5 Frames with the Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor – By Steven Starr

This lens is an SR mount lens designed for the Minolta manual focus SLR’s. The MD version was first introduced in 1977 and was preceded by an MC version in 1973. They all take 55mm screw in filter fittings with a 9 element 7 group design and an 84 degree angle of view. A later and last iteration of the lens was an 8 element 8 group 49mm filter thread design, introduced in 1981 and included more plastic parts.

The one I have, pictured above, is an MD model from around 1978 or so with improved lens coatings compared to the earlier versions. This lens incorporates a floating element design, and I am told this is the reason why it has excellent sharpness and detail. I’ve also found it to have no noticeable distortion

I use my Minolta 24mm f/2.8 lens on 3 cameras: A Minolta XD-7, and XD-s (same camera just has a dioptre) and the later Minolta X-700.

I’m saying straight off I like this lens. And why? Well for a few reasons I think. Firstly, as the ‘W’ in the name stands for wide. As such, the variation in depth of field that is possible with this lens enables a variety of shots. At small apertures, it’s possible to achieve images with objects in the immediate foreground and far distance in sharp focus. Wide open you can focus on something close up (min focus <0.3m) and throw the background out of focus with a really nice quality to it.

The second, and possibly main reason I’ve taken to this lens so much is just because I find it works so well for my kind of shooting. I shoot urban, architecture and countryside. I find the 24mm focal length just suits what I want to achieve, not only in terms of depth of field, but also because it allows me to shoot subjects in context. For example a flower, or a person, can be seen in the habitat within which they are set, yet the wider angle allows space for composition instead of it taking up the whole of the frame with the subject.

Over the last 12 months this has become my most used lens. If I’m taking a Minolta SLR out with me (which is quite often) then it’s always the 24mm lens that goes in my bag first. I’ve not done much shooting on digital with this lens but there’s plenty of adapters out there and I’m sure it would work very well. It’s quite compact too, so even with an adapter I don’t think it would get particularly bulky.

So far I’ve enlarged 35mm negatives from the Minolta 24mm f/2.8 up to around 8×12’’ and they look great, really detailed, and could easily go up another size or two with the right film.

In conclusion

I’d just say I would never be without one of these lenses. If you’re shooting manual Minolta SLR’s then if you don’t already have one, then you should certainly consider this lens!

Anyway here’s the 5 frames, two black and white, 2 colour negative and one colour slide, hope you enjoy them.

Minolta XD-S, Adox CMS II. Museum of Liverpool Life
Minola XD-S, Ilford PanF+, Liverpool One shopping centre
Minolta XD-S, Lomo 400 CN, LLAWN06 arts festival, featuring the work of Niall McDiarmid
Minolta XD-7, Kodak Ektar, Delft, The Netherlands
Minolta XD-7, Rollei Variochrome, Thurstaston Common.

Twitter: @Stig_Ofthedump
Flickr: stig.ofthedump

Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience

There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:

Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Subscribe here.

Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.

About The Author

14 thoughts on “5 Frames with the Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor – By Steven Starr”

  1. I have to agree; this is a great lens. I put up with my motley collection of Minolta bodies because I love Minolta lenses. I also find that they are especially good when used on digital cameras. Recently I stumbled across a Minolta-mount to M-Mount adapter and started using the Rokkor 24mm and 28mm lenses on my Voigtlander Bessa-T body. This Rangefinder body is designed to use with add-on viewfinders, and the light meter can be seen on the back of the camera out of the corner of your eye while you are peering through a shoe-mount viewfinder. I use a Ricoh 21-28 wide angle viewfinder that works well for estimating the framing of the 24mm and the 28mm lenses, and it also provides me with a clear view of the top of the lens, so I can even set the scale-focus without taking my eye away from the viewfinder! Scale focus is easy with these very wide lenses at f/8 and smaller, though framing close-ups wide-open is best with an SLR.

    1. Thanks Nick, I am definitely going to have a look into that adapter, see if it will work on my M mount CLE, even if a little inconvenient re the light meter, totally agree on the focusing at that wide, its not critical at all until very close up.

  2. Steven, you may find it of interest to learn that this Minolta design was adopted and adapted by Leitz for their R system using Leitz glass, and as such it represents the only 24mm prime lens for the R system. Initially, Minolta provided the lens blanks to Leitz who then assembled the lens, but when Minolta discontinued this model, Leitz continued with it. What I’ve not been able to determine is whether the first lenses used Minolta glass for the blanks, and Leica improved the design with their own glass formulations when Minolta ceased production. Whatever, you have a lens that Leitz thought highly enough of to for it to come into the “R” fold.

    1. Hi Terry, many thanks for the information, I was aware re the Leica collaboration, and own an R5 as well as a range of Minolta bodies, when it came to purchase a wide for the R5 I chose the 28mm Elmarit, which is a good lens and borrows from Minolta also if only for design rather than any manufacturing help in this case, this decision was just so I didn’t actually own the ‘same’ lens twice and to offer a different option. All in all though, a pair of great lenses no matter what the badge is.

    1. Thanks Jack, that’s very kind, I do indeed love that lens, dreading breaking it and having to find a new/old one

  3. I loved my 24mm lens (Nikkor) on my old F2. It just felt right. That feeling didn’t translate to my switch to Leica M.
    I remember reading about the Leitz/Minolta collaboration not only in terms of the CL (I have a Leitz/Minolta, such a nice little camera w/the 40mm Minolta lens) but how Leitz adapted the Minolta designs for specific w/a lenses. It was a two-way street.
    Your photos show that you know how to get the most from the lens; nicely done. I like the seaside shot, very graphic.

    1. That’s very kind Daniel, I have the 24mm f2.8 for my Nikons as well, its the D version, so not as solid as the Minolta, but still a great lens to use. As you said Leica and Minolta had a lot of collaboration, even down to Minolta doing some manufacturing for Leica in the case of the 24mm, and that Minolta 40mm lens for the CLE is as I’m sure you are aware often compared to a kind of Summicron, I love that lens also, this feeds my love of Minolta I think, like an undercover Leica ????

      1. I’d love a CLE, but I’d be afraid to buy one because it’s almost impossible to find repairs for the camera. I’ll stick to my Leitz-Minolta CL. The 40mm Rokkor-M is such a nice lens. I’ll snap it onto my M2 for a ultra light kit.
        One thing I forgot to mention when comparing the SLR to a R/F system is my inability to visualize what the scene actually looks like with an R/F. An SLR gives you ‘real-time’ viewing and you can see the image effects of the 24 (or any lens.) Since I’m a 35/50mm kind of shooter, the R/F viewfinder meets my needs. I could add on an external v/f to the Leica, but then it just looks so fussy. Nice work on your site.

        1. I understand what you say about an SLR showing you exactly what you will get as you are looking through the lens, although to balance that there is a school of thought that for some types of shooting like street photography that the RF gives an advantage because you can see what’s outside the range of your photograph as well, and are therefore better placed to capture those decisive moments. Horses for courses I guess, whatever suits your style best. Thanks for the comments.

  4. I have a few minolta cameras and lenses, so was interested to view your flickr photos to see a bit more. Disappointed you have 0 images

  5. That 24mm is a gem – I have the earlier (your version) and the later 49mm thread version, and while the 49mm gets lower ratings I honestly can’t see a difference between them – they’re all superb. I have the Canon FD 24mm and Nikkor AI-S 24mm, and neither come close to the Minolta. They just got something right with this lens. Love your shots as well. Good post, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top