RED Bailey’s Minolta Collection (I only wish!)
This is a very pre-liminary listing of all the lenses Chiyoda Kogaku and Minolta have sold in the SR Mount for Minolta manual-focus SLR cameras. There are no pictures, minimal lay-out, no links or sorting and searching systems. This is not a web-site, it is a rough article for review by serious and knowledgeable Minolta collectors, from one to another.
Each entry details a major version of a focal length/aperture combination. Not all minor variants have been included, though most are indicated in the details. If I can have a specific date for a variant, it will be separated. Sometimes a lens can appear before the release date, either in camera shows, magazine reviews, or advertising literature. I’ve tried to keep things to retail introductory dates to keep things constant, and not get confused with proto-types and such.
Lens data are given starting with the series as engraved on the lens' front ring, followed by the focal length in millimetres over its maximum aperture, the optical formula as elements and groups, the filter thread diameter in millimetres, the minimum focus in metres, the minimum aperture, the dimensions in millimetres as diameter times length, and the weight in grams. Not all fields can be filled in, for instance bellows lenses do not have a minimum focus, and (most) mirror lenses have a fixed aperture. Aside from that, some lenses just have in-complete data.
Where you see a question mark, I am looking for information. When you have additions and corrections, please e-mail me mailto:email@example.com.
[Minolta’s first SLR came in October of 1958, and was called the SR-2. This was not to indicate that it was the second model, with the SR-1 being the model that was tested before. The simple fact is that the founder of Minolta liked the number 2 better (he was even more fond of the number 7). From the beginning, Minolta had a bayonet mount (the SR Bayonet) and automatic lenses with full-aperture viewing. The first series of lenses is generally known as the Auto Rokkor, even though there were several in the series that featured pre-set diaphragms. Minolta’s engineers put a lot of thought into their designs, and were able to introduce a mount that was functional, up-gradeable, and persists to this day. The bayonet is the same on every lens in this chronology, the only differences being diaphragm action and coupling for exposure. The vast majority of these lenses are forward- and backward- compatible, not losing any of their own function when used with cameras far removed from their own eras.]
- W.Rokkor-HG 35/2,8 [7/6] (ø55mm) 0,25m f/22 ?mm ?g
The original wide-angle lens was a low-production version of the more common Auto Rokkor, with a pre-set aperture. I'm not absolutely sure that these made it into stores after the SR-2 system was announced in October of 1958, it may have gone straight to the automatic lens, but pictures in several early brochures show the dual-ring lens (often erroneously labelled Auto, so you can see it didn't last long).
- Auto Rokkor-PF 55/1,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/22 61x39mm 255g
The original standard lens, included with all SR-2 bodies (and later with the first SR-3 and some SR-1 models). Quite a few variants, since it was the first lens and persisted until the MC series was introduced. There can be chrome or black front rings, aperture rings with or without the yellow LV numbers, different arrangements of half-stops on the ring, early models use a lock lever for the aperture, it can be with or without a stop-down lever (of different types), even the minimum aperture of f/22 on the first examples became f/16 on all later ones. I have included specifications of the first version. A more compact 52mm filter version came in 1965, which I've detailed in that year.
- Tele Rokkor-QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 ?mm ?g
The original short tele-photo for the SR-2 system. These pre-set lenses were very short-lived, if not just proto-types (the 100mm pictured in very early literature doesn't look like a real production lens). The only lens in the introductory line-up that was automatic diaphragm from the get-go was the standard lens.
- Tele Rokkor-PG 135/2,8 [7/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 ?mm ?g
Again the original 135mm lens was pre-set, and the Auto Rokkor came a few months later. This is the only one I'm certain actually made it into production, since I've never known any physical examples of the 35mm and 100mm.
15 May, 1959
- Tele Rokkor-QF 250/4 [6/4] (ø77mm) 3m f/22 82x230mm 1.400g
A very rare low-production lens, it falls in between 200 and 300 mm, so it was quickly replaced by those lenses. This is a very large and heavy lens, with a pre-set diaphragm. All lenses over 200mm, until the rubber grip series of late 1972, have the focal length inscribed in centimetres. Thus this lens is 25cm, the 300/4,5 is 30cm, the 1.000/6,3 mirror is 100cm, and so on.
- Auto Rokkor-PF 55/2 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/22 62x42mm 260g
The original standard lens with the SR-1, a lesser lens for a lesser camera. Several variations, and like the f/1,8 it was introduced as closing down all the way to f/22, but the later versions only went to f/16 (and most had 52mm filter threads).
- Auto W.Rokkor-HG 35/2,8 [7/6] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 63x48mm 300g
Very shortly after the pre-set wide-angle was shown in SR-2 advertising, it became an auto-diaphragm lens. Again, and like most Auto Rokkors, variations abound in the aperture ring mechanics, front ring colour, and so on. Only the first variant closes down to f/22, the others are f/16.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 63x59mm 310g
Just as above, shortly after displaying a pre-set 100mm, Minolta presented an automatic version, which is the one most of us will know.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-PG 135/2,8 [7/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 61x96mm 535g
The 135mm had a longer delay in getting an automatic diaphragm.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-QF 200/3,5 [6/4] (ø67mm) 2m f/22 67x138mm 770g
Made in several versions, at least the first three being semi-automatic where you must cock the aperture with a large spring-loaded lever.
- Tele Rokkor-TD 600/5,6 [4/3] (ø126mm) 10m f/32 132x530mm 4.700g
A very long pre-set lens, the longest Rokkor until the 1.000mm mirror of 1965. Quite fast for the focal length, but very simple optical design (similar to the Pentax 500/5,5 and other manufacturers' offerings at this time). Focusing is by a rack-and-pinion knob drive at the rear of the barrel. It remained in lens brochures until about 1970.
2 April, 1960
- Rokkor-TC 135/4 [3/3] (ø46mm) 1,5m f/22 56x115mm 375g
A budget pre-set 135mm lens, for those who aren't big spenders.
1 October, 1960
- W.Rokkor-QE 35/4 [5/4] (ø55mm) 0,4m f/22 62x36mm 210g
A budget wide-angle because at the time the 35mm f/2,8 was cutting-edge for SLRs. It was slower, smaller, and had a pre-set diaphragm.
- Tele Rokkor-TD 300/4,5 [4/3] (ø77mm) 4,5m f/22 80x245mm 1.250g
The first of eventually four optical designs for a 300mm f/4,5 lens, quite large and heavy.
- Rokkor-TC 100/4 [3/3] (ø43mm) 1,2m f/22 ?mm ?g
The budget pre-set 100mm was first available with a barrel that looks too thin at 43mm. What is the exact introduction date?
25 February, 1961
- Auto Tele Rokkor-PF 100/2 [6/5] (ø62mm) 1,2m f/22 66x63mm 425g
The legendary portrait optic, it's a beautiful compact tele-photo with a fast aperture.
- Auto Rokkor-PF 58/1,4 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 64x42mm 320g
The classic standard lens, and the first fast one for low light. When introduced with the up-dated SR-3, it also heralded the new completely automatic diaphragm mechanism (not a function of the lens, but of the camera body). On the first SR-1 and SR-3, and all SR-2s, the diaphragm remained closed after exposure until you advanced the film lever, but the new SR-3 did this automatically. This was also the start of the depth-of-field pre-view lever on the lens, since the body could no longer perform this function (though lens stop-down was retained long after DOF was incorporated as a body feature on the SR-T 101 in 1966). However, automatic lenses prior to this one had a slightly different action of the aperture coupling pin, meaning that they will not properly stop down when mounted on later camera bodies. These seven lenses were continued with the new mechanism, as well Minolta offered modification of older lenses, so many examples of them are fully compatible with all SLRs. Another thing to note is that this lens only stops down to f/16, as well as other versions of standard lenses after this. Minolta must have decided the small aperture suffered too much from diffraction effects for their normal lenses.
15 December, 1961
- Macro Rokkor-QF 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 63x54mm 260g
The first macro lens, it was a pre-set diaphragm. It focused to a magnification of half life-sized on film, as did all of Minolta’s macro lenses which followed, with an accessory extension tube included to go to full 1:1 (called the 1:2-1:1 Adapter). Mount is M39 (Leica thread), with the life-sized extension tube and the reverse ring also M39, and a bayonet converter (L Adapter) provided. The [6/4] 50mm macro is the longest-running Minolta design, available continuously in every series from this point until the end. Certainly minor adjustments were made to glass materials over the years, but put two from any different eras side-by-side and you can clearly see their close relation.
- Rokkor-TC 100/4 [3/3] (ø46mm) 1,2m f/22 56x80mm 240g
More common second version with a thicker barrel and 46mm filter threads.
- Rokkor-TC 135/4 [3/3] (ø46mm) n/a f/22 56x55mm 200g
This is a non-focusing bellows version of the previous pre-set 135mm f/4, for macro with a longer working distance than the 50mm which is more useful for copying. It is also M39 mount, attaching with the L Adapter.
13 June, 1962
- Auto Zoom Rokkor 80-160/3,5 [15/10] (ø77mm) 2,5m f/22 84x206mm 1.350g
Minolta's first zoom lens, it was a behemoth! Their first three zoom designs would be two-touch with separate zoom and focus controls. It was sold with a matching close-up lens to help what was really a dismal close focus for that length. This zoom was dropped from the line-up just after the MC series was introduced.
