Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica Results - Minolta 45mm f2.8 Rokkor LTM

I have been very busy this month, but did get out a couple of times so far with this month's WLL lens, the Rokkor 45mm f2.8 in LTM.
 
(Click Here) to read about the lens.
 
First off, I took the lens to a meetup with some fellow Leica fans. I'm learning a lot from these guys, who have an amazing knowledge of not only the equipment but of how to use it to great advantage. Anyway, while meeting in the coffee shop, I saw this lovely lady sitting in wonderful backlight and asked if I could take her picture, to which she agreed.
Backlit 1, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM lens
iso320 f5.6, 1/250 sec.
Backlit 2, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM lens
iso320 f5.6, 1/250 sec.
 
I may have benefitted from opening the lens wider in the shots above, as some of the lines in the background (especially those at the top of the lady's head) are distracting.
 
The Rokkor is quite sharp, especially closed down a little as above. One thing I mentioned in the description post is that the aperture setting on my copy is a little fidgety. First, the reference point moves with the focus ring, which will be true of all copies of this particular design. Secondly, and more important, there are no click stops. So, it's very easy to bump it, especially while focusing, and change the aperture setting. I don't know if this is specific to my copy, or if this lens was designed without click stops.
 
On the same day as the meetup, I took the Rokkor to National Harbor in DC, where I was meeting some friends for dinner. It's a lively place, with plenty of people to photograph on a weekend evening.
 
The Awakening Sculpture, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM lens
iso320 f9.5, 1/1000 sec.
"The Awakening" is a focal point of National Harbor. I didn't feel that I found a great composition of the sculpture, but did enjoy the interplay of the people and the piece.
 
Mosaic, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM lens
iso320 f8, 1/1000 sec.
Basking in the Weekend Sun, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM lens
iso320 f9.5, 1/1000 sec.
Another observation about the Rokkor has to do with which framelines you want to bring up on the M9. Since the focal length is closest to the 50mm Leica standard, I chose an LTM-M adapter ring that brings up the 50mm framelines. I find that the angle is much wider, and therefore produces images that go well outside the 50mm framelines. In fact, I think it's close to matching the 35mm framelines. However, I'd rather include some extra elements that may be cropped out later than miss something that was inside the framelines. For this reason, I live with the extra space in the image outside of the 50mm lines, rather than guessing how far inside the 35mm lines it will actually capture.
 
I've found a similar situation with the 40mm Rokkor f2, which came with the Leica/Minolta CL. One of my favorite lenses, the 40mm used to live on my Leica M8 when I had it. I used the 35mm framelines for that lens, which matched the Rokkor 40's actually field of view quite well.
 
Overall I'd say the Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM is a decent lens. Mechanically, it's not up to Leica standards, at least at its current age. Optically, it does quite well. I'll probably not use it a lot on the M9 after this month, but it's a fun little piece to have on a screwmount film camera, for example. It's quirkiness only adds to the fun in that case.
 
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