NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5

Started Mar 29, 2011 | Discussions
kaktusss
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NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
Mar 29, 2011

Last weekend, I tested the Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5 legacy lens.

The first impression is great : the lens is light (much lighter than my Rokkor 50/1.4) and compact (a bit longer than my Rokkor 50/1.4) and has a built-in hood :

from left to right :

  • Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5

  • Minolta Rokkor MC 50mm/1.4

  • Minolta Rokkor MC 50mm/2 (I still have to try this one)

The 135 lens was hard to use handheld I must say. The focus ring is great but it's very shaky. It was easier for still images : I took the nex near my belly and it was a lot more steady. I'm not as impressed as with the Rokkor 50/1.4, still it's very good for the price (less than 15€).

Here are a few samples :

The PP colors were itendedly hot.
C&C Welcome, as always.

MBRuss
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Re: NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 12, 2012

Seen a Minolta F3.5 MC Tele Rokkor 135mm up for sale myself and was wondering what it would be like. Wonder how it compares to the MD. Again, it's pretty cheap at 25 quid, and I already have a Minolta adaptor.

Does anybody else have experience of this lens or sample images to share?

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ProfHankD
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Re: NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 12, 2012

MBRuss wrote:

Seen a Minolta F3.5 MC Tele Rokkor 135mm up for sale myself and was wondering what it would be like. Wonder how it compares to the MD. Again, it's pretty cheap at 25 quid, and I already have a Minolta adaptor.

Does anybody else have experience of this lens or sample images to share?

I have the 135mm f/3.5 MC Tele Rokkor QD version with rubber grip and no built-in hood (the screw-in metal hood is a pain, but needed). It was my workhorse tele back in the late 1970s, and was and still is optically quite good, even wide open. For its focal length and speed it was relatively expensive when new. Mine has oil on the blades, and I now need to press the depth of field preview button on the lens barrel to get it to stop down... annoying, but workable on a NEX adapter. The incredibly smooth operation of the huge focus ring partly makes up for that -- it is a joy to handle.

With f/1.8-f/2.8 135mm lenses all over the place, many of the f/3.5-f/4 135mm lenses were not really the cheap versions as much as they were the compact easier-to-hold versions. However, most old 135mm lenses are optically very good by f/4 and very cheap. Even the tiny old Vivitar f/2.8 versions that I've got 4 copies of (each cost under $15 shipped) are really pretty good, especially close-up. Just avoid the old Sears and especially the old Soligors.

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MBRuss
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Re: NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
In reply to ProfHankD, Jun 12, 2012

Well I've seen an MC 135mm f2.8 Minolta for £25 and an MD version (f2.8 again) for £69.

Now it's just whether the MD version was enough of an improvement optically to warrant being more than double the price...

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ProfHankD
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Re: NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 12, 2012

MBRuss wrote:

Well I've seen an MC 135mm f2.8 Minolta for £25 and an MD version (f2.8 again) for £69.

Now it's just whether the MD version was enough of an improvement optically to warrant being more than double the price...

You're right -- KEH has the MD at about 2X the MC version price!

In general, most MD lenses were either optically the same or slightly revised versions of the late MC versions. The biggest difference I'd expect would be that the MD lenses are a bit lighter (using some high-grade plastic) and some are more compact. Not worth a 2X price difference for digital use. On later Minolta camera bodies, however, the MD version has the edge of providing additional info to the body... which could add to the value.

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stevemark
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MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 12, 2012

There are 16 (!) versions of the Minolta 2.8/135mm for SR bayonet. The classical MC Rokkor-PF 135mm 1:2.8 (six lenses, five elements) does NOT have the legendary performance of the later MC/MD Rokkor 135mm 1:2.8 (four lenses, four elements). The latter has a large. thick LD-glass element which is responsable for its good correction. At that time it was as good as Leitz' Elmarit 2.8/135mm and only slightly inferior to the Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/135mm (according to the extremely accurate tests in the German "Foto-Magazin").

A detailed test of > 10 Minolta 135mm lenses on the NEX-5N is already done, but up to now i found only the time to publish the results of the 50mm lenses:

http://artaphot.ch/nex-lens-comparisons

Stephan

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Charlie Lab
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to stevemark, Jun 13, 2012

I love my MC Tele-Rokkor-x 135 f2.8 , it's extremely sharp. It's long, though, for hand-held, so you have to be careful to eliminate hand shake.

this is taken handheld with the 135:

This is a crop of the face... note that this is 1.3% of the original picture...

