Minolta 55mm f/1.7 Bottom Line Up Front …
The Minolta 55mm f/1.7 is an extremely affordable short tele for the Fuji X Series (I picked up mine for around £30 on ebay!) it looks, feels and handles great on mirrorless bodies (Fuji XT2 in my case).
Giving you an equivalent field of view as an 82mm on full frame, the images look fantastic when used as a short tele. It’s possible to shoot wide open at f/1.7 for portraits with a lovely, dreamy, vintage look; granted its not the sharpest offering in the bag but I don’t think that’s what you’d buy this lens for anyway!
Personally, I love this lens for its character and how superbly it handles! I always enjoy taking it out with me and always impressed with the images that are almost perfect SOOC!
Minolta 55mm f/1.7 Sample Images…
- Cheap (!!!)
- Great Character
- Fabulous build and handling
- Not the sharpest (f8-ish things look better)
- Heavy flaring
As mentioned, the lens feels absolutely FANTASTIC mounted on an XT2/3/4 body. The aperture clicks and focus ring are also great and offer a perfect about of resistance. It’s quite weighty and feels perfect, however on the smaller Fuji bodies it could perhaps feel a bit unbalanced!
Lens Adaptor – I use a £10 cheapo lens adaptor from ebay. They all do the same thing, unless you’re trying to adapt lenses with AF.
This lens oozes character and to me it feels a tiny little bit like the legendary XF 35 1.4, but not as sharp… and significantly more issues with ghosting, flaring etc due to the age of the lens and the coatings etc used (or not). However I love the images you get from this lens all the same. When used with Fuji’s in camera sims (especially with Monochrome based profile!) the final images require little to no post processing and have a great vintage feel to them.
I would caveat this and say I would definitely consider this more of a portrait lens, to be used wide open or as close as. I find I am not AS impressed with landscape etc as I am with portraits when using this lens.
Minolta 55mm f/1.7 Bokeh & character
In high contrast situations like in woodland, the bokeh looks a bit jittery and with backlit photographs I find this lens exhibits significant flaring and can sometimes show ghosting. Personally, I think this is quite endearing and I really like the atmosphere its able to create. In lower contrast situation, bokeh is really smooth and lovely. Portraits have a dreamy quality when shot at f/1.7 and focusing is a dream when used in conjunction with Fuji’s focus peaking.
I think this is the reason I personally enjoy this lens so much because it gives great, timeless images SOOC rather than having to slap on a VSCO preset etc. Rather than “character” being a euphemism for a lens’ flaws, I really think it gives you images that you smile at straight off the bat.
For me, I never have a bad day shooting with this lens and will be staying in my vintage collection.
I actually read Jonas Rask’s review of the lens before buying and I was sold. He does it more justice than I can and has some absolutely incredible images 🙂