[With the introduction of the SR-7 in July, 1962, and the addition of a meter shoe on the SR-1, Minolta stopped using the LV system to quickly calculate exposure by adding lens and shutter numbers together. This means lens aperture rings no longer have the yellow LV numbers in addition to f-stops (nor do shutter dials). The last lens introduced with these, the 80-160mm zoom, only exists in a few hundred examples with the yellow scale.]
15 October, 1962
- W.Rokkor-PI 21/4,5 [9/5] (ø55mm) 0,9m f/16 60x20mm 166g
The first ultra-wide-angle lens, a non-retrofocus design which protruded deeply into the mount, and required mirror lock-up to use (the SR-7 introduced that July was the first to feature MLU). Accessory view-finder must be used, it attaches to the round SR eye-piece. Note that since you do not use the camera’s view-finder, the diaphragm action makes no difference, so it has a fully-manual aperture.
14 December, 1963
- Auto W.Rokkor-SG 28/3,5 [7/7] (ø67mm) 0,6m f/16 70x50mm 345g
A real big retro-focus wide-angle, and a real winning design for the time. At the time, 28mm was considered to give an extreme wide view!
- W.Rokkor-QH 21/4 [8/4] (ø55mm) 0,9m f/16 60x20mm 166g
A revision of the ultra-wide 21mm MLU lens, the design removes one element. This is the more common one, still sold into the late 1960s. The accessory view-finder can be found with a round mounting bracket (for early SR eye-pieces), and a square one (for Model V SRs and later cameras).
6 March, 1964
- Auto Zoom Rokkor 160-500/8 [16/11] (ø77mm) 4,5m f/32 87x490mm 2.770g
A real big zoom lens, the 16-50cm zoom was marketed to photo-journalists. Minolta kept it in the line-up until about 1969 for the very long reach. Too bad these early zooms aren't particularly sharp.
28 September, 1964
- [Auto] Rokkor-TD 45/2,8 [4/3] (ø46mm) 0,9m f/16 64x17mm 130g
An ultra-compact standard lens, barely protruding beyond the mount (17mm tall!). Advertised as covering the view of the human eye, that is somewhat in-accurate, but its focal length close to the diagonal of the 35mm film frame does replicate a natural perspective. Though it has an automatic diaphragm, the lens is not engraved ‘Auto’ on the front ring. Two versions are available, with only metres or only feet on the focusing scales.
20 December, 1964
- Tele Rokkor-QE 200/5 [5/4] (ø52mm) 2,5m f/22 56x149mm 430g
Cheaper pre-set 200mm lens.
- Auto Zoom Rokkor 50-100/3,5 [15/9] (ø77mm) 2m f/22 82x126mm 840g
Another early zoom, this one has the least useful range, though you might consider it a ‘portrait zoom.’
- Auto Rokkor-PF 53/2 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,55m f/16 58x32mm 192g
A short-lived budget standard lens for the SR-1. I believe it was introduced in 1964, but am un-sure of the month (possibly between March and September).
9 June, 1965
- Auto W.Rokkor-HG 35/2,8 [7/6] (ø52mm) 0,4m f/16 60x45mm 205g
A compact version of the usual 35mm f/2,8 with a 52mm filter thread. Minolta introduced their ‘compact’ line in mid-1965, a little smaller and less expensive, and using cheaper 52mm filters. Nine lenses were released at once that were budget options of existing items (they did not replace them), showing that Minolta felt a pinch in their sales and was trying to entice customers to expand their lens collections.
- W.Rokkor-QE 35/4 [5/4] (ø52mm) 0,4m f/22 60x34mm 182g
Compact version of the pre-set 35mm.
- Auto Rokkor-PF 55/1,8 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,5m f/16 60x35mm 210g
Compact standard lens.
- Auto Rokkor-PF 55/2 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,5m f/16 60x35mm 200g
Compact budget standard lens.
- Auto Rokkor-PF 58/1,4 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,6m f/16 62x40mm 265g
Compact fast standard lens.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø52mm) 1,2m f/22 60x54mm 235g
Compact tele-photo lens.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-PF 135/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 56x115mm 417g
Compact version of the 135mm lens, it is significantly lighter than the -PF introduced that same year, but keeps the 55mm filter.
- Tele Rokkor-QD 300/5,6 [4/4] (ø62mm) 4,5m f/32 65x197mm 545g
A new, cheaper 300mm option (still pre-set).
- Zoom Rokkor 100-200/5,6 [8/5] (ø52mm) 2m f/32 58x175mm 535g
Minolta's only zoom lens without an automatic diaphragm. This is a one-touch zoom with a combined zoom/focus ring, a style Minolta would follow until the late 1970s. The grip is leatherette. This cheap zoom existed almost until it was replaced by an MC Rokkor-X in late 1972. Its same basic design would continue all the way through the 1980s.
27 July, 1965
- RF Rokkor 1.000/6,3 [7/6] (ø49mm rear) 30m f/22 217x450mm 10.600g
An enormously long and fast, expensive, and rare lens. Big grey body with a carrying handle, and rack-and-pinion focusing at the rear. Though it's a catadioptric design lacking a diaphragm, with its built-in turret of neutral-density filters you can stop it down as far as f/22.
- Auto Tele Rokkor-PF 135/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 63x95mm 530g
The original -PG design was changed to a -PF which was a classic for Minolta. Introduced prior to the compact version, but when?
- Tele Rokkor-QD 300/4,5 [4/4] (ø77mm) 4,5m f/22 80x250mm 1.020g
An up-dated 300mm f/4,5 optic, I believe this change came with the f/5,6 version also in June.
[The SR-T 101, Minolta's first SLR with through-the-lens metering, was introduced on 21 April, 1966, along with an assortment of meter-coupled (MC) lenses. To accomplish this, a tab was added to the aperture ring, to mate with the coupling ring on the camera’s lens mount. With the careful lay-out of this system, Minolta were able to communicate the full aperture of the lens (the light coming through to the meter with the lens open), and the number of f-stops it was closed down (position of the MC lug), achieving perfect exposure with a simple mounting system. Even as more MC series lenses were developed and sold, several of the older pre-set designs were maintained in the catalogue as budget lenses.]
21 April, 1966
- MC W.Rokkor-SG 28/3,5 [7/7] (ø67mm) 0,6m f/16 70x50mm 350g
An up-dated version of the big Auto Rokkor 28mm. These five initial lenses, plus several that followed, were simple MC transformations of the same lenses in the previous Auto series, with a cosmetic difference that included a chrome metal aperture ring.
- MC W.Rokkor-HG 35/2,8 [7/6] (ø52mm) 0,4m f/16 63x45mm 210g
The MC up-date of the 35mm f/2,8.
- MC Rokkor-PF 58/1,4 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 65x41mm 275g
The MC up-date of the fast standard lens, it was the usual lens packaged with an SR-T 101 (though you could get a macro kit with the 50/3,5). This is the lens which evokes nostalgia in most people, their best memories of Rokkors are from this lens.
- MC Tele Rokkor-QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø52mm) 1,2m f/22 63x54mm 240g
MC up-date of the short tele-photo lens.
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 135/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 62x93mm 450g
MC up-date of the 135mm lens.
14 May, 1966
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 100/2 [6/5] (ø62mm) 1,2m f/22 66x63mm 425g
A simple MC up-dating of the legendary Auto Rokkor design.
3 August, 1966
- UW.Rokkor-PG 18/9,5 [7/5] (ø37,5mm rear) fixed f/22 59x41mm 240g
Minolta's first fish-eye lens, the Ultra-Wide Rokkor 18mm is full-frame with a 180° view diagonally. Uses rear screw-in filters (Normal [UV] or Y48 must be in at all times), and a bayonet lens shade.
22 August, 1966
- MC Rokkor-PF 55/1,7 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,5m f/16 63x37mm 225g
A budget MC standard lens option for the 101, and a year later the regular lens for the SR-1s. In a later version it was also the package lens for the professional SR-M.
- MC Tele Rokkor-QD 135/3,5 [4/4] (ø52mm) 1,5m f/22 63x88mm 370g
A new lens for MC, a slightly slower 135mm.
28 September, 1966
- MC Tele Rokkor-QF 200/3,5 [6/4] (ø62mm) 2,5m f/22 70x136mm 750g
Not just an up-dated Auto Rokkor, though it is similar to the final, truly automatic version of the 200mm f/3,5. This one has a smaller filter diameter at 62mm, and adds a built-in sliding lens shade.
24 March, 1967
- MC Tele Rokkor-PE 200/4,5 [5/5] (ø52mm) 2,5m f/22 63x130mm 500g
A new budget 200mm; the f/3,5 was still too big and heavy for some, I guess.
13 September, 1967
- MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 68x55mm 330g
The macro lens up-dated for MC, and it now has an automatic diaphragm and SR bayonet, so it's a lot more useful. The accessories (1:2-1:1 Adapter and reverse ring) are also now bayonet mount.
- Auto Bellows Rokkor-TC 100/4 [3/3] (ø55mm) n/a f/32 63x35mm 165g
A brand new bellows lens (but still optically similar to the previous one), this one had automatic diaphragm (originally with a stop-down button), and focused from infinity to just over 1:1 on the new Auto Bellows I. It seems this lens was introduced some time in 1967. The 135/4 pre-set bellows lens was briefly in the catalogue next to this one. The ABI was dis-continued in 1979, but this lens kept on until 1981 (even when a replacement was released), so it has several slight cosmetic changes through each series, such as dropping the –TC engraving, losing its stop-down button, and getting a plastic aperture ring.
