Nikon noct nikkor 58mm f1.2 vs Minolta MC 58mm f1.2 Rokkor-PG fast vintage lenses test.
The world of vintage lenses is both exciting and vast, offering photographers the opportunity to step back in time and experience a different era of optics. Among the many gems that have stood the test of time, two standout performers have caught the attention of photographers and collectors alike: the Nikon Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 and the Minolta MC 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor-PG. Both are revered for their unique characteristics, but how do they compare? Let’s delve deep into the world of these vintage legends.
1. Historical Significance
Nikon Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2: Introduced in 1977, this lens was named after the term “Nocturnal” and was particularly designed to counteract the coma and spherical aberration seen in wide apertures during nighttime photography. Its ultra-fast f/1.2 aperture made it a go-to for astro-photographers and those needing optimal performance in low-light scenarios.
Minolta MC 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor-PG: Introduced in the early 1970s, the Minolta 58mm f/1.2 was part of the Minolta SR system. Though not specifically tailored for night photography like the Noct-Nikkor, its wide aperture made it a darling for those seeking shallow depth of field and low-light capabilities.
2. Build Quality
Both lenses hail from an era where build quality was paramount. Metal construction, hefty weight, and smooth focusing rings are characteristic features of these lenses.
Nikon: The Noct-Nikkor feels solid in hand, exuding a sense of durability. The focusing ring is buttery smooth, aiding in precise focus—especially important given its shallow depth of field.
Minolta: Similarly, the Rokkor-PG feels robust, though it might be slightly heavier than the Nikon. Its manual focus ring, while smooth, might feel slightly stiffer than its Nikon counterpart.
3. Optical Performance
Nikon: The Noct-Nikkor was specifically designed to minimize aberrations at wide apertures. Even at f/1.2, it displays minimal coma, making stars appear as tight points rather than ‘bird-wings’. It provides excellent sharpness in the center, with softness gradually appearing as you move to the corners.
Minolta: The Rokkor-PG provides a dreamy quality at f/1.2, with a characteristic glow. When stopped down to f/2 or f/2.8, it sharpens considerably. It may not handle aberrations as well as the Noct-Nikkor, but its rendering can be more pleasing to those who prefer a vintage, soft-focus look.
Bokeh, the quality of the out-of-focus areas, is a significant factor for many photographers when choosing a lens.
Nikon: The Noct-Nikkor’s bokeh is creamy and smooth, with a beautiful transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas. This is further enhanced by its 9-blade diaphragm which ensures round out-of-focus highlights even when stopped down.
Minolta: The Rokkor-PG, on the other hand, offers a distinct and swirling bokeh that adds a unique character to the images. Its 6-blade diaphragm might render out-of-focus highlights with a hexagonal shape when stopped down, but at wide apertures, the bokeh is soft and dreamy.
5. Price and Availability
Being legendary lenses from the past, both are not easy to come by, and when they do appear in the market, they command high prices due to their rarity and demand.
Nikon: The Noct-Nikkor, given its niche appeal and specialized design, often fetches higher prices. Collectors and astro-photographers, in particular, are always on the hunt for this lens.
Minolta: While still expensive, the Rokkor-PG is somewhat more accessible in comparison to the Nikon. However, as with all vintage lenses, prices can vary based on condition and rarity.
Choosing between the Nikon Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 and the Minolta MC 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor-PG is not merely about comparing specs—it’s about personal preference and the kind of imagery one wishes to create.
For the technically inclined, the Noct-Nikkor might be the preferred choice due to its outstanding correction of aberrations and sharpness. Those into astrophotography would undoubtedly lean towards the Nikon.
On the other hand, if one desires a lens with character, with that unique vintage glow and swirling bokeh, the Minolta Rokkor-PG is an enticing option.
Both lenses stand as testaments to the optical prowess of their respective manufacturers. Whether you’re a collector or a photographer, owning either is a nod to the golden era of manual photography.
Thanks to Diy extravaganza for the great video.