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Old Aug 16, 2010, 5:59 AM   #1
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Default Legacy Lens Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.4

Yea, yea, I know. I'm the guy who advises against buying legacy lenses. But, there are times when even I can't pass up a fair deal.

Minolta's 50mm f1.4 Rokkor MD lens is one of the few non-digital lenses that I've long considered getting. Largely because of the thin depth of field it offers as well as it's reputation for being a very sharp lens. Since it was a very popular lens, it is available at a fairly decent price. I picked up one at KEH.com for $46 USD. By the way, the condition of this lens is remarkable. I don't know where they get their lenses, but everyone of the lenses that I purchased from these folks has been in pristine condition.

We celebrated my wife's birthday over the weekend and our grandkids were here. Here is one quick shot taken of our youngest, Gracie who graciously posed for me for about 3 nanseconds before she got bored with grampy and his camera. The 2nd is a 100% crop showing (IMHO) pretty good detail and sharpness.
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 6:07 AM   #2
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I 'd like to add that like all manual focus lenses, be prepared to have a fair number of out of focus results, unless you''re using live view which tends to be a bit impractical for taking photos of kids- unless they're asleep.

That's my grandson, Timmy very proud of his Mohawk 'do'
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 8:56 AM   #3
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Very nice! Were these shot wide open? Tell us more about the adapter. Is it one that has to be mounted with hex wrench?
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 9:54 AM   #4
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Very nice! Were these shot wide open? Tell us more about the adapter. Is it one that has to be mounted with hex wrench?
Hi Paul,

I bought the adapter from JinFinance, an EBay seller located in China. They offer all types of adapters, as well as other accessories. I believe they were the first to offer MD adapters to fit the Olympus digital cameras. Can't recall what the cost was, but it was reasonable.

It does indeed have a socket screw to lock the adapter onto the mount of the lens. I haven't done that yet as it hold onto the Lens mount quite well.

I shot all the images in manual mode preferring to adjust the shutter speed and the aperture based on the lighting. I started out, setting the camera to aperture mode which is probably the most popular way of using legacy lenses. I found that my initial shots all came out a bit over exposed. Since I use the camera in manual mode quite a bit, I just find it more comfortable to set it that way which gives me total control over all the settings.

I took a few images with the aperture on the lens wide open, and found that it was just too bright out and the resulting images were overexposed. The primary reason I bought the lens was for low light shooting, which I haven't had the chance to try.


I've had my best results setting the mode dial to manual, leaving the ISO setting set at 200, sun/shade setting for the white balance. I then turned the aperture on the lens wide open so that it would be the brightest. It's much easier to focus the lens when it wide open. Having done so, I then stepped the aperture 2 stops, checked my exposure so that the camera was going to expose properly or adjusted the shutter speed up/down as required.

That's about it.


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Old Aug 16, 2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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I don't remember ever having a lot of luck shooting with 50mm f1.4 lenses at f1.4 and getting great results. They were nice lenses because the finder was easier to focus on due to the added brightness, but it was always f2 or smaller where the results were so good.

Your portrait of Gracie has a great, dreamy look to it. The 2x crop factor lets you get back a little further than you could of using that lens on a film body, but still....at f1.4 depth of field is razor thin. Focusing on the tip of the nose can make a face look soft. I can see from the 100% crop you nailed the focus on her eyes and most of her hair, even from the top front hairline, has started going soft.

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Old Aug 16, 2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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Hi Greg,

You're absolutely right about the 2x factor which makes the 50mm lens effectively a 100mm prime.

One other important point to note for the person interested in getting a legacy lens (especially a fast prime) is to really make sure that you're looking at the part of the subject that you want in focus. Not the whole face, but rather the eyes.

Here's a good example of the results when using a lens such as the 50mm 1.4.
and just looking at the whole subject instead of the eyes as I did in this photo:
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 2:19 PM   #7
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Yep, you nailed the hair on her forehead though!
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 3:04 PM   #8
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Yep, you nailed the hair on her forehead though!
You got that right!
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 7:48 PM   #9
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Hey Zig

The first batch of pics are very nice and that crop looks just great in terms of detail esp when shot wide open ! Looks to be a steal at those prices.. !
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 8:49 PM   #10
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Hey Zig

The first batch of pics are very nice and that crop looks just great in terms of detail esp when shot wide open ! Looks to be a steal at those prices.. !
Hi Harj,

Thanks. I haven't had the time to go out and put this little lens thru it's paces as yet. But, I'm looking forward to it as I'm pleased with the results to this point.

As an aside, I forgot just how small a nondigital lens actually is as compared to a ZD lens. The 50mm 1.4 is tiny on the E-30, yet is very comfortable to balance.
All in all, I'm happy to have bought it.

Zig
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