Today I received the Distagon T* 1.4/35 ZM Demo Unit directly from Carl Zeiss for an in-depth trial and review. My first contact with this Lens was at the Carl Zeiss booth / photokina in Cologne since then I was exited to get this gem into my hands for trying. The Distagon is a brand-new construction of 10 elements in 7 groups with Floating rear elements.The Distagon 35/1.4 is not on sale now and I hope to get my review finished shortly… Stay tuned.
When Sony launched its A7 series the response was very mixed. First response was, “there are no lenses available”, which is in fact somehow true. The first lens launched was the 28-70 3.5 Kit-lens together with the Sony A7. Later Sony launched the 35mm 2.8 which was a bit too slow for some and finally the FE 55 1.8. The 35mm and 55 mm are not cheap lenses, compared to what Nikon or other´s have in this range, but it turned to be, that these two Carl Zeiss lenses could cope very well even with the less forgiving 36mp of the Sony A7r. The Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA got rated high on DXOmark, just the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2 Nikon beat it. So Sony did wise, not to launch cheap lenses and the price compared to value is fair for both.
Beside the use of these two native lenses and the lack of a large lens portfolio made the Sony A7-series very fast to the perfect camera for using legacy lenses. Actually most people thought here , that many Leica lenses can find a new mount. And the current backorder of the leader in lens-Adapter Novoflex (Novoflex told me that there is a backlog of 2-3 weeks) proves that many Leica lenses seems to be mounted on the Alpha 7 series. For a good reason as its the first time you can use legacy lenses on a mirrorless FF camera with amazing MF capabilities due to peaking and magnification.
But beside the run on M-mount lenses, other lenses popped up which were forgotten over the last decades. One of this gems is the Minolta MD Rokkor 58mm 1.2.
When I saw the first pictures with it in some user groups, I was infected to hunt for a one in a good condition and I was very lucky to get one for a reasonable price at ebay.de.
The first time this lens was launched in the end of the fifties and early sixties, calculated on one of the first Computer (I guess the one which filled a room).
The lens is heavy and solid, build like a tank.
Size: (diameter x length): 70.8mm x 54mm
Filter Thread: 55mm
Close Focusing Distance: 0.6m
Number of aperture blades: 8
Using a lens , older than me on one of the most innovative cameras and challenging sensor of these days seemed to be a nice challenge.
Once i organized a good working MD to NEX adapter (the first one did not work and I was in fear to destroy my MD mount) I started to try and using it.
At this moment I fall in love with this lens. At wide open if´t gives my a very nice bokeh and perfect softness for Portraits, Once you close it to f2.0 it becomes one of the sharpest lenses money can buy. I would wish there would be a stop between f1.2 and f2.0 (but its 40 years to late for complaints and the Company does not exist anymore)
So I took it with my 55mm CZ to my 3 week vacation on the Baltic See to try it in some occasions. Guess what happened, the CZ 55mm just rareely left the bag and the Rokkor did not left the Sony body and was RoKKing me through my vacation.
I just had an Ipad with me so when I came home i even was more surpriced to see the Rokkor files, full blown resolution on the Imac.
So I asked myself , how does it performs against one of the highest rated lenses the CZ 55mm 1.8
See my comparison below and judge yourself. (the CZ55 is visible in the metadata of the picture)
I am honest, I will keep both lenses as one of the purpose of the A7r was having an AF Alternative next to my primary cameras the Leica Rangefinder. But for some very special effects or portraits, the Minolta became one of my favorite lenses to use.
The lens is still available on ebay but be aware the prices are rising daily for a lens in good condition.