It still boggles my mind what a sharp lens coupled with a 24MP sensor can do. Mind you, it's like driving a supercar at times - the power can get you in trouble a lot as well.

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If you take a great photograph, I really don't care whether it came from a Leica or smartphone. Just share it.

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stevemark
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to Charlie Lab, Jun 13, 2012

Charlie Lab wrote:

I love my MC Tele-Rokkor-x 135 f2.8 , it's extremely sharp. It's long, though, for hand-held, so you have to be careful to eliminate hand shake.

You may infact own the excellent "4/4" (four lenses, four element) version of the MC-X 2.8/135mm. Optically it is identical to the early MD-I 2.8/135mm.

It still boggles my mind what a sharp lens coupled with a 24MP sensor can do. Mind you, it's like driving a supercar at times - the power can get you in trouble a lot as well.

Yep. The MC/MD 2.8/135mm [4/4] was built with a large, heavy lens of LD glass. Today it would be marketed as "APO", "G" or at least as "LD" or "L". But Minolta - as well as Zeiss - love understatement: Todays Zeiss ZA 1.8/135mm is a nearly perfect APO lens - and nothing ist mentioned anywhere about this quality ...

Stephan

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MBRuss
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to stevemark, Jun 15, 2012

I see. Well the version I have ordered is the 6 element 5 group version - designated "PF".

It looks exactly like the one at the top of this page:

http://digitalrokkor.altervista.org/minoltalens_135-300mm.html

Will take some pics at some point and post them up.

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forpetessake
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 15, 2012

I remember was testing 135mm/2.8 Rokkor-PF and that lens was a dog. It had terrible resolution and microcontrast even at F5.6, CA was heavy at F2.8, the only good thing I noticed, it didn't flare too much.

I often hear people say that all 135mm are practically all the same, which is absolutely not true. The only consolation, I paid for that dog about $30.

MBRuss wrote:

I see. Well the version I have ordered is the 6 element 5 group version - designated "PF".

It looks exactly like the one at the top of this page:

http://digitalrokkor.altervista.org/minoltalens_135-300mm.html

Will take some pics at some point and post them up.

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forpetessake
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a test picture
In reply to forpetessake, Jun 15, 2012

a 100% crop

forpetessake wrote:

I remember was testing 135mm/2.8 Rokkor-PF and that lens was a dog. It had terrible resolution and microcontrast even at F5.6, CA was heavy at F2.8, the only good thing I noticed, it didn't flare too much.

I often hear people say that all 135mm are practically all the same, which is absolutely not true. The only consolation, I paid for that dog about $30.

MBRuss wrote:

I see. Well the version I have ordered is the 6 element 5 group version - designated "PF".

It looks exactly like the one at the top of this page:

http://digitalrokkor.altervista.org/minoltalens_135-300mm.html

Will take some pics at some point and post them up.

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ProfHankD
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Re: a test picture
In reply to forpetessake, Jun 15, 2012

forpetessake wrote:

a 100% crop

I don't have a Rokkor 135mm f/2.8 so I can't say how good/bad it is, but the above image marked as the Rokkor looks like the focus plane is tilted. The level of detail falls off sharply left and right of his left shoulder, but not vertically, which suggests you did not align the focus plane with the target. This also looks like a crop from a close focus scene, which is not what a 135mm is normally optimized for. You're also comparing it with a 100mm saying quality of 135mm lenses varies dramatically...? In summary, not a good way to prove your point even if your point is valid....

The multitude of 135mm lenses I do have range from terrible to excellent, with most in the near-excellent range. The Soligor I have, which is a 1950s version, is terrible -- but wide open it does have decent sharpness hidden behind tons of halo; it is probably the most flattering portrait lens I own:

My second poorest 135mm is a Sears... which is optically about average among all my lenses. The rest of my 135mm lenses are all significantly better than average (across all focal lengths) and certainly better than most zooms, including modern ones.

Incidentally, my MC Rokkor QD 135mm f/3.5 on my NEX-5 was somewhat middle-of-the-pack... although on my NEX-7 it is one of the best. There are other issues in play. I find the NEX-7 delivers better microcontrast than the NEX-5, so lenses with high resolution but low micro-contrast often do better on the NEX-7. I don't know if the NEX-5N is more like the 5 or the 7 in this aspect.

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john-photoguy
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Re: NEX-5 + Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135mm/3.5
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 15, 2012

I had collected a bunch of 135 lenses, thought i would compare them all, with a couple zooms for good measure posted the results here, thought it was interesting. Just an informal test Hope it helps

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1042&message=40041196

MBRuss wrote:

Seen a Minolta F3.5 MC Tele Rokkor 135mm up for sale myself and was wondering what it would be like. Wonder how it compares to the MD. Again, it's pretty cheap at 25 quid, and I already have a Minolta adaptor.

