I’ve now had the Minolta 50mm lens for about a year, and there’s been no looking back. It’s a special lens, and a dear piece of photographic equipment. You might be wondering why I should celebrate a lens. I think it’s true for all industries, that there is the one thing, the one piece of work equipment that is held dear to us. It somehow acquires legendary status. The 50mm lens for the photographer was, at one time, the main lens, ‘the standard lens’ as it was also called. 50mm is not just a nice round number, it was a nice all-rounder. It was great for photojournalism, for portraiture, landscape, street candid, whatever, it was there and it was good. All manufacturers endeavour to make the best lenses as possible. Generally, Lieca and Minolta (now Sony) have the best lenses. However, according to DPReview, the Pentax 50mm was the pick of the bunch, with the Sony / Minolta 50mm 1.4 snapping on it’s heels. Embarrassingly, the Canon 50mm was the dunce of the class (as is most Canon lenses, anyway 😉 ).
The design of the Sony 50mm 1.4 lens still shares much of the same design as the original 1985 Minolta 50mm 1.4 release (which is the lens that I have and am raving about), when Minolta first launched its Auto Focus series of lenses. Which, itself, was based on designs going back to the 1960’s Minolta MC and 1970’s MD mount lenses. In terms of image quality it’s still awesome; portability: it’s small, and not heavy at all; so it’s still hard to beat.
It’s hard to improve on such a great lens; the best you can do is to tweak a winning design.