10 March, 1968
- MC W.Rokkor-SG 28/3,5 [7/7] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 63x45mm 245g
While it has the same optical formula as the previous 28mm, it is actually quite a radical change. Using new glasses, Minolta were able to make this a lot more compact and light than the Auto Rokkor -style wide-angle that used to take a 70mm lens shade!
10 June, 1968
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 100/2,5 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 65x68mm 410g
New design for a medium-fast 100mm. This lens replaced the legendary f/2 100mm, and soon after the work-horse f/3,5 was also redundant.
16 September, 1968
- MC Rokkor-PG 58/1,2 [7/5] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 69x54mm 455g
The legendary classic standard, and Minolta's first super-fast lens for low-light shooting. Un-like almost every other Minolta standard lens, this was a seven-element construction; while the -PF is excellent, many Minolta afficionados feel the -PG is divine. The very early examples are said to use glass which may yellow over time due to harm-less radio-active decay. This is reversible, but does anyone have both a yellowed and a clear one to compare?
- MC W.Rokkor-HH 35/1,8 [8/6] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 66x68mm 420g
A beautiful fast wide-angle.
13 January, 1969
- MC Tele Rokkor-HF 300/4,5 [6/6] (ø72mm) 4,5m f/22 80x200mm 1.150g
Minolta finally had a tele-photo lens longer than the medium class with an automatic diaphragm. This is the third of four major revisions in the optics of the 300mm f/4,5 lens.
10 February, 1969
- MC W.Rokkor-SI 28/2,5 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 64x61mm 340g
With their progress in compacting the monster 28mm lens, Minolta turned its attention to this fast version.
29 September, 1969
- MC Tele Rokkor-QD 135/3,5 [4/4] (ø52mm) 1,5m f/22 63x88mm 370g
This is a new style of 135mm f/3,5 that has a slightly different aperture ring, among other small changes.
25 November, 1969
- MC Fish-Eye Rokkor-OK 16/2,8 [11/8] (built-in) 0,3m f/16 73x63mm 445g
A revolutionary design for a full-frame fish-eye, this was fast, sharp, focused to 30cm, and it's still a winner to this day. The built-in filter set is 1A, Y48, O56, and 80B.
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 135/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 67x93mm 490g
A new style for the 135mm f/2,8 lens, this featured a built-in lens shade, and the aperture ring was shifted from the middle of the barrel to the rear, among other changes.
[‘Round about 1969 Minolta made a cosmetic change to their whole line of MC lenses. First-generation MC have longer focusing grips with more knurled sections, so the early ones are called ‘large grip’ and later ones ‘small grip.’ You can also see that second-generation MCs are constructed with cross-head (Philips) screws, where previously Minolta had used slot-head fasteners.]
20 April, 1970
- MC Tele Rokkor-QF 200/3,5 [6/4] (ø62mm) 2,5m f/22 70x135mm 720g
The new style for the 200mm f/3,5 shifted the aperture ring to the rear.
25 June, 1970
- MC Tele Rokkor-PE 200/4,5 [5/5] (ø52mm) 2,5m f/22 63x130mm 500g
New style with a different aperture ring.
25 September, 1970
- MC Rokkor-PF 85/1,7 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 73x62mm 460g
Minolta's first 85mm, and she's a fast one.
- MC Rokkor-PF 55/1,9 [6/5] (ø52mm) 0,5m f/16 54x37,5mm 225g
A brand-new budget lens introduced to go with the SR-T 100. This is small and cheap, without the full Achromatic Coating found on other Rokkors, and its focusing scale is only in feet. Additionally, it has a rubber focusing grip, but it's a different type than what would come in the next series of lenses.
- MC W.Rokkor-NL 21/2,8 [12/9] (ø72mm) 0,25m f/16 75x67mm 510g
A new ultra-wide recti-linear lens, to replace the MLU 21mm which had already been dis-continued.
- MC Macro Rokkor-QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/22 57x88,5mm 550g
A new macro lens, this in the 100mm focal length more useful for nature subjects. Again an extension tube is provided to work in the range of half to full life-sized, this time with threading for a tripod screw on it, to better balance the combination. Not very common in this series with the all-metal grip.
[In late 1972, Minolta displayed their new series of lenses to accompany the professional XK system SLR. Many of these were up-dates of the previous lenses, with radical cosmetic changes which included black-painted aperture rings and a rubber focusing grip. Filter threads were also standardized, so any that were 52mm became 55mm. This series is commonly known as MC Rokkor-X, though they weren't branded as such all over the world; only the U.S.A and Canada had Rokkor-X engraved in orange, the rest of the world has equivalent lenses with a white Rokkor. There is a myth that the -X indicates the appearance of multi-coating, which is not true since Minolta’s SLR lenses have always been multi-coated (back even before 1958 Minolta called their process Achromatic Coating, and were always at the fore-front compared to their contemporary competition). The AC process has been continually developed, and what can be said is that as part of the push behind the revolutionary XK system, there was a simultaneous introduction of nearly two dozen lenses with their most modern coating technology. All the lenses listed from here to 1981 are described as Rokkor-X for the U.S.A. market, but have equivalent world-market versions without the -X.]
- MC Zoom Rokkor 100-200/5,6 [8/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/22 63,5x173mm 630g
The first lens released for sale with the waffle-pattern rubber grip, it was an up-date of the old pre-set zoom design.
- RF Rokkor 800/8 [8/7] (rear slot) 8m n/a 125x166,5mm 1.800g
Minolta’s second mirror lens design, it was much more affordable than the 1.000mm, being shorter and slower (but still pretty darn long). This has focusing by a lever in a track at the front, which shifts the front mirror. A rear slot is available for special filters, the set included Normal, Y48, O54, R60, and ND in three grades. The 800mm mirror was introduced some time in 1972 before the new series, when it was labelled as an 80cm lens (the last lens with a cm focal length). It has a large rubber grip on the body, but this is slightly different from the pattern used on the Rokkor-X lenses.
- MC Fish-Eye Rokkor-X OK 16/2,8 [11/8] (built-in) 0,3m f/16 70,6x63,5mm 440g
The first group of lenses in the new series were all just up-dates of existing designs in the same focal length/aperture combinations (excepting one new zoom). Though the barrels switched from a big knurled metal grip to a rubber one, most of the new lenses are slightly heavier. This fish-eye is much the same as the market-leading optic they introduced several years earlier. It was sold by Leitz for their R-series cameras, as well.
- MC W.Rokkor-X NL 21/2,8 [12/9] (ø72mm) 0,25m f/16 75x66,9mm 515g
An up-dated ultra-wide lens with the rubber grip.
- MC W.Rokkor-X SI 28/2,5 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 65,8x61,5mm 350g
Up-dated fast 28mm.
- MC W.Rokkor-X SG 28/3,5 [7/7] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 63,4x45mm 260g
- MC W.Rokkor-X HH 35/1,8 [8/6] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 65,8x67,6mm 415g
Up-dated fast 35mm.
- MC W.Rokkor-X HG 35/2,8 [7/6] (ø55mm) 0,4m f/16 63,4x45mm 240g
- MC Macro Rokkor-X QF 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 67,2x55,5mm 345g
Up-dated macro/copy lens.
- MC Rokkor-X PG 58/1,2 [7/5] (ø55mm) 0,6m f/16 70,8x54mm 478g
Up-dated fast standard. Where Minolta moved away from 55, 58, even 53 mm focal lengths in standard lenses with this series, this particular lens was already perfect, so nothing was changed. While the other standard lenses of the series never lost their two-letter optical codes, this one is sometimes found without its -PG (it’s because this lens was actually sold into the MD era).
- MC Rokkor-X PF 85/1,7 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 71,2x62mm 460g
Up-dated fast portrait lens.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X PF 100/2,5 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 65,8x68,5mm 430g
Up-dated short tele-photo.
- MC Macro Rokkor-X QE 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/22 75x88,5mm 600g
Up-dated macro nature lens.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X PF 135/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 67x93,5mm 518g
Up-dated 135mm f/2,8.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X QD 135/3,5 [4/4] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64,5x88,5mm 415g
Up-dated 135mm f/3,5.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X PE 200/4,5 [5/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/22 64,5x130mm 545g
Up-dated mid-tele lens.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X HF 300/4,5 [6/6] (ø72mm) 4,5m f/22 80x199,5mm 1.155g
Up-dated long tele.
- MC Zoom Rokkor-X 80-200/4,5 [14/10] (ø55mm) 1,8m f/32 74,4x156mm 700g
A new design, possibly the first good zoom from Minolta (technology finally caught up). Not only were the optics good, but the zoom range was more useful, with a decent aperture. This optic was adopted by Leitz and sold in Leica R Mount, as part of the technology sharing agreement between the two companies signed that year.
- MC Rokkor-X PG 50/1,4 [7/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 65,2x46mm 305g
New for this series were 50mm standard lenses (in three apertures, eventually). This follows the same optical design as the spectacular f/1,2 lens, and it is truly excellent.
- MC Rokkor-X PF 50/1,7 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 64,6x41mm 240g
The new regular standard lens, a very good f/1,7 optic.
- MC W.Rokkor-X SI 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 62,2x50mm 410g
A brand new lens in the extra-wide class, the design incorporates floating-element focusing for near-range correction and it is a marvelous lens. Leitz took this one for their own, too, and it’s probably the best one they got.
- MC Rokkor-X PE 300/5,6 [5/5] (ø55mm) 4,5m f/22 65,2x186mm 720g
A new slower long tele-photo was introduced for people without deep enough pockets for the excellent f/4,5 option. This is a completely different design from the simple pre-set lens in the same length and aperture, dis-continued several years prior.
