Friday, September 13, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica Lens for September - the Minolta Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM

Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 in LTM
I don't know a lot about this lens. I am always attracted to oddball lenses that will adapt to or fit my Leicas. The Super Rokkor (named after the Rokko Mountains, near Osaka, Japan) is a very compact lens, and overall feels right (if different) on the Leica M9. Apparently, it was made from 1947-1955, and was standard fare on the "Minolta 35" series of rangefinder cameras. I've looked for a Minolta 35 body, but have yet to find one that's operational. Most Japanese-made cameras of that time work for a very long time, so it's a little uncommon to not be able to find one. However, I don't think there were too many of these cameras to begin with.
45mm is an odd focal length. I am using the 50mm frame in the M9 finder, and find the resulting image is quite a lot wider than what's in the finder. In fact, it seems closer to the 35mm framelines to me, but I want to make sure that what I'm composing actually ends up in the image, so I'll stick with the 50mm framelines. Of course, I could change to the 35mm lines by simply using a 35mm LTM-M adapter, instead of the 50mm adapter.
The Super Rokkor has a scalloped metal focusing ring. Different, but kind of nice. The aperture ring on mine has no click stops whatsoever, and moves very freely (too freely, in fact). It's very easy to accidentally bump the f-stop, especially during focusing. I don't know if all of them are like this, or if mine is simply missing something. The f-stop is referenced to the rotating part of the lens that moves when you focus. So, it can be a little fiddly. Mine came with a simple tube-style hood, that is marked with the Minolta 35 name.
(Click Here) for a little more information on Minolta's rangefinders and lenses. Here's an image of a vintage ~1950 ad from that website:
Image Source:
So, we'll see how this little vintage piece performs on the modern M9. If it's anything like it's younger cousin, the Rokkor 40mm f2 that came with the Leica CL, we're in for some nice images. Unlikely, but we'll give it a try.