X Pro 1 and Legacy Glass – the Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm/1.7

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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.

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Ming Aralia foliage at f1.7, RAW exported from LR 4.2 to 2mb JPG no ppImage
Ming Aralia foliage at f5.6, RAW exported from LR 4.2 to 2mb JPG no pp

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.’

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Pink Scream

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.

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Lake Merritt Grass

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Broken

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Trenchcoats are back!

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Yerba Buena Gardens Carousel

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This job sucks.

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Big.

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12 thoughts on “X Pro 1 and Legacy Glass – the Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm/1.7”

  1. Hi Denis, I love the shot of the iPhone 5 towering over the Microsoft team. If I am not mistaken the girl isn’t even using a Microsoft phone :-), some sales team…

    The x-pro1 I think has a slight tendency towards a blue WB, even with there own lenses. Where we are living, reasonably high up near the alps, I find Images can consequently be way too blue on auto WB. LR has a more neutral interpretation of the same WB value.

    This combo produces nice shots, and what a bargain. I am interested to see more.

    By the way what are your experiences on the rainbowimaging adapters. In particular is the full 3rd party lens menu available when one is attached? I did not know these existed and was about to fork out for a Nikon rayqual adapter…you may have just saved me a fortune 🙂

    1. Hi George,

      Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the feedback on the white balance. I seem only to have noticed the cool tones with this lens, but perhaps I just haven’t shot in broad daylight with much regularity.

      With regard to your question about adapters – at present only the official fuji adapter allows access to the additional settings in the menu system. Beyond that I find rainbow’s stuff to be decent enough quality, but my FD mount adapter leaks a VERY small amount of light – it’s only noticeable when shooting long exposures (i.e. >10 seconds) in bright sunlight. With that having been said I own the M42, Pentax K, LTM, Minolta and the aforementioned FD adapters and they do their part just fine.

      Looking forward to more images from you!

      Regards,

      Denis

  2. Nice post. I have fuji x-e1 and fuji 35/1.4 lens. However, I love using nikkor 24/2.8, a pentacon 50mm and helios 58mm on x-e1. Old glass gives beautiful results.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I agree! I own fd 24/2.8, 28/2.8 and 50/1.4, an fl 35/2.5, a Meyer Optik (same factory as your pentacon I believe) 30/3.5, a super takumar 135/3.5 and a Tokina 80-200/2.8.

      When I don’t feel like switching lenses or thinking about what glass to bring I just leave the x pro 1 behind and bring along the x100. Gotta love options!

      1. It is 44M-7 58mm f/2 lens. First I had the M42 mount replaced with a custom made Nikon mount to use on my Nikon D40. now it is my main lens for portrait. I will post a photo.

  3. I just bought this lens today, and I must agree, that it looks REALLY good on the X-Pro1.
    I also have the 50mm f/1.2. But my initial reactions is that this is MUCH sharper. A very great lens indeed!

  4. Denis — it’s now January 2016, and I’m just now reading your blog about Fuji X and vintage lenses. Beautiful photos and great information. It looks like the last post here was June 2013. As of now (2016), would you recommend the XPro-1 (can’t afford XPRO-2) or the XE-1 (or 2) for using older, manual focusing lenses?

    1. Hey Ben! Thanks for finding the blog and for leaving a comment. I own the X Pro 1 and XE-1. I’d say the XE-1 is better suited to manual glass simply because the EVF is a bit higher resolution than that found on the X Pro 1. I do post to the blog occasionally but not nearly as often as I once did. Life got much busier. 🙂 Let me know if I can help further. I’m also active on the fuji x forums where I’m denissf. I’ve seen your name over there a bit lately as well. Take care!

  5. any experience with 58mm 1.4 ?
    can you comment how is the sharpness and contrast of 58mm from f1.7 compared to 55mm f/1.7.
    I have a chance to get either of this two lens of similar price. Im wondering which one shall I pick ?

    I would also pack Fuji 60mm f.2.4 into the comparison. How are the Minoltas compared when stepped down to F2.4 and F2.8 ?

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