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Minolta Rokkor Rangefinder Lenses

super_rokkor_45mm_f2-8_1948.jpg
Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 of 1948 (note window opening for f-stop) versus lens of 1954

Minolta Interchangable Thread Mount Rangefinder Lenses

chiyoko_symbol.jpg
"Chiyoko" contraction of "Chiyoda Kogaku".

rokkor_35mm_f3_5_rf_lens.jpg
Rokkor 35mm f3.5 wide angle lens of 1956 first multi-layer achromatic coated Japanese lens

Minolta-35 Lenses

The Minolta-35, Chiyoda Kogaku's first 35mm camera was introduced in 1947 with the now famous 45mm f2.8 Super Rokkor LTM lens.  This 45mm f2.8 lens was standard on the Minolta-35 for the next 8 years.  It was marked with Minolta's "Rokkor" lens name as well as "Chiyoko", a phonetic contraction of Chiyoda Kogaku".  "Rokkor" refers to the Rokkor or Rokko mountains near the Osaka (Mukogawa factory) manufacturing location.

Minolta-35 Lens Mount:

Unlike the leading Japanese rangefinder camera at that time (Canon), the Minolta lens mount was an exact copy of the Leica 39mm diameter mount, with a standard 1mm screw pitch, referred to by some as the "universal" mount.  (Canon's evolution of lens mounts is described in the link, below.)

Lens Selection:

The Rokkor lens selection for the Minolta-35 was somewhat limited when compared with other leading 35mm rangefinder ranges of the period.  For example, as far as is known from present research, no lens wider that 28mm was offered.  Also, fast lens formulations of f2.0 were not generally offered.  Even a fast 50mm formulation of f2.0 or f1.8 was not offered until 1955. 

However, one innovation was with the 35mm f3.5 lens, which was the first lens manufactured in Japan with multi-coating achromatic lens coating, introduced in 1956.  Minolta in its historical site claims the first multi-coated achromatic lense coating in the world for its twin lens reflex cameras of the early 1950's,  The 35mm f3.5 with achromatic coating apparently did not sell particularly well, since even in 1956, a maximum aperature of f3.5 was considered slow.

Unusual Characteristics of Rokkor rangefinder lenses:

There were a number of somewhat eccentric decisions made in the Minolta Rokkor 39mm mount lenses.  One area relates to camera lens filter size.  Although the Rokkor 85mm f2.8, the Rokkor 110mm f5.6 and the Rokkor 135mm f4.0 use 40mm screw-in filters, the early version of the 50mm f2.0, the 50mm f2.8 and the 28mm f3.5 Rokkor lenses use 40.5mm filters. 

The standard lens supplied with Minolta-35 cameras from 1947 to about 1955, the 40mm f2.8 used a 34mm filter.  Also, the inner ring surrounding the front lens element of this lens has threading for a 21.5mm filter.   Beginning in 1955 with the Model II (b), the 50mm f2.8 with a 40.5 mm filter size began to be routinely offered. 

The unusual focal length 110mm f5.6 Tele Rokkor was produced in a chrome body with black head ring and black f-stop and focusing rings, and also in an all chrome body (apparently rarer than the black/chrome version) as shown in the illustration below.

The 135mm f4.0 Tele Rokkor was also produced in both black/chrome and all chrome versions, as shown from the Japanese camera advertisement, below, from the period.

Rokkor SLR lens formulations in LTM:

Not listed in the table below are certain Minolta SLR lenses that were apparently offered in LTM, but without rangefinder coupling.  One such lens, seen occasionally for sale is the Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5. 

Click here to read more about lens mounts and the evolution of the Canon Rangefinder Lens Mounts

Lens Description
Year
Elements/Groups
Apertures
Filter Size
28mm f3.5
1954?
6 / 4
f3.5 - f22
40.5 mm
35mm f 3.5
May, 1956 in a two layer, multicoated form the first Japanese multicoated lens.
4 / 3 early multicoated;
first achromatic multi-layer lens coating in Japan
f3.5 - f22
34mm
35mm f 1.8
1957?
6 / 4
f1.8 - f22
46mm
45mm f2.8
1947
5 / 3
f2.8 - f16
34mm / 21.5mm
50mm f2.8
1955
Offered on Minulta-35 Model II (a) and (b)
5 / 3
f2.8 - f22
40.5mm
50mm f2.0
1955
Offered on Minulta-35 Model II (a) and (b)
7 / 4
f2.0 - f22
40mm

50mm f1.8

1956
Standard on Minolta-35 Model IIB

6 / 5

f1.8 - f16

46mm

50mm f1.4 in M mount
1957 prototype for the Minolta Sky rangefinder
6 / 5
f1.4 - f16
48mm
85mm f2.8
circa 1950
Available in both black and chrome and all-chrome versions.
5 / 3
f2.8 - f16
40mm
100mm f3.5
circa 1956
 
5 / 3
f3.5 - f22
34mm
110mm f5.6
circa 1950
Available in both black and chrome and all-chrome versions.
3 / 3
f5.6 - f22
34mm
135mm f4.5
1947?
4 / 3
f4.5 - f32
40mm
135mm f4.0
circa 1949
4 / 3
f4.0 - f32
40mm

rokkor_qf_35mm_f1-8.jpeg
Rokkor 35mm f1.8 - circa 1957

2x-super_rokkor_50mm1.8._re.jpg
Super Rokkor 50mm f1.8 - 1956

rokkor_85mm_f28_s.jpg
Tele Rokkor 85mm f2.8 telephoto all chrome version - circa 1950

tele_rokkor_100mm_f3-5.jpeg
Tele Rokkor 100mm f3.5 - circa 1956

minolta_85mm_finder.jpg
Minolta 85mm finder

minolta_a_100mm.jpg
Tele Rokkor 100mm f3.8 version for Minolta A with finder

Japanese Advertisement circe 1950
minolta35_l_ad_s.jpg
Shows the black and chome version of the Tele Rokkors 135mm f4.0 and 110mm f5.6

rokkor_110_56_silver_black.jpg
Tele Rokkor 110mm f5.6 all-chrome and black/chrome versions - circa 1950

minolta_110mm_finder.jpg
Minolta 110mm finder

minolta_135mm_lenses.jpg
Tele Rokkor 135mm f4.5 of 1956 (for Model A) and 135mm f4.0 of 1948 with 135mm Minolta finder

super_rokkor_50mm_f2.jpg
Super Rokkor 50mm f2.0 - circa 1952

super_rokkor_50mm_f28.jpg
Super Rokkor 50mm f2.8 - circa 1955

Click here to see Minolta rangefinder cameras

minolta-35_model_1c.jpg

 

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