- MC Zoom Rokkor-X 100-500/8 [16/10] (ø72mm) 2,5m f/32 91x330mm 2.010g
A new extended-range zoom to take the place of the old 16-50cm which had already been dis-continued for several years. This is a much better performer. A matched accessory close-up lens was available.
- RF Rokkor-X 800/8 [8/7] (rear slot) 8m n/a 125x166,5mm 2.000g
A slightly different version of the recently-introduced 800mm mirror. Now it is fully in the Rokkor-X style, the focal length is in millimetres, and the rubber body grip is the same as other lenses. The accompanying special filter set has fewer filters, only offering an ND4X instead of 2, 4, and 8 (and possibly slightly different grades of yellow and orange). This lens was also re-badged as a Leitz for their R-mount cameras.
- MC Rokkor-X PF 50/2 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 65x35,5mm 230g
A budget standard lens (which has picked up somewhat of a following many years later). This lens was only available with the low-end SR-T, first towards the end of the SR-T 100’s run, and after with the SR-T 200, 100b, or 100X. When you bought another camera, the 50/2 wasn’t an option. This lens is omitted from nearly every brochure of the time, though it began appearing in SR-T 100 brochures in late 1973.
- Leitz Photar 12,5/1,9 [4/4] (n/a) n/a f/8 25,5x12,5mm 30g
Leitz’ reciprocation for borrowing several Minolta lenses was to make some of their specialty lenses available to Minolta users. Two tiny microscope lenses (Photar) and one monster long lens (Telyt) could be ordered through Leitz dealers. The Photars have a mount designated Royal Microscope Society screw, this was adapted via the M Adapter. There is no focusing mechanism, it is all handled with bellows or extension tubes, and the diaphragm is completely manual. The recommended magnification range of the 12,5mm is 5 to 20 times life-sized.
- Leitz Photar 25/2,5 [6/4] (n/a) n/a f/16 28x15,5mm 50g
The companion lens to the short Photar is a similarly-tiny 25mm. Magnification is between 2-10X.
- Leitz Telyt-S 800/6,3 [3/1] (ø138mm) 12,5m f/32 152x796,5mm 6.860g
A huge lens to tempt Minolta owners. Its native mount was Leica R, so ordering one of these meant the Leitz factory had to switch that to a Minolta bayonet. Manual diaphragm. The optical design is completely simple, three large elements cemented in one group at the front of an 800mm tube, but the results are not bad as that might imply. While the Photars were expensive for their size, they were at least within the reach of many Minolta owners. The Telyt was completely un-affordable, so it is doubtful that many were sold with the modified mount (particularly as the RF 800/8 was much cheaper and only two-thirds of a stop slower).
- MC Tele Rokkor-X QF 200/3,5 [6/4] (ø62mm) 2,5m f/22 75,4x137,5mm 775g
An up-date of the previous fast 200mm. The exception to Minolta’s attempts to standardize filter ring sizes, I guess they felt it would be in-appropriate to boost it to 72mm (and 55mm was obviously out of the question).
- RF Rokkor-X 1.600/11 [7/6] (rear slot) 20m n/a 178x322,5mm 6.700g
Minolta just couldn’t build their mirror lenses long enough, so they introduced this 1.600mm beast. It’s similar to the 800mm, with front mirror focusing by lever and the barrel covered in a rubber grip, plus it uses the same filters. Since it’s larger, there is a carrying handle incorporated. This lens replaced the much-larger-still 1.000mm mirror.
[Rubber-grip lenses prior to about the first quarter of 1974 were made with a painted red dot as a mounting index, just as the previous series used. After this, all existing lenses in the line, and any new introductions, moved to the red plastic bead which we normally associate with Rokkor-X lenses. Thus the preceding lenses to '72 can be found with either dots or beads. This is the period when the XK was finally released for the U.S.A. market, where the X-1 had already been sold in Japan for over a year.]
[In 1975 Minolta began to phase out the two-letter code engraved on the front ring of each lens, which indicated the group and element count in its construction. New optical designs given below introduced in '75 never displayed this code (there is no MC Rokkor-X QD 135/2,8 for example), but existing lenses were more slow to change. Some never did lose the code until the MD series replacements arrived, such as the 50mm lenses. Another change during this year was to change the focusing and aperture indices, formerly a separate triangle and dot, into a one dual-purpose diamond mark (something that did not make it onto every lens). Also, about this time the stop-down lever found on lenses carried over from the previous series started to dis-appear.]
- MC W.Rokkor-X 28/2 [10/9] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 65,5x61mm 340g
A brand-new lens as a fast 28mm. This fine optic also uses floating element correction.
- MC W.Rokkor-X 35/2,8 [5/5] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 64,5x41,5mm 220g
A new optical design for the regular 35mm, now a 5-element optic. It’s a little smaller and lighter, and also focuses a bit closer.
- MC VFC Rokkor-X 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 67x50mm 325g
The world’s first lens with user-controlled flatness of field, Minolta called it Variable Field Curvature. The field can be changed from concave to convex, so the edges of the frame are focused either in front of or behind the centre (else flat like a regular lens). It’s derived from the 24mm, looking similar but with the additional VFC control ring at the front, and shares that lens’ excellent qualities.
- MC W.Rokkor-X 28/3,5 [5/5] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 64,5x41,5mm 220g
A new optical design for the slow 28mm, now a 5-element optic. It’s smaller and focuses a lot closer.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X 135/2,8 [4/4] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64,5x89,5mm 535g
A new optical design for the 135mm, now a 4-element optic, but not quite the same as the slower f/3,5 which was always [4/4]. This change wasn’t made, like the 28 and 35 mm lenses above, to reduce the size (it’s actually a bit heavier), and the near focus hasn’t changed. It is often felt that this version is slightly superior to the 6-element lens, and that is why it was done.
- MC W.Rokkor-X 17/4 [11/9] (ø72mm) 0,25m f/16 75x53mm 330g
Minolta introduced their widest recti-linear lens in September, 1975. This superb lens has a 108° angle of view.
- MC Fish-Eye Rokkor-X 7,5/4 [12/8] (built-in) fixed f/22 68x63mm 360g
A month after the widest lens with a natural projection, Minolta released their shortest focal length: a 7,5mm full-frame fish-eye. This lens projects a 23mm diameter circle offering 180° in every direction. The built-in filter turret includes 1A, FL-D, O56 R60, 80B, and 85A.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X 200/4 [5/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/22 64,5x131mm 520g
To replace both the f/3,5 and f/4,5 types of 200mm lens, Minolta introduced a single lens with a maximum aperture averaging the two. In dimensions and appearance it’s really a lot more like the slower lens, so some may consider it a down-grade. However, this new lens is an excellent performer.
- MC Zoom Rokkor-X 40-80/2,8 [12/12] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 66x93,5x98,5mm 560g
A strange-looking thing, a zoom with all the focusing and zooming controls located in a box on the side of the barrel. You zoom with a crank on the box, and focus by turning a dial around that crank. For macro mode, twist and push a rod, then focusing is by the zoom crank. This is Minolta’s first zoom with a separate macro mode, but like everything about this lens it’s kind of strange. Minolta’s only fast zoom lens for manual-focus (if f/2,8 can really be considered ‘fast’). The filter thread is 55mm, but there is a secondary thread of 62mm around the rim which accepts the accessory rubber hood.
- MC W.Rokkor-X 28/2,8 [7/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/16 64,5x43,5mm 240g
A new regular 28mm lens, this replaced the mid-speed f/2,5 type of 28mm, still leaving three choices in the line-up. It’s noticeably smaller, and focuses closer as well.
- MC Macro Rokkor-X 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 66,5x55,5mm 225g
A new version of the macro/copy lens, optically the same with external changes. This version can be distinguished by the extension compensation numbers on the edge of the focusing barrel, rather than being revealed when the inner barrel extends out. It is also a lighter, due to part of the barrel being made of plastic.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X 135/3,5 [4/4] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64,5x88,5mm 420g
An up-date to the slow 135mm, this one finally has a built-in shade.
- MC APO Tele Rokkor-X 400/5,6 [7/6] (ø72mm) 5m f/32 83x256,5mm 1.470g
A new professional-level tele-photo in the line-up. It incorporated a special fluorite element, difficult to produce and expensive. This was to achieve apo-chromatic resolution (APO), meaning that light waves of green, blue, and red all focus at the same point (chromatic abberation is otherwise a problem with long lenses), for maximum sharpness.
- 2X Converter for MC APO Tele Rokkor n/a [5/3] (n/a) n/a n/a ?mm ?g
Along with the new APO Tele, Minolta included a matched tele-converter which allowed the user to shoot at 800/11 for extended reach. It can also be used with some other lenses, but the front element of the converter isn’t recessed enough into the mount, which can cause catastrophic interference with some lenses. Generally, fixed lenses above 200mm can accommodate this converter, but Minolta’s official line at the time was that converters weren’t desireable, so it was only for this specific lens. The barrel is all smooth metal with no grip, just a knurled collar at the bottom for mounting.
- MC Tele Rokkor-X 100/2,5 [5/5] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 64,5x64,5mm 375g
New optical design for the 100mm lens, this one focuses a bit closer as well as being smaller and having one less element.
