This fast Minolta MD 50mm f1.4 manual focus prime normal lens is well-suited to the user of Sony NEX, or Olympus and Lumix micro4/3 cameras. In particular it provides a superior solution for those mirrorless shooters who use the hi-res video capabilites of their cameras. The ability to gather considerably more light than the kit lens, and the general superiority of manual focusing over auto when capturing video makes this a nice addition to the ILC owners arsenal.
The 4/3 and micro4/3 movement not only kicked off the whole "mirrorless" paradigm shift in interchangeable lens photography, but has also breathed life into several abandoned lens mounts. I never warmed to the Minolta cameras too much, but always admired the crisp focus and build quality of the Minolta optics. Most authorities agree that the Rokkors, by and large, were on par with the premium offerings from Nikon, Konica, Pentax, Canon, and Olympus. They all just had slightly different strategies for design, and particularly in marketing. Nikon and Pentax may have been the shrewdest, they stuck with their mount through thick and thin, and with long flange-to-film plane registers you really couldn't adapt another manufacturers lenses to their bodies. The new Minolta A-mount had a brief moment of glory with ground-breaking auto focus, but in abandoning the "SR" mount they pretty much doomed an already small market share to the margins. Minolta owners with large Celtic/MC/MD collections went to Nikon and Pentax in droves, and those old SRT and X body cameras languished in closets and storage areas. The good news is that many of those almost unusedMinolta lenses are now surfacing and the word hasn't really gotten out yet how appropriate they are to "mirrorless" photography. Which means that a fast lens like this can be acquired for considerably less than an equivalent Nikon or Pentax.
There is an obvious decision to be made between the MD or MC versions of the 50mm f1.4. This is the late version of the MD, and has the additional feature of the "minimum aperture lock", used for metering on the last Minolta SR-mount film bodies. The late version of the MD is considerably smaller and lighter than the earlier MC, having the typical Minolta 49mm filter thread instead of the 55mm. They are very similar, in both optical formulas and performance. The MC is reputedly sharper wide open, and the MD is supposed to be better between f4 and f8---where the MC allegedly again becomes slightly sharper. I have never tested them critically enough to make that distinction. I can say that they are the equal of just about everything else out there in this length and speed...except perhaps the "getting pricey" 50 f1.4 Konica AR. The MD, even the 55mm version, is slightly more compact and lighter than the MC, so it follows that it scales somewhat better to the diminutive mirrorless ILCs. So it's a personal preference, since they are both pricing themselves the same in the market.
The MD/MC adapters are readily available on eBay for rarely more than $20. You might pay a little more than that if you don't want to wait for delivery from China, or just want a US manufacturer like Fotodiox, but they are still inexpensive. The condition of the lens is graded as VERY GOOD to EXCELLENT, with only minor indications of prior use. The front and rear elements are nice, and the aperture blades are free of oil and snappy. It arrives with front and rear Minolta lens caps.
Glass Disclaimer - Frequently, lenses, even when brand new, will have a slight amount of dust visible within the lens elements. This is a result of the manufacturing process and will not affect image quality or resolution. As a result, used lenses may exhibit the same consistencies.
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