One Man’s Junk…

Over the course of my many searches for good Minolta Rokkor MD/MC mount lenses, I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted the camera shops back in my home state of North Carolina.  I’m in Texas again for work so this weekend I popped into one of the camera shops in Houston to dig through their cache.  Surprisingly, they had not one manual focus Minolta lens in their sales display cases.  I was about to leave the shop when I noticed a familiar looking lens sitting on a decoration shelf in the back of the store; the shop is decorated with lots of old film cameras and accessories.  Since the lens was within reach, I helped myself to pull it down and have a look.  NO WAY!  It was a Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8 MD (1st gen) in PERFECT condition.  These are hard to find and expensive.  Made between 1977-1979, it is considered by many to be one of the finest 24mm lenses ever made by any manufacturer.

I blew the thick layer of dust off of it and gave it a quick inspection.  It looked immaculate!  Even the shiny, gold ‘Quality Inspection’ sticker was flawless.  The rear element cap had a label stuck to it that said “No Infinity Focus”.  I took the lens over to one of the sales guys and asked him what they wanted for the lens.  He told me it’s just an old display lens and it’s not for sale.  I asked him again, telling him I didn’t care whether it worked or not because I had the tools to at least attempt to fix it.  Confused, he took the lens and told me he’d go ask his manager about selling it.  A few minutes later he returned and said, “How’s fifteen bucks?”  I told him it’s well worth the risk for $15.  He kind of looked at me strange like, why would anyone want an old lens with no autofocus.  I paid him and left.

All cleaned up, I took some photos of the lens I bought:

My studio consisted of a thin, opaque kitchen cutting board (flash diffuser), a cheapy Sony flash unit(HVL-F20M), and a sheet of paper for a backdrop.  Not a lot of options at my disposal at the company staff house.

Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8

For those of you not in the know, this lens is worth between $400-500 when in decent condition.  The copy I got is way better than decent.  It looks like it’s never been used!

Later that evening, I attached the lens to my camera and began testing it to see what all wasn’t working on it.  Long story short, it’s perfect.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The focus ring is buttery smooth and it focuses to infinity and minimum distance without a single issue.  The aperture functions like new and the glass, inside and out, is perfect.  There isn’t even any dust in the lens!  This is definitely a case of “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

Here are some shots I’ve made with it so far.

Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8

This last photo has a color LUT applied to it in Photoshop.  The reduced contrast is not at all from the lens.  It was just a personal taste to process it this way.

Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8
Sony A7r w/ Minolta W. Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8

I recently won an auction for the rare and excellent MD Rokkor 24-50mm f/4.  One I get back home and can play with it, I’ll be putting it through it’s paces so I can post photos made with it.  Stay tuned!

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5 thoughts on “One Man’s Junk…

  1. Awesome, Tom- talk about a catch!! Amazing how “collections” start, isn’t it?? Used to have an old Minolta SRT-101… back when it was new!! Minolta gear was nice back in the late ’60;s…. I bought mine in about 1968. New, of course.

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  2. It still staggers how many great lenses were made back then. Some of them may not be as technically strong as some of the expensive modern lenses but I’ve found that they have great character. I’m more impressed by that than a new sharp, sterile, uninteresting plastic modern marvel. Save a lot of bucks too and that’s always good!

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  3. Tom, considering the date , I might have come close to your “Find”. I bought today the same lense…for $40.00 cad. It too is in perfect condition, (after clean-up). I can hardly wait to get out and play with it

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  4. Excellent to hear, Randy! I hope you enjoy shooting with it as much I do. It really is an exceptional lens, even when compared to anything made more recently. Do please send another note after you’ve had a chance to try it out. I’d like to know what you think of it.

    Cheers,

    Tom Leonard

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