- Shift CA Rokkor-X 35/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 83,5x71,5mm 560g
The shift lens was introduced some time in 1976 (when?). This is a 35mm made to cover a format larger than 135 film, with provision for moving it side-to-side and up-and-down on its mount to take advantage of the larger image circle. The purpose is to shift the perspective of the scene without moving the camera, which can cause perspective distortion as e.g., when tilting the camera up-wards to see the top of a building. This was a revolutionary lens in its class at the time, and is still one of the best ever made. The lens is not meter-coupled, but it has an automatic diaphragm by utilizing a flexible cable linkage, a feature missing on most of the competition even today. Also, the calibrated dual-axis scales easily permit full-circle movement between all four limits, stopping before light fall-off becomes a problem. Some shift lenses also incorporate a tilt feature, to control the orientation of the plane of focus for depth-of-field effects. Minolta’s lens instead uses the VFC feature from their special 24mm lens, and is thus the world’s only lens which shifts and curves. The VFC can be used to approximate the effect of tilting at off-axis shifts, and has its own characteristics which are not otherwise achievable. Similar to the 40-80mm zoom, this lens has a dual thread, 55mm for filters, and 62mm for the rubber hood.
[A new series of lenses was introduced in mid-1977: the MD Rokkor-X series. This time the cosmetics were the same as the previous series, but a new functionality was added, in the MD lug on the aperture ring. This lug indicated to the camera that the minimum aperture had been selected, and thus the shutter-priority exposure system on the forth-coming XD cameras could use the entire range of apertures on the lens (the same with the later program mode of the X-700). Not only did the camera know the lens was at its minimum, but by mating with the three-position switch on the body, the lens communicated the value of its smallest aperture: either f/16, f/22, or f/32. With knowledge of this, combined with the still-present MC lug that told the meter how many stops it was closed from the maximum, and the light level coming through the full-aperture TTL system, the camera could tell everything about the mounted lens: its full range of apertures and their exact values. Not bad for two carefully-placed tabs on the aperture ring! Also, as part of the new diaphragm installed in each lens, many that previously only closed to f/16 now went to f/22.]
- MD W.Rokkor-X 28/2,8 [7/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 64,5x43,5mm 240g
MD up-date of the 28mm recently introduced, now with an f/22 minimum. You will note that a lot of the lenses are gradually coming to the same point in dimensions, at about 64,5mm diameter where possible. This must have been Minolta’s idea to make most lenses in the system have the same feel on the camera, to increase the comfort and familiarity for the user.
- MD W.Rokkor 28/3,5 [5/5] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 64,5x41,5mm 195g
MD up-date of the slow 28mm (only available in over-seas markets, hence I didn’t append the -X).
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 135/2,8 [4/4] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64,5x89,5mm 535g
MD up-date of the 135mm.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 80-200/4,5 [14/10] (ø55mm) 1,8m f/32 74x156mm 700g
MD up-date of the mid-tele zoom.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 35/2,8 [5/5] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 64,5x41,5mm 205g
MD up-date of the regular 35mm.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 135/3,5 [4/4] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64,5x87mm 420g
MD up-date of the slow 135mm.
- MD Rokkor-X 50/1,7 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/16 64x40mm 195g
MD up-date of the common standard lens. The standard lenses did not yet change their f/16 minimum, but the specification for nearest focus was now 5cm closer, and it was of noticeably lighter construction.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 65x50mm 275g
MD up-date of the 24mm lens.
- MD Macro Rokkor-X 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 64,5x55,5mm 220g
MD up-date of the macro/copy lens.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 200/4 [5/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/32 64,5x131mm 520g
MD up-date of the 200mm (now with f/32 minimum).
- MD Rokkor-X 50/1,4 [7/5] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/16 64x40mm 245g
The first new lens for MD, not simply an up-date of the preceding fast 50mm. While the optical formula is the same, it is a more compact lens, and not quite as superb over-all as the MC.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 100-200/5,6 [8/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/22 63,5x173mm 570g
MD up-date of the budget zoom.
- MD VFC Rokkor-X 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 67x50,5mm 340g
MD up-date of the VFC lens (new f/22 minimum).
- MD Fish-Eye Rokkor-X 7,5/4 [12/8] (built-in) fixed f/22 68x63mm 360g
MD up-date of the circular fish-eye.
- MD Fish-Eye Rokkor-X 16/2,8 [11/8] (built-in) 0,3m f/22 70,5x63,5mm 440g
MD up-date for the full-frame fish-eye, with f/22 minimum aperture.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 20/2,8 [10/9] (ø55mm) 0,25m f/22 64,5x43,5mm 240g
This ultra-wide-angle replaced the 21mm f/2,8 which was twice as large. With new advancements in retro-focus lens design, Minolta was able to get an even wider focal length in the standard 55mm filter thread. Kept was the excellent 2,8 maximum aperture, and 25cm close-focusing distance. A great lens.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 28/2 [10/9] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 65,5x61mm 340g
MD up-date of the fast 28mm, closing to f/22.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 100/2,5 [5/5] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 64,5x64,5mm 375g
MD up-date of the 100mm portrait lens.
- RF Rokkor-X 800/8 [8/7] (rear slot) 8m n/a 125x166,5mm 1.900g
A slightly new style of 800mm mirror.
- MD APO Tele Rokkor-X 400/5,6 [7/6] (ø72mm) 5m f/32 83x256,5mm 1.470g
MD up-date of the APO tele-photo.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 100-500/8 [16/10] (ø72mm) 2,5m f/32 91x330mm 2.010g
MD up-date of the long zoom.
- 2X Converter for MD APO Tele Rokkor n/a [5/3] (n/a) n/a n/a ?mm ?g
Again the APO Tele had a matched 2X converter. The only thing that changed was the engraving. Though it is for an MD lens, the converter has no MD tab to communicate with the body, so it does not function fully with the XDs’ S Mode (or P on the X-700),
- MD W.Rokkor-X 17/4 [11/9] (ø72mm) 0,25m f/22 75x53mm 330g
MD up-date of the super-wide 17mm, with f/22 minimum.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 40-80/2,8 [12/12] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 66x93,5x98,5mm 560g
MD up-date of the strange zoom.
- RF Rokkor-X 500/8 [6/5] (ø77mm/39mm rear) 4m n/a 83x98,5mm 600g
A new compact mirror lens, possibly the first one Minolta produced that’s useful for the average photographer (the others are too long). Don’t compare it to the proliferation of cheap third-party lenses of similar spec. out there, this lens has excellent contrast and sharpness, and transmits a true f/8 (a 500 mirror at 72mm diameter will not). The filter thread is officially the 39mm rear position, where a Normal filter is always in place, otherwise one from the included set of Y52, O56, R60, and ND4X. However, the front is threaded for the short lens shade at 77mm, and a filter of that diameter can also be utilized (though they’re somewhat expensive).
- MD Rokkor-X 50/2 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/16 64x36mm 230g
MD up-date of the budget standard lens.
- MD Macro Rokkor-X 100/3,5 [5/4] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/22 74,5x88,5mm 600g
MD up-date of the macro lens.
- MD Rokkor-X 85/1,7 [6/5] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 71x62mm 455g
MD up-date of the fast portrait lens.
- MD Rokkor-X 50/1,2 [7/6] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/16 65,5x46,5mm 315g
New fast standard lens for the MD Rokkor-X series, it replaced the MC 58mm f/1,2 which was still sold until this time. New optical formula of 7 elements in 6 groups.
- VariSoft Rokkor-X 85/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,8m f/16 70x80mm 430g
Brand-new design for an 85mm portrait lens with user-controlled softness by modification of the lens’ spherical aberrations. What this does is create a dream-like soft effect that does not lose its base of sharp focus. A control ring at the rear can be dialed from 0 (perfectly sharp regular lens) through 3 (very soft). For those who like fuzzy portraits, this may be the world’s best lens. The lens is auto-diaphragm and meter-coupled, but does not have an MD tab. This is because the softness effect is governed by the dial and the set aperture, so S and P modes are not appropriate if you want to control it.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 300/5,6 [5/5] (ø55mm) 4,5m f/22 65x186mm 695g
MD up-date of the slow 300mm.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 75-200/4,5 [15/11] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 69,5x155mm 630g
A new mid-tele zoom, replacing the 80-200mm. While the range is very similar, it is definitely a different lens, with a new optical formula and closer focus for a higher magnification ratio, among other things. The image quality is slightly improved, and this lens also was re-badged as a Leitz Vario Elmar for Leica R.
[In mid-1978, Minolta started to reduce the size and weight of, and some feel cheapen, their lenses. Many lenses that used 55mm filters were shrunk to 49mm size, which meant Minolta now had three standard filter sizes. Use of plastics in lens body construction increased, usually noticeable in the aperture ring being changed from metal to plastic. As well, several optical formulæ were simplified over the next couple of years, in some cases resulting in better lenses, but in others clearly a cost-cutting move. Also about this time the order of engraving on the front ring was changed, with the filter diameter added. First-generation lenses have an inscription in the style of the first example below, but for the second generation, the same lens would read as the second example:
Minolta/Lens Made in Japan/MD Rokkor-X/1:1.7 f=50mm
Minolta/MD Rokkor-X/50mm 1:1,7/Lens Made in Japan/ø49mm
A little later, the orange Rokkor-X found on U.S.A.-market lenses was changed to plain white, but still with the -X.]
