Focal Lenght: 28mm
Max Apeture: 2.8
Lens Mount: Minolta MD
Min. Focus: 0.3 mm
Filter Size: 55mm
I hadn’t visited a flea market in almost a year. I didn’t keep my hopes up about finding a camera or lens, I was just happy to go for a walk with a friend, chat a bit and have a look around.
I had my walk and I was now ready to head home when at one of the vendor I noticed a lens. I picked up the Minolta MD W.Rokkor 28mm 2.8 in none of it’s glory. Outdoor fleamarkets are sometimes sad places. Old cameras and lenses, left in the summer heat, autumn rain and neglected.
I picked up the lens and showed it to my friend, stiffling a smile. The seller immediatelly saw me pick it up, approached and said it’s mine for 10 currency.
There was obviously water damage at play. Dried up white water, at several spots green, residue all over the lens barrel (limestone? corrosion? rust?). The focus ring was stuck or so stiff it felt like it. There was fungus and spots all over the optics. The only working element seemed to be the aperture.
I decided for the price I might as well try my hand at repair and see what I can do with it.
After cleaning the lens barrel, dissasembling and relubbing the lens, the focus of the W. Rokkor 28mm is now smooth.
Handling is good, as expected of an MD lens. Judging from research this copy is the first generation, all metal lens type.
It has a 55mm filter ring, which is not a personal fave, but it is what it is.
The lens has half-stops on the aperture scale between f4 and f16 which is a nice touch.
In the Handling section I mentioned the good news – mechanically the lens is now good.
Optically things didn’t go as smooth. Fine fungus has etched the rear element and the front element has both fine and larger (althought not the worse I’ve seen) scratches. On the plus side – I’ve learned what “Schneiderittis” is! It’s slang for little bubles that form on the paint coating the side of the lens elements. It looks like a lot of small dots!
This goes to show (and even futher) how much beating a lens can take before becoming unusable. I don’t pixel peep or shoot test charts, so even with all the above I still found the lens lovely.
Contrast was within a reasonable amount and chromatic aberration was well controlled. Distortion, albeit a weird mix is negligible for my use. Sharpness surprised me pleasantly for how the glass looked!
Now for the bad part. You didn’t think this lens was just a magical zombie brought back from the brink did you?
Vignetting and light falloff is very heavy when wide open. By f4 it gets more manageable, but overall this is not a strong side of the lens, unless shot only stopped down.
Flare! Shooting during the day, even with a lens hood was a recipy for flare, with several images getting scrapped because of that.
If any of my reviews / rambles / opinion on lenses deserved a grain of salt, it was this one.
I really enjoyed shooting the Minolta MD W. Rokkor 28mm and I’ll most likely stick it on my Minolta XD-11 for a try. Both the focal length, colors and sharpness were to my taste, which just makes me wonder – What can this lens do if it not had been left in a waterlogged drawer in a damp place for years? How much of the positives were lessened and how much were the negatives increased?
It might be a good idea to browse some photos online a read a few more reviews before deciding for yourself.