Magnolia: Minolta 50/f1.4

Magnolia 1
Magnolia 1 (click for larger image)

The Minolta 50mm f1.4 is one lens that every Sony Alpha and m43rds videographer should consider getting. Its cheap on eBay (its one of the most affordable f1.4 lenses on any system), and produces typical 1980’s Minolta color and bokeh, all with a wonderful depth of field wide open.

Magnolia 2
Magnolia 2 (click for larger image)

It suffers from the usual issues of 1980s glass (chromatic aberration and veil hazing wide open, less contrast than modern equivalents when wide open, chance of fungus). The chromatic aberration is easily removed in Lightroom (or is a non-issue at video resolutions), and the lens becomes very sharp from f2.8 onwards. Most issues have totally disappeared by the time you are above f3.5.

The less adventurous APS-C user would be better off with the cheap crop frame 50mm primes that Sony, Canon, Nikon and almost every other DSLR range offer (for Sony its the 50mm f1.8 DT) . Despite the issues of the Minolta f1.4 wide open, that’s exactly where I tend to use it as per the photographs above.

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