- MD W.Rokkor-X 28/2,8 [7/7] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x43,5mm 180g
Lighter version of the regular 28mm with 49mm filters.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 28/3,5 [5/5] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x40,5mm 160g
Lighter version of the slow 28mm with 49mm filters. Still not available in the U.S.A.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 35/2,8 [5/5] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x38,5mm 165g
Lighter version of the 35mm with 49mm filters.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 24-50/4 [13/11] (ø72mm) 0,7m f/22 75x69,5mm 395g
A new zoom in the wide-angle range, this lens is quite well-regarded. It has two-touch controls for zoom and focus.
- MD APO Tele Rokkor-X 600/6,3 [9/8] (ø95mm/rear slot) 5m f/32 108,5x373,5mm 2.400g
Another APO tele-photo with a fluorite element for extra sharpness. The threading on the front is 95mm, but it also has a slot in the rear for drop-in filters. These are the same filters used on the 800 and 1.600 mm catadioptric lenses. No matched tele-converter, but read below about the 200-L.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 35/1,8 [8/6] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x48mm 235g
Where the previous MC-series fast 35mm lens had been sold until this time, now Minolta introduced a new design for MD. Though the number of glass elements and groups is the same, the lens has shrunk significantly, and it is new all around. This is one case where the lighter lens improved on an already excellent design.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 300/4,5 [7/6] (ø72mm) 3m f/32 77,5x177,5mm 710g
A new design for the fast 300mm, this lens has one more element, focuses closer, a minimum f-stop of 32, and is lighter. Additionally, it has an internal focus arrangement, where a group in the middle of the lens is used to change focus, rather than the more usual front group focusing or whole unit focusing. What this means is that the length of the barrel does not change as you get closer, and the lens is also quicker to focus. It is lacking the rotating tripod collar which the previous lens had, since Minolta thought the lighter lens didn’t need it (they were wrong). With these two new lenses in August, the last MC-series lens was expunged from the catalogue.
- MD Rokkor-X 45/2 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,6m f/16 64x30,5mm 125g
A new budget standard lens, to replace the 50mm f/2 for the proliferation of XG bodies of the era. To lessen the costs, this lens is lighter and doesn’t focus as close as other standard lenses, and it also has been noted not to have the most up-to-date coatings of the time. However, it still performs well, and has the 45mm focal length which gives one of the most natural perspectives to 35mm photography.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 35-70/3,5 [8/7] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 67,5x65,5mm 365g
A new standard range zoom which replaced the just-dis-continued 40-80mm, whose strangeness and cost meant it never caught on. This is less un-wieldy due to its regular two-touch zoom/focus system rather than external box, the range encompasses the more useful 35mm end, and it doesn’t give up much on the constant f/3,5 aperture. The third lens to incorporate dual threading, with 55mm for filters and 62mm for the plastic lens shade. This lens is another that was adopted by Leitz for the Leica R system, and the excellent photographic results show why.
- MD W.Rokkor-X 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 64x49mm 215g
A slightly lighter version of the 24mm lens, distinguishable by its barrel which tapers slightly from the mount.
- MD Zoom Rokkor-X 50-135/3,5 [12/10] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 68,5x118mm 480g
A new zoom from standard to mid-tele, incorporating all the usual portrait focal lengths. One-touch design.
- 2X Tele Converter 200-L n/a [5/3] (n/a) n/a n/a ?mm ?g
With the introduction of the 600mm APO Tele, Minolta decided to change the designation of the 400/5,6 matched converter, so that owners of the more expensive lens wouldn’t feel left out. In fact, the name became 200-L, which means you can use it with any lens of 200mm and up. The design is the same, there is still no MD tab, and no rubber grip on the converter. I assume this dates to July, along with the lens.
- MD Rokkor-X 50/1,7 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/16 64x36mm 160g
Another example where Minolta was radically reducing the size and weight of their lenses. Here the every-day 50mm gets the 49mm filter treatment.
- MD Rokkor-X 85/2 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,85m f/22 64x53,5mm 280g
A new small 85mm portrait lens. This pushed out the classic f/1,7 design, a large lens in the style of the revered 58/1,2. Though the lens isn’t much bigger than a standard lens, it packs a lot of punch, and this is another case of size reduction not being tied to a cheapening of the line. It is a superbly sharp optic. Plus it has closer focusing, always useful for portraiture.
- MD Rokkor-X 50/1,4 [7/6] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/16 64x40mm 220g
When the 50mm f/1,4 under-went the reduction, it also changed its optical formula. Now it’s [7/6] like the f/1,2 lens, but I wouldn’t say it performs on the same level.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 135/2,8 [5/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64x82mm 365g
Another lens which was a new optical construction to go along with the reduction in size and weight. Though it has five elements, and the previous 135mm f/2,8 only four, those four were big pieces of glass, so this one is lighter.
- RF Rokkor-X 250/5,6 [6/5] (ø62mm/39mm rear) 2,5m n/a 66,5x58mm 250g
Minolta invented a whole new class of lens in this ultra-compact mirror tele-photo. Previously, catadioptric designs were used to make long tele.s more compact, but nobody saw the possibility of making a medium tele such as 250mm as small as a standard lens. Besides being a conveniently small package for an occasional-use long lens, it also opens up possibilities for candid and surveillance photography, since the lens does not have the outward appearance of the magnification it achieves. Other manufacturers have followed suit, and there are many similar third-party offerings now, but with their long-standing experience in high-quality mirror optics, this was another field that Minolta innovated, and this lens is a very good performer. It takes a 39mm rear filter like the 500mm mirror does. This is figured into the optical formula so one must always be inserted, it came with a Normal and the ND4X. The colour set from the other lens was deemed un-necessary, since the front size of 62mm is fairly simple to purchase most filters in.
- MD Macro Rokkor-X 100/4 [5/4] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/32 66,5x88,5mm 380g
A new 100mm macro lens, 49mm filters and lighter, plus half a stop slower (but gains a stop on the minimum). Using the same number of elements and groups, it is nevertheless a new design. With the new macro being so much lighter, it was decided to remove the tripod attachment on the extension tube. This lens is a bit sharper than the previous lens, which is hard to do since the first one was already very good.
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 200/2,8 [5/5] (ø72mm) 1,8m f/32 78x133mm 700g
A new fast 200mm, and one of the highest-resolving lenses in this history. Minolta wasn’t interested in making this lens lighter, it is one impressive piece of glass and metal!
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 135/3,5 [5/5] (ø49mm) 1,5m f/22 64x72,5mm 265g
The slow 135mm lens was changed to a five-element design, with 49mm front diameter (lighter, of course).
- Auto Bellows Macro 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø34/55mm) n/a f/32 57x24,5mm 115g
This is basically the glass from the 50mm macro lens in a small fixed barrel, in a reversed position so it works better for larger than life-sized reproduction. It is particularly designed for copy-stand work and slide duplication, though it can be used in other ways (it will not focus to infinity on a bellows). This lens and the 100mm below were introduced during the MD Rokkor-X line, but some time after 1981 there were slight cosmetic changes made to conform to those made to others in the plain MD line.
- Auto Bellows Macro 100/4 [5/4] (ø34/55mm) n/a f/32 57x28,5mm 150g
Companion to the 50mm bellows lens, again it is basically the optics of the 100mm macro lens. On a bellows (the Auto Bellows III and Bellows IV were current), it will focus from infinity to life-sized, so it can be a general-purpose macro lens, if a bit un-wieldy. This took the place of the older simple [3/3] 100/4, but both were available for a period at the same time. The appearance of this lens (and its companion) is much different, there should be no confusion: the front part of the barrel is conical and goes down to 34mm, but a flaring lens shade is provided with front threading for 55mm filters (an optional gelatin filter holder was an accessory).
- MD Fish-Eye Rokkor-X 16/2,8 [10/7] (built-in) 0,25m f/22 64,5x43mm 256g
A new optical design for the fish-eye, dropping one element and becoming much more compact. It focuses 5cm closer, too. I think Minolta went too far with shrinking this one, and the auto-focus fish-eye introduced in 1986 goes back to the classic design. The built-in filter turret also has a slightly different set, do you know which ones?
- MD Tele Rokkor-X 200/4 [5/5] (ø49mm) 2,5m f/32 64x116,5mm 400g
A new styling for the slow 200mm, perhaps to make it look better next to the mighty f/2,8! This version is shorter and, as always, lighter.
- Bellows Micro 12,5/2 [4/4] (n/a) n/a f/16 33x23,5mm 40g
Minolta had stopped advertising the Leitz Photar lenses for several years, when they decided to offer their own options for very high magnification applications. To this end, they developed this very tiny lens with RMS screw mount (microscope), optimized for photography at magnifications of 8 to 20 times life-sized, and its companion below. It doesn’t focus, it must be mounted with an adapter (M-1 and M-2 Adapters were available, as well as the older M) on a bellows. The diaphragm is manual, and there is a little protruding handle on the lens for turning the aperture ring. The Micro lenses were a fairly late addition to the MD Rokkor-X line, appearing some time in 1980 (I figure the middle). Did these lenses have any cosmetic changes after the plain MD line was introduced, or was there only one style?
- Bellows Micro 25/2,5 [6/4] (n/a) n/a f/16 33,5x17mm 40g
Companion to the 12,5mm lens, it is specified for lower magnifications of 3X-9X. Being far too small for screw-in filters, an accessory gelatin filter holder was available for these micro lenses.
