For those of you who know I’m a HUGE minolta camera fan and I’ve shot almost all of the MD (aka SR) lenses Minolta had to offer. Everything from the classic Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.4 to even the rare 56mm 1.2 and to tell you the truth mostly all of Minolta’s legacy lenses are AMAZING! But there is one lens that I’ve grown a particularly special attachment to. it’s a lens that is a GAME changer due to it’s size and weight but also it’s versatility. If you were to ask me if I could only buy one lens for my Minolta X-700 and stick to that lens for the rest of my life it would be this gem.
The MInolta Rokkor 45mm f2 - This is an absolute beast of a lens, a hidden gem you may add. Everyone seems to be so focused on the 50 1.4 or the 58mm 1.4 but no one ever gives any credit to this little guy. I will go even further by saying this is the BEST Minolta SR lens ever made.
It has a very small profile almost making it “pancake” like. This is big for people who travel or shoot street photography and are always on the move. You can count on this lens to never get in the way. It’s lightweight, compact AND gives you amazing results very comparable to something like the 50mm.
On the topic of focal lengths this little guy sits in an akward position at 45mm. 5mm shorter than a 50mm lens. I’ve heard a couple of people complain about this not being a traditional focal length but to me, ITS AMAZING! In the sample images below take note of the field of view.
Very similar to a 50mm BUT if you are plagued with how narrow the 50mm is like me you will appreciate the 45mm focal length for simply giving us a slightly wider field of view. In my opinion this is a better street photography focal length and a great switch up when you’re tired of the ol 50.
The lens also features a large wide open aperture of F2. For any bokeh lovers out there this lens will give you enough shallow depth of field to fulfill your dreams. This is a game changer for any portrait film shooters allowing you to shoot in lowlight or to simply get background separation. This is an excellent choice for fashion or lifestyle photographers with a large aperture you also get a wider field of view. BUT there is one downside.
This lens can produce some very dreamy bokeh in the right light, but put it in areas where light is seeping through like against tree’s or through windows and you will notice at times the bokeh can be a little noisy. It’s not a swirly bokeh instead it looks scattered and not very pleasing to the eye. This is an easy fix though by simply staying away from areas of scattered light.
Who is this lens for?
Due to the small and compact size, large aperture and useful focal length this would be a great addition to any street photographer or portrait photographers arsenal. It could very much replace your 50mm and with only a 5mm difference it would be hard to spot.
As a street shooter I appreciate the small size, it has been one of the smoothest lens for the Minolta system I’ve ever tested. And adapted to something like a Sony digital or even fuji, you have yourself a sharp small and compact lens that can be used for almost everything! (except macro)
If i was a portrait photographer I probably wouldn’t use this lens in a professional setting but if you are just doing small paid shoots here and there or maybe just lifestyle or fashion portraits this lens is killer. For the price and also for what you get this is an incredible value to mirrorless shooters or to the native Minolta MD shooters.
Also if you look at the lens you’ll notice the front and rear glass elements aren’t near as big as a 50mm. Of course this has to do with the shorter focal length but that also means you wont be drawing in as much light and may also be a reason for the noisy bokeh. Since this a manual focus lens it’s important you nail focus every time and luckily this lens has one of the smoothest focus rings!
Better than the 50mm?
In a way the 45mm IS better than the 50mm in my opinion. I know this is all personal preference because I’m usually a 35 shooter. But the smaller 45mm f2 gives you a pancake like package making it very portable, it’s not heavy but still feels premium, has a smoother focusing ring than the 50mm and also has a large f2 aperture.
The 50mm on the other hand is a lot bigger, heavier and has a larger glass element. This to some may be better because they have more glass to capture light and also the 50mm can open up to larger apertures like 1.7 or 1.4 which will allow the photographer to achieve a more shallow depth of field.
So at the end of the day it’s all about your personal preference. You can get the 50mm to have more bokeh, slightly larger lens as well as a more traditional focal length or you can grab the 45mm shave off a bit of focal length, sacrifice a smaller aperture BUT get a smaller and lighter lens that can keep up with the 50. If I were to choose one lens, I would still take the 45mm simply for its small size.
Where can I buy this lens?
You can find this lens on ebay anywhere from $50-100 depending on wether or not it comes with a body. I would highly suggest before purchasing you ask the seller if there is any dust or haze in the lens as thats probably the only thing you’ll have to worry about, even if the body is some what beat up its a minoilta lens, it will last!
The Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2 has been my go to choice for a 50mm replacement, its small which make it eady to travel with. Even has a large f2 aperture ideal for portrait shooters who love their bokeh and most importantly the optics on this little guy are absolutely amazing! If you can get over the noisy bokeh in certain lighting situations I think this is one of the best lenses you can get for your minolta camera or even for your sony/fuji mirrorless!