Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Minolta Chyoko 4.5cm f3.5 Rangefinder Lens Conversion Part II

This little lens is a pure joy to use.  The lens barrel is made of brass, so it's very dense and focuses like silk, after I re-lubed the helicoid.  This is one of the things you can not get from modern lenses, aside from Leica and few other exotic and expensive lenses that come out of Germany.  It does not contribute to the quality of images, but it sure makes creating images more pleasurable.

Obviously, a lens with an f3.5 maximum aperture is not a great low light shooter, but it has other desirable attributes that shine over the short comings of the slow-ish maximum aperture.  Bokeh is one of its strong suits, and I adore it.  It has not the smoothest bokeh in all situations, but it's distinctively enjoyable. With highlights, you can see a strong outline on the rings, which to some, is not a good attribute of smooth bokeh, but I like it.  Reminds of the same kind of effects from a Trioplan/Triplet lens.  It's visually bold, as compared to bokeh from a Planar or Sonnar. Your mileage may vary, of course.  You may hate it, or like me, you may like it a lot.

Most very old lenses aren't great when it comes to sharp corners at wide apertures, and this is one of these lenses.  It's by no means very bad, but stopped down to around f11-f16, it's quite respectable.  It won't win any sharpness contests, but definitely usable, especially with a bit of sharpening applied.

The 5-blade aperture gives a more star-like shape when stopping down than other lenses with vanilla 5-blade apertures; the blades are shaped differently, giving the shape a bit more pleasant appeal visually , to me at least.

So, if you overlook the slow maximum aperture, this is actually quite an enjoyable lens to use, and it makes images with nice bokeh.

All images below were taken with the Minolta Chyoko 4.5cm f3.5 & Sony A7:


  1. happy to hear fr you again. beautiful photos coming fr a resurrected lens. excited to see your next adventure on resurrected lenses. best regards.

    1. Thanks for your support, my friend! Appreciate your encouragements.

  2. What a coup! Its a lovely lens to be sure. I turned to MF lenses about 6-8mths ago and haven't used an AF one since. Using MF has brought much pleasure something that has been missing in my photography. Yours is a very enjoyable and informative site. I expect to revisit often. Thank you for sharing. Cheers.