- 2X Tele Converter 300-S n/a [7/6] (n/a) n/a n/a 65x41,5mm 230g
A new general-purpose 2X converter, produces high-quality results with most lenses and has no physical in-compatabilities. Minolta finally included the MD tab on their converters, so shutter-priority and program modes work as intended. The name indicates it should be used with focal lengths of 300mm or below, there was a companion converter for long lenses. Seems to be some time mid-1980 that these appear. After the plain MD series a year later, these were cosmetically changed to the newer style, most noticeable in the number of rows molded on the rubber grips.
- 2X Tele Converter 300-L n/a [5/3] (n/a) n/a n/a 65x52,5mm 230g
The new tele-converter for long lenses, it’s basically the same optic as the previous APO converters, but in a new body which fits in more with the other lenses (there is now a rubber grip), with MD function. The name indicates use on lenses 300mm and higher, again because of possible glass-to-glass contact, but also because it is better corrected for the chromatic abberation that can occur with long focal lengths.
[Starting in mid-1981, Minolta once again began a new lens series (that’s five, if you’re counting). This was in preparation for the release of the X-700 MPS system (October in Japan only with the chrome model, April of ’82 world-wide in the black). The most radical change was the elimination of the Rokkor brand for lenses in favour of the Minolta name, so this series is often called MD Minolta or ‘plain MD.’ Another is the addition of the MD Lock, a switch on the aperture ring which you can activate only when the minimum aperture is selected, to keep it locked there for S and P modes. There were also many cosmetic changes: colour of the Imperial focusing scale was changed from green to amber, the focal length marking on the barrel was shifted, the red bead as a mounting index became larger, and the rubber grip pattern changed to a more compact waffle with more rows in the same space. Finally, each lens now has a thin groove around the edge of the filter ring, for mounting a clip-on plastic lens shade (except those with built-in shades). These lenses feature the most modern coating technology of any Minoltas, so they in-variably test as most flare-resistant.]
- MD 135/3,5 [5/5] (ø49mm) 1,5m f/22 64x72,5mm 285g
The first lens to under-go plain MD up-dating was the slow 135mm. It had recently been changed to a new optical design, so there’s no further changes save for the cosmetic ones.
- MD Zoom 35-70/3,5 [8/7] (ø55mm) 1m f/22 69x65,5mm 355g
A new design for the standard zoom, similarly specified but with a slightly different glass and a different body. No longer does it use a secondary thread for the shade, it now has a clip-on model.
- MD Zoom 75-200/4,5 [15/11] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 70x155mm 640g
The mid-tele zoom was a simple cosmetic up-date.
- MD Zoom 100-200/5,6 [8/5] (ø55mm) 2,5m f/22 64x171,5mm 595g
Another cosmetic up-dating in the budget zoom.
- MD 24/2,8 [8/8] (ø49mm) 0,25m f/22 64x39mm 200g
A new optical design for the 24mm, it has been shrunk again by removing an element from the formula. Slightly closer focusing distance. Besides cost-cutting, it’s hard to see why they abandoned the classic design which was successful for Leitz as well.
- MD 28/2,8 [7/7] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x43mm 185g
Just a cosmetic up-date of the every-day 28mm.
- MD 28/3,5 [5/5] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x40mm 170g
A cosmetic update of the slow 28mm. It was still not available in North American (former Rokkor-X) markets, at least initially. I am un-clear as to whether it was eventually released for the U.S.A.
- MD 50/1,4 [7/6] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/16 64x40mm 235g
A cosmetic up-date for the fast standard lens.
- MD 50/1,7 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/22 64x36mm 165g
A styling up-date for the every-day standard lens, otherwise identical to the last version. Where many of these lenses had already under-gone the maximum size- and weight- reduction, you wonder why they’re a few grams heavier? That’s the MD lock apparatus.
- MD 50/2 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,45m f/22 64x36mm 150g
The budget standard lens was up-dated to plain MD, but the 45mm was eliminated so there are only 50mm options. Finally, the two slower standard lenses now close down to f/22, leaving only the two fast standard lenses (and some specialty items) with an f/16 minimum.
- MD 135/2,8 [5/5] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64x81mm 385g
Cosmetic up-date for the 135mm.
- MD 200/4 [5/5] (ø49mm) 2,5m f/32 64x116,5mm 410g
Cosmetically up-dated slow 200mm.
- RF 800/8 [8/7] (rear slot) 8m n/a 127x178mm 1.960g
A brand-new design for the 800mm mirror lens. This version had a white body, with a rigid carrying handle. It still used front mirror focusing, but now there was a thin focusing ring with a knob at the front, rather than a track. Like the previous ones, it was sold in R mount for Leica SLRs, but this one was not re-branded as Leitz, it was a Minolta lens.
- MD 35/2,8 [5/5] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x38mm 170g
The plain MD up-date for the 35mm lens.
- MD 50/1,2 [7/6] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/16 65x46mm 310g
A cosmetic up-date for the premium standard lens.
- MD Macro 50/3,5 [6/4] (ø55mm) 0,23m f/22 64x55,5mm 200g
Series up-date for the macro/copy lens.
- MD Macro 100/4 [5/4] (ø55mm) 0,45m f/32 66x88,5mm 385g
Series up-date for the 100mm macro.
- MD Zoom 75-150/4 [12/8] (ø49mm) 1,2m f/32 64x113,5mm 445g
A new budget mid-tele zoom, this was a smaller alternative to the 75-200mm with a slightly limited range, in a one-touch design. It is a bit faster, though, and the optics are excellent to boot. The range of 75-150mm also covers a good selection of classic portrait lengths.
- RF 1.600/11 [6/5] (rear slot) 20m n/a 179x325,5mm 6.290g
Not just a cosmetic up-date for the longest mirror lens, this is a new optical design. This huge lens also received the same styling as the 800mm, white body with rigid handle.
- MD Zoom 24-35/3,5 [10/10] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 67x50mm 285g
A new wide-angle zoom, for those who can’t deal with the large size of the 24-50mm. This lens covers all the usual wide focal lengths in a compact size, with a decent maximum aperture and close focus. Two-touch controls.
- MD Zoom 24-50/4 [13/11] (ø72mm) 0,7m f/22 75x69,5mm 390g
The large wide-angle zoom received an up-date in the plain MD style.
- MD Fish-Eye 16/2,8 [10/7] (built-in) 0,25m f/22 64,5x43mm 265g
The up-dated full-frame fish-eye.
- MD 17/4 [11/9] (ø72mm) 0,25m f/22 75x53mm 325g
The up-dated ultra-wide 17mm.
- MD 20/2,8 [10/9] (ø55mm) 0,25m f/22 64x43,5mm 240g
The up-dated 20mm for the last series of lenses.
- MD 28/2 [9/9] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x50mm 265g
Up-dated fast 28mm, optically pretty much the same, but this has been compacted and now sports 49mm filter threads.
- MD 135/2 [6/5] (ø72mm) 1,3m f/22 79x96mm 725g
A brand-new professional lens in a fast 135mm, and Minolta’s closest-focusing lens in this focal length. The only new fixed lens/aperture combination for the plain MD series, all the rest were either zooms, or duplicated lenses previously available.
- MD 85/2 [6/5] (ø49mm) 0,85m f/22 64x53,5mm 285g
The super-sharp 85mm portrait lens was up-dated with the MD lock and other series features in Nvember of 1981.
- MD 100/2,5 [5/5] (ø49mm) 1m f/22 64x65,5mm 310g
The 100mm portrait lens received the plain MD up-date, and at the same time was compacted slightly and given a 49mm filter size. This model switched from an accessory lens shade to a built-in, which is in a unique two-part telescoping design.
- MD 300/4,5 [7/6] (ø72mm) 3m f/32 77,5x177,5mm 705g
The cosmetic up-dates were applied to the internal-focus 300mm.
- MD 35/1,8 [8/6] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x48mm 240g
Fast 35mm with late MD styling.
- MD 200/2,8 [5/5] (ø72mm) 1,8m f/32 78x133mm 700g
Late-MD style of fast 200mm.
- MD 300/5,6 [5/5] (ø55mm) 4,5m f/32 65x186mm 695g
New styling for the budget long tele-photo. It seems this slower 300mm was delayed a bit past the f/4,5 released in November, can anyone pin its date down?
- MD Zoom 100-500/8 [16/10] (ø72mm) 2,5m f/32 90,5x330mm 2.110g
The long zoom lens, like most in this series, was simply up-dated with the new grip, MD lock, and engraving style.
- MD VFC 24/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 64,5x50,5mm 340g
The VFC lens was up-dated for plain MD virtually un-changed. The classic 9-element construction in the larger 55mm filter was retained for this specialty lens, where the general-purpose 24mm had already been revised to a compacted formula.
- MD Zoom 50-135/3,5 [12/10] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/32 68,5x118mm 480g
Another lens up-dated from the previous series.
- MD Zoom 35-105/3,5-4,5 [16/13] (ø55mm) 1,6m f/22 65x90,5mm 480g
A new two-touch zoom lens in a range of focal lengths useful for general photography. This is Minolta’s first zoom lens without a constant aperture, as increasing automation with program modes and TTL flash exposure meant fewer people cared about manual exposure, plus the demands of making the lenses smaller meant constant f-numbers couldn’t always be maintained.
- MD Fish-Eye 7,5/4 [12/8] (built-in) fixed f/22 68x63mm 355g
An up-dated style for the circular fish-eye.
- MD APO Tele 400/5,6 [7/6] (ø72mm) 5m f/32 83x256,5mm 1.440g
The shorter APO tele-photo was up-dated for plain MD.
