite hefty, I don’t know the weight of the adapter, but the lens is roughly 350g. Compared to the Canon, all plastic, nifty-fifty (Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II), which weighs in at 130g.

Streetart sticker, Smash Capitalism, on a wall mounted ashtray
Sony A7, Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, 1/1600s, f/1.4, ISO100

The sharpness and the general performance of the lens wide open isn’t on par with modern lenses, the focus ring feels like butter, and it turns quite far, which helps a lot when focusing.

I seldom use it at f/1.4 because it tends to be quite soft, and it’s hard to nail the focus unless you’re shooting a stationary object. But I do like the bokeh that the lens renders (in harsh light, the bokeh does sometimes end up quite rough, see the image below), I’m not just quick enough with manual focus to use it with people.

A dog in the forest
Sony A7, Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, 1/800s, f/x, ISO100

SL commuter train at Solna station with Mall Of Scandinavia in the backdrop
Sony A7, Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, 1/250s, f/x, ISO100

Sony A7, Minolta Auto Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, 1/1000s, f/x, ISO100

So at the end of the day, would I re-buy this lens again? Probably not, the more modern Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II is so cheap, and weighs next to nothing, I’d probably recommend that lens over this – or really any modern f/1.8 50mm that you can get your hands on.

I would love to recommended because of it being a rather cheap f/1.4 lens, but it’s generally too soft wide open to be usable in most cases. The main pro with this lens is probably the focus ring, which is moot if you use or prefer auto focus.