Minolta AF 50mm F1.4 A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#39901 date: Jul-22-2017
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta MD 50 F1.4
Minolta AF 50 F1.7 & RS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta SR 55 F2
Minolta MC 55 F1.7
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
Neewer 50 F2(.4)
Fotasy 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
price paid:70 USD (used)
positive:Size and weight
Very sharp wide-open
negative:Axial CA/focus shift
Slight barrel distortion
Play in barrel
Tiny, non-locking built-in hood
Lack of in-camera lens compensation
comment:A somewhat worn looking copy purchased from an individual seller on eBay. The coating on the front element is worn off in several spots/scratches. With the caps on it looks identical to the Minolta AF 50 F1.7. The lens elements are larger and the front and rear elements are not recessed as deep as those on that lens. This lens was originally $175 in 1985 about twice the price of the AF 50 F1.7. Sony is still selling this design with a distance encoder and some other changes for $450. This lens doesn't get recognized by the camera or software as the Sony lens, so there is no automatic lens compensation available.

The focal length of the Minolta 50s may be closer to 52 mm. The other 50 mm lenses are definitely wider. The Minolta MC 55 F1.7 is definitely longer.

This lens is amazingly sharp wide-open even on a 2X teleconverter. There is definitely heavy axial CA which makes focusing accurately difficult. Stopping down to F1.7* cleans up a lot of the axial CA fringing. Unfortunately there is no way to focus A-mount lenses stopped down. Like the much older 58 F1.4 the focus plane of the 50 F1.4 is quite flat from corner to corner on APS-C. The corners are brighter than the other lenses. It is definitely brighter wide-open than the F1.6, F1.7, and F1.8 lenses.

The aperture mechanism is slow even after cleaning the blades and the lever.

Images will wash out with bright light sources. The pullout hood is nearly useless. I use a generic 49 mm screw on hood that is a bit more helpful. The next version of this lens got a much larger removable bayonet hood.

*Both my A65 and A5000 display the aperture range from F1.4 as F1.6, F1.7, F2... It is strange especially when Sony only sells F1.8 lenses, and F1.7 is the half-step between F1.4 and F2. Probably this F1.7 is actually F1.8 which would also fit with the second stopped down F1.7 setting when using the Minolta AF 50 F1.7 lenses. F1.8 lenses display as F1.8 wide-open.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 124
  • sharpness: 4.68
  • color: 4.81
  • build: 4.64
  • distortion: 4.77
  • flare control: 4.13
  • overall: 4.60
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