- Shift CA 35/2,8 [9/7] (ø55mm) 0,3m f/22 83,5x71,5mm 555g
The shift lens wasn’t up-dated for the MD Rokkor-X series, since it was of limited production, and didn’t have meter-coupling anyway. But it did eventually receive the plain MD treatment, built almost identically, but notably no longer being called a Rokkor.
- MD APO Tele 600/6,3 [9/8] (ø95mm/rear slot) 5m f/32 108,5x373,5mm 2.400g
The longer APO tele was also up-dated some time in 1982, was it in June along with the 400mm?
- RF 500/8 [6/5] (ø77mm/39mm rear) 4m n/a 83,5x98,5mm 635g
The 500mm mirror was one of the last lenses to change to the late MD styling, and lose its Rokkor brand. It looks much the same, a bit heavier, though. Did the 250mm mirror receive plain MD up-dates? It seems that this one was always called a Rokkor.
- MD Zoom 28-85/3,5-4,5 [13/10] (ø55mm) 0,8m f/22 65,5x86,5mm 470g
A new standard zoom, for the first time encompassing the wide 28mm view which makes this a truly every-day lens. It is a two-touch design, and the zoom ring has a close-focus mode accessed by pressing a lock switch to move into a macro range, Minolta’s first regular zoom lens with this feature which would be incorporated into most after this.
- MD Zoom 100-300/5,6 [13/10] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/32 72x187mm 700g
A new one-touch tele-photo zoom with an extended range. Thus it can be a general-purpose zoom, and be used for the occasional wild-life or sports situation that might require some more reach.
- MD APO Tele Zoom 100-500/8 [16/11] (ø72mm) 2,5m f/32 90,5x331,5mm 2.080g
The existing long zoom was modified by Minolta to include Anomalous Dispersion (AD) glass, creating an apo-chromatic version for sharper results. The two 100-500mm zooms appear much the same, but besides the inscription you can easily spot the APO by the thin gold band Minolta used on their APO Teles at the front of the zoom/focus ring
[In April of 1983, Minolta Released the X-600 SF camera in Japan only. This was a market test of the in-body auto-focus system (sensors and processor) which was being developed for the Maxxum 7000 full AF system released in ’85. The X-600 did not automatically focus the lens, but it did detect the focus, and displayed it in the view-finder with LEDs to indicate whether you were too near or too far, until you turned the focusing ring to the correct distance, upon which you got the OK LED. As part of the SF system, it was useful for the camera to know the maximum aperture of the lens mounted, whether it was a fast or a slow lens. To this end, Minolta attached another lens information tab, this one inside the mount, which mated with a switch inside the bayonet of the X-600 only. There are two positions for this tab: one for faster than f/2,8 and one for all the rest. Most lenses built after mid-’83 had the X-600 lug added to them, but the camera was a limited-run test model, so eventually Minolta stopped doing this to new lenses.]
- MD 28/2,8 [5/5] (ø49mm) 0,3m f/22 64x43mm 185g
Another new optical design for wide-angles, this time the 28mm lost two elements. I’m not sure how to tell the difference, because all literature shows the exact same physical characteristics for the [7/7] and [5/5] in plain MD. Do you know how?
- MD Zoom 35-70/3,5 [8/7] (ø55mm) 0,8m f/22 69x68,5mm 365g
Minolta up-dated the previous 35-70mm with a macro mode. Despite the explosion of zooms in a standard range at this time, it was kept in the line-up for its quality, as well as for its comparatively low price for the budget-minded. I assume the four zoom lenses listed here were introduced in March of '83, along with the other new zooms, but I don't have specifics.
- MD Zoom 35-105/3,5-4,5 [14/12] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64x88mm 430g
A second version of the 35-105mm lens, it's a bit smaller and lighter (because it uses less elements). I don’t know if the original just a year earlier was an un-successful design, or if it was just the demand for a macro focusing mode that spurred this replacement.
- MD 35-135/3,5-4,5 [14/12] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 64x100mm 510g
Yet another standard-range zoom, this is the one with the most extensive range, and thus the most expensive. Two-touch with a macro mode.
- MD Zoom 70-210/4 [12/9] (ø55mm) 1,1m f/32 72x153mm 635g
The replacement for the 75-200mm mid-tele zoom, this presents small improvements in the range, maximum aperture, and near focusing distance. Being able to focus to 1,1m at 210mm, it doesn’t matter that this is a one-touch design lacking a macro mode, since it can do better than 1:4 macro ratio like this. Arguments persist over which is the better performer among the three similar zooms that Leitz adopted for the Leica R-series SLRs, but any way you slice it, this is a supreme optic.
- VariSoft 85/2,8 [6/5] (ø55mm) 0,8m f/16 70x80mm 430g
The VariSoft was a very low-production lens, and it kept the Rokkor styling even as everything else went to plain MD. Eventually it was up-dated, though (when?). The rubber grip's width was expanded, as well as the Rokkor brand being dropped. The new one still lacks the MD lug (the softness requires user control of aperture, of course).
- MD Zoom 28-70/3,5-4,8 [8/8] (ø55mm) 0,8m f/22 64x69mm 225g
A simple zoom lens with a general-purpose range, to be packaged with X-series bodies for photographers who weren’t too demanding. Two-touch with macro mode. Some time after the AF system took over and everybody started using small, cheap, slow zooms instead of good lenses, Minolta introduced several models to compete with cheap third-party offerings that were often sold along with cameras in department stores (does anybody know the dates?). These usually replaced a constant aperture model with a variable aperture, and thus they were able to reduce sizes significantly. For a time, each lens was available as a budget-priced option against the older zoom in the same range, but eventually these consumer zooms replaced them. It is suspected that some or all of the five zooms listed in this section were built by a second party (possibly Cosina).
- MD Zoom 35-70/3,5-4,8 [7/7] (ø55mm) 0,5m f/22 63,5x64mm 185g
Even cheaper package zoom than the very similar 28-70mm; the bottom of the barrel.
- MD Zoom 70-210/4,5-5,6 [12/9] (ø55mm) 1,2m f/22 66x91mm 330g
A budget one-touch zoom for the mid-tele range.
- MD Zoom 70-300/4,5-5,8 [13/9] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/22 68x62mm 505g
A short-lived long zoom, one-touch extended-range model. I’ve got this lens in a 1991 X-700 brochure, but it’s not in the ’96 edition (replaced by the even cheaper one below).
- MD Zoom 100-300/5,6-6,7 [10/8] (ø55mm) 1,5m f/32 64x142mm 445g
Was this cheap tele-photo zoom the last one introduced for the Minolta manual-focus SLR system? At 300mm f/6,7 it’s incredibly slow.
[That’s 230 entries, not counting all the variants!]
- UW.Rokkor-QF 18/9,5 [6/4] (?) fixed f/22 59x41mm ?g
A photo exists of the 18mm fish-eye with a -QF engraving, rather than its usual -PG. This example has a low serial number in the pre-production range (# 1100002), so it is doubtful that any were sold like this. Additionally, the extra element in the optical code of the production model most likely refers to the integral rear screw-in filter, so these would be the same design (spec.s the same). Perhaps this lacks the rear 37,5mm filter threading?
- MC W.Rokkor-X 20/2,8 [10/9] (ø55mm) 0,25m f/22 64x43,5mm 250g
This is a proto-type that appeared in articles at the end of 1976, but the lens did not make it into production until the MD of '77. Presumably the specifications are the same as the MD.
- Tele Rokkor-[zz] 180/2,5 [?/?] (ø?mm) ?m f/? ?mm ?g
Several brochures from the 1958 introduction of the SR-2 announce items which hadn't been released yet, including this phantom pre-set tele which seems like a companion to the very rare 25cm lens. There are no specifications, though we might assume it was constructed of 6 elements in either 4 or 5 groups, used 77mm filters, closed to f/22, and was big and heavy. Also promised in very early company documents is a fast standard 55/1,5 lens, which apparently became the 58/1,4 we all know. Chances are that this 180/2,5 was modified into the 200/3,5 design.
- Tele Rokkor-PF 200/3,5 [6/5] (ø?mm) 2m f/22 ?mm ?g
Did a pre-set version of the 200mm briefly exist ca. 1959 before the semi-automatic design came out? The -PF designation is different from the -QF type that persisted for 16 years after, but can the literature be trusted? Where it is pictured in an SR-2 instruction manual, it's really just a doctored photo of the 25cm lens. Was this lens made? Was the 180mm made instead? Did neither make it into the stores?
- Auto Tele Rokkor-HF 300/4,5 [6/6] (ø72mm) 4,5m f/22 80x200mm 1.150g
I've had conversations with a previously-serious Minolta collector who swears he saw at least two of the MC-type 300/4,5 but with no meter coupling. They may have been labelled Rokkor without the Auto. I suppose spec.s would be the same as the 1969 model.
- Leitz Telyt 560/5,6 [2/1] (ø?mm) ?m f/? ?mm ?g
I had heard that this lens, similar to the 800mm Telyt, could also be modified with a Minolta bayonet. Brochures don't mention this possibility, but as either was a special-order item, it seems just as possible.
- MC APO Tele Rokkor-X 600/6,3 [9/8] (ø95mm/rear slot) 5m f/32 108,5x373,5mm 2.450g
The same article which showed the MC 20mm introduced the 600mm APO in MC badging. One system guide I have confirmed from late 1976 does not have an MC 600mm. By this point it should show all MC lenses, and MD versions started coming out just a few months later. The MC must have then been a proto-type, as all three lenses in the German article (20, 500, and 600mm) were not released until the MD era.
© RED Bailey