minolta 50mm f1.4 (1 of 3)

Still continuing to test Minolta glass on the Sony a7s. This time, I have the extremely affordable Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens. This tiny little 50mm lens generally sells on ebay for between $140 to $200 and it’s a great value for the price.

Build quality is in the ballpark of the Canon 50mm f1.4, mostly plastic with a metal lens mount. Where it differs from Canon’s 50mm offering is that there is no rubber grip on the focus ring. Instead, the focus ring is a tiny little ribbed bit of plastic at the front of the lens body which means you’ll probably have a tough time getting a follow focus on this guy. The focus ring moves pretty smoothly and the focus ring travel is a little less then half of a turn, so with a little practice you could probably pull focus by hand with this lens.

Amazon wide angle1 (2 of 2)

The Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens does have a few little quarks that make it interesting. The telescopic lens hood which slides in and out of the lens frame and travels along with the front element as the lens focuses is an interesting feature. Not sure how it would work with a 49mm filter attached but it is unique. The other odd thing is that the ribbed grip on the lens body is made out of hard plastic. Looks like it would be rubberized, but it’s definitely smooth plastic. 

minolta 50mm f1.4 (3 of 3)

The Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens is smaller around and shorter in length than the Canon 50mm f1.4. However, attaching it to the Sony LA-EA4 adapter ruffly double it’s size and because the lens is so light, the camera becomes bottom heavy on the LA-EA4’s plastic base. While I like the price of these Minolta lenses, the LA-EA4 adapter isn’t exactly the perfect solution.

Amazon wide angle1 (1 of 2)

Bokeh on the Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens is smooth and out of focus areas are very pleasing to look at. The lens is soft in the corners wide open and starts to sharpen up by f2. Center sharpness seems good most of the time, but I think I’ve been getting some random AF issues out of the LA-EA4 adapter. Auto focus works great with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens, but I’ve been getting just enough missed shots on the Minolta 50mm f1.4 to suspect some kind of issue. Might have to do some more testing.

minolta 50mm f1.4 (2 of 3)

Over all the Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens is a very affordable prime for the price. Image quality is good, bokeh is nice, and it’s a great value.  For the most part I’ve been buying these lenses for low light photography, the EF to E-mount adapter has been fine for film making and I don’t plan to invest a lot of money in new E-mount glass. I’ve been considering renting the Sony E-mount 55mm f1.8 to compare it to the Minolta because it’s really the only E-mount lens I would actually consider buying, but until I have time for that the Minolta 50mm f1.4 should do the trick.

One side note. When I was researching Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens, I found a note about the aperture blades. Apparently from 1985 until 1990 the aperture blades were flat and from 1991 through 2006 the blades are curved. I’m guessing I have one of the latter models because I haven’t seen any hexagons in the bokeh. I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference for most, but it is a difference to look for when buying used.

Tags: , , ,