The first of the 'ultra-wide' angle lenses, the 24mm f/2.8.
With an 84 degree angle of view, the 24mm is effectively the widest of the lenses that are really suited to landscape photography. The extreme depth of field that is possible with lenses of this focal length enable some amazing shots, with objects in the immediate foreground in sharp focus together with the horizon. In fact, if shooting landscapes at 24mm the photographer almost has to have an object of interest (rocks, bush, flower etc) in the foreground, or the grandeur of the view is lost in the wide angle.

Despite it’s limitations as detailed above, this is probably my most used lens. Constructed of 9 elements in 7 groups, it incorporates a floating element design for incredible sharpness and detail. With negligible distortion and such amazing resolution, it demands to be in my camera bag every time I leave on a shoot. My version is the MD W.Rokkor-X version (the “W” stands for “Wide”) and accordingly it has the best of all worlds, with the most advanced coatings plus the MD “dynamically balanced aperture blades”, but without the later proliferation of plastic parts. The only drawback of the 24mm f/2.8 is the rotating front filter thread, which can cause difficulties when using a polarising filter.

This photo was taken as a 30 second exposure on a very windy night, with a Cokin A125 graduated tobacco filter. Despite these obstacles, the sharpness of the image is extraordinary. I have this photo on my wall enlarged to 16 x 24 inches with absolute clarity.

A 100% crop from the centre of the above image.

This is a lens that I would unhesitatingly recommend to any Minolta Manual Focus user. It is just wide enough to enable striking photos to be taken, taking advantage of the foreshortening effect of wider angle lenses. Additionally, it was a popular focal length for advanced amateurs, meaning that despite its relatively high price at the time, the lenses are readily available now for a reasonable price.

A 100% crop from the corner of the image


Finally, it is one of the sharpest lenses that I have ever encountered, and the shots that I have taken with this lens have been enlarged to a staggering 16x24 inches without any apparent loss of sharpness - they truly have to be seen to be believed.

These crops were taken from a 100% image of 3072 x 2048 pixels (approx 2200 dpi) and accordingly the negative is actually sharper than shown here. A 4000 or 5400 dpi scanner would be needed to get the maximum resolution from this magnificent lens.


This was one lens to be changed significantly by Minolta for the the 3rd generation version. The lens switched from a 55mm to a 49mm filter thread, and from 9 elements in 7 groups to 8 elements in 8 groups. While I am not familiar with the performance of the new optical formula, I have been advised by other users that the performance of the later lens is similarly good, which would be expected given it retained the “floating” element construction.