Does anybody else have experience of this lens or sample images to share?

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anaksatawo
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to forpetessake, Jun 15, 2012

i have an MC 135/2.8 rokkor-pf and find the results to be quite satisfactory on my nex-5.. but as they say, YMMV, my thread here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1042&message=41785809

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MBRuss
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Re: MC Rokkor-PF 2.8/135mm clearly worse than later MC/MD 2.8/135mm
In reply to anaksatawo, Jun 15, 2012

Thanks for your replies - I guess I'll just have to see what it's like when it arrives. I only paid £20 + £8 postage for it, so it's not a great loss if it sucks. Be nice if it's decent though.

Once it arrives I'll take some photos and post the results here. I'd be greatful for your opinions on the shots when I do. I'm not that great at "testing" lenses, and not a pixel peeper, but it'd be nice to know if it's decent.

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RussellInCincinnati
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any more details on most-liked Vivitar 135/2.8?
In reply to ProfHankD, Jun 15, 2012

ProfHankD, can you show us a photo of your most-liked "tiny" Vivitar 135/2.8? And explain what the mount is?

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forpetessake
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Re: a test picture
In reply to ProfHankD, Jun 15, 2012

ProfHankD wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

a 100% crop

I don't have a Rokkor 135mm f/2.8 so I can't say how good/bad it is, but the above image marked as the Rokkor looks like the focus plane is tilted. The level of detail falls off sharply left and right of his left shoulder, but not vertically, which suggests you did not align the focus plane with the target. This also looks like a

No, what you see is close to the upper left corner, so the lens gets worse the closer to the corner it is. The similar softness was in the middle as well, I don't have comparison results to post here. I might re-shoot those tests with other 135mm lenses, though I don't really want to spend time on what is already known to be a very mediocre lens. And believe me, the lens sucks at infinity as well. I think current price around $30 is in the ballpark, this lens doesn't cost any more, better 135mm lenses cost over $100.

crop from a close focus scene, which is not what a 135mm is normally optimized for. You're also comparing it with a 100mm saying quality of 135mm lenses varies dramatically...? In summary, not a good way to prove your point even if your point is valid....

The multitude of 135mm lenses I do have range from terrible to excellent, with most in the near-excellent range. The Soligor I have, which is a 1950s version, is terrible -- but wide open it does have decent sharpness hidden behind tons of halo; it is probably the most flattering portrait lens I own:

My second poorest 135mm is a Sears... which is optically about average among all my lenses. The rest of my 135mm lenses are all significantly better than average (across all focal lengths) and certainly better than most zooms, including modern ones.

Incidentally, my MC Rokkor QD 135mm f/3.5 on my NEX-5 was somewhat middle-of-the-pack... although on my NEX-7 it is one of the best. There are other issues in play. I find the NEX-7 delivers better microcontrast than the NEX-5, so lenses with high resolution but low micro-contrast often do better on the NEX-7. I don't know if the NEX-5N is more like the 5 or the 7 in this aspect.

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MBRuss
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Re: a test picture
In reply to forpetessake, Jun 18, 2012

Well mine arrived today...

Here's some samples. I kept flicking between fully open and F5.6, but I'm not sure which is which, but that's why there's two of each shot. There's some CA at the tops of the buildings, but nothing any worse than my e-mount lenses. Images are OOC jpegs, just downsized in Photoshop so they can be uploaded to DPR. Whaddaya think? To my eye, the images look fine... but then I'm not overly critical, and I'm not sure if these images really allow much evaluation of the lens.

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forpetessake
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more pictures
In reply to MBRuss, Jun 19, 2012

I probably shouldn't have been too critical regarding this lens. Though it's not the sharpest 135mm it has some other nice qualities to it. I do like the colors it produces, I like the smooth bokeh. Here are some pictures taken with this lens:

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MBRuss
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Re: more pictures
In reply to forpetessake, Jun 19, 2012

I was thinking that, actually. The colours in my shots seem quite vibrant. However, the bokeh in my shots of the flower seems quite distracting. I'm not sure if that's just due to what was in the background though.

Overall, I'm happy with it for what I paid. I'm still amazed that something that rolled off the production line 14 years before I was born, can now be mounted to my new high-tech camera 41 years later and produce good images.

(Stop trying to work out how old I am... ;-P)

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