Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm 1.7 PF
This tandem is razor sharp at anything past f2.8 and looks fantastic on the camera to boot. I added a 52mm, screw-in vented lens hood to help with flaring and to provide a bit of protection to the front end of the lens. Including the hood, I’m into this lens 40 whole dollars (excluding the Rainbowimaging mount, which was 20 bucks).
Focusing is smooth with a longish 180 degree throw. Aperture ring clicks are solid and, while the ring action is not stiff, selections are positive and the ring stays put.
When I first attached this lens to the X Pro 1, I found that highlights were constantly being blown. Eventually (I’m not particularly bright), it sunk in that I should dial in -2/3 to -1 EV of exposure compensation. Once I did that, this lens really came to life. Even so, at f1.7 and f2.8 the lens still exhibits some reflective glowing/softness off of bright surfaces which, while not entirely unpleasant and perhaps even desirable in some circumstances, annoys me a bit. After all, if I pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of glass and it does this…oh, wait, I paid $34.99 plus a hood, so nevermind that bit. Anyhow, by f4 this glow is gone.
I decided to shoot RAW only with my manual glass as some of the older lenses exhibit color shifts because of their coatings or what have you. The 55/1.7 is no different, with a pronounced shift toward blue in bright sunlight. Custom White Balance helps to a certain extent, but RAW allows for better control after the fact. Also when shooting in RAW the blue cast is not present as it is when shooting with any of the JPG film simulations I tried. Perhaps this is common knowledge but it struck me as somewhat odd.
As those of you who have read this blog will recall, I am a fan of bolting manual glass to the X Pro 1. While the Fujinon lenses are great, they’re also sort of restrictive in focal length and, despite my love for the image quality of the 35/1.4, the presently-available Fuji prime lenses can be slow and occasionally unreliable to autofocus in challenging conditions even with the latest firmware. While a 55mm (82.5mm full frame equivalent) lens isn’t my favorite focal length, it does provide much more reach than the FD mount 24mm/2.8 SSC that is my go-to for street photography. The added length allows for some fun compositions that I might otherwise miss or that might require too much cropping to be ‘useful.’
Following are shots from the past week or so with this lens on the camera that demonstrate its capabilities on the X Pro 1. This Minolta is a fantastic bargain and is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a razor sharp, cheap and fun little lens.