Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Review (M-Rokkor for Leica!)

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Review (Leica Summicron Alternative!) + YouTube

If you love the idea of buying a Leica Summicron lens but the price is above your budget then keep reading. The Minolta-M Rokkor 40mm f2 lens is near identical to the Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2 lens. The Minolta 40mm f2 lens also comes for a fraction of the price of a Summicron 35mm lens!

Minolta 40mm Review - Blog Cover Photo
Leica CL digital + Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait

Unplanned discovery of the 40mm Minolta lens!

I hadn’t planned to buy the Minolta 40mm Rokkor lens for Leica M mount.  It was a purchase fueled by photography GAS (gear acquisition syndrome!) when I was looking at the highly regarded Leica Summicron 35mm f2 lens.  Summicron 35mm lenses are crazy expensive and I didn’t want to spend that much money.  I saw the size of the Leica Summicron 40mm f2 lens and the much lower price tag and I was immediately interested.  I headed over to Flickr to find examples of this lens and reviews seems very positive.  

Leica Summicron 40mm vs 35mm 

The verdict online seems to be that the Summicron- C 40mm isn’t quite as good as the 35mm Summicron lens but the 40mm offers exceptional value for money.   The 40mm Summicron is said to be the smallest Leica M lens but I’m not sure that holds true.  Collapsible lenses like the Leica Elmar M is smaller when collapsed.  Some Leica LTM lenses are also smaller and other brands made small lenses such as the Voigtlander Skopar lenses (M mount and LTM mount)(examples – Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 lens / Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens) and Canon LTM lenses.

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Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm vs Summicron 40mm

If you come to buy the Leica Summicron 40mm f2 lens you will find there are 3 similar versions.  The Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2, the Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2 version 1 and the Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm version 2.  Optically I understand that all 3 lenses are identical but the Minolta 40mm later version is said to have better lens coatings.

Minolta CLE 40mm lens or Minolta CL 40mm lens

The version 2 of the lens was the Minolta CLE 40mm lens whereas the version 1 was the Minolta CL 40mm lens. Better coatings makes the Minolta 40mm v2 less prone to flare (unlike the Leica Summicron and Minolta v1).  For this reason I purchased a later copy of the Minolta 40mm.  

Great Value! Minolta 40mm lens on eBay

Being non Leica branded the Minolta lenses also often sell for less than their Leica sibling.  That works for me!  I called myself MrLeica.com some years ago but I’m not loyal to any one brand. I just try to use the best cameras and lenses I can afford regardless of the name.

Check the latest prices on eBay

Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait
Leica CL digital + Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait

Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2 lens 

If you are a loyal Leica brand only shooter then you might prefer the Leica badged version. If you search online for the Leica Summicron C 40mm lens you will find it is particularly affordable for a Leica Summicron lens (and tiny!). It is almost unbelievably cheap when you see the cost of a Leica 35mm Summicron lens.

40mm Viewfinder

If you use a Leica M film camera you will know that these cameras do not have 40mm framelines. To get around this I use a 40mm hotshoe viewfinder. See the YouTube video embedded below for a visual.

Camera with 40mm Framelines

If you want a film camera with 40mm framelines “build in” to the viewfinder then check out these two cameras –

minolta m-rokkor 40mm + Leica CL
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Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait Examples – Digital

Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2
Leica + Rokkor 40mm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2
Leica M240 + Rokkor 40mm
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Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm Sample Photos – Film

Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400
35mm Leica CL + Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait
35mm Leica CL Film Portrait
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Summary of the Minolta 40mm Rokkor M f2 lens

This compact lightweight affordable lens for Leica M mount offers excellent value for money. It seems a bit of a forgotten gem in the Leica lens option line up. I would have bought the Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 lens in my early Leica days if I knew it existed back then. The size and weight makes this a perfect travel lens. I’ve been really happy with it so far both for shooting film and digital.

YouTube: Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Review

Related Leica Posts

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Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review + (Nokton 40mm f1.4)

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review + (Nokton 40mm f1.4)

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review  – Photo with Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens

My new camera has arrived! A nearly new Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangerfinder 35mm film camera, together with the amazing Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens.  This little 40mm manual focus lens that single handedly taught me photography (when using it on my Lumix G1) and later was the reason I became “MrLeica” (The Voigtlander 40mm was also the reason I bought my first digital Leica camera!)

See here for examples of me using the lens on my old Panasonic Lumix G1 in 2010 – https://mrleica.com/voigtlander-40mm/

YouTube: Voigtlander Bessa R3A vs Leica M6

YouTube: Voigtlander Bessa R3A – Film Loading

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portraits

My latest purchase has arrived. The Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm rangefinder film camera with it’s Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens.

First thoughts:

Voigtlander Bessa R3A – It is tiny compared to Mamiya RZ67 ProII! Very solid and feels well made. Simple layout/controls with a modern looking LCD viewfinder that I was not expecting. I am more accustom to focusing through lens cameras than rangefinders so I was a little worried whether I would be able to do my shallow DOF model photography at f1.4 accurately. For those that have not tried a rangefinder camera the main differences are you cannot see the DOF you are shooting and if your subject is off centre you have to focus in the centre square first by overlaying the two images and then recompose and try not to move the camera plane of focus.

Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens – I’ve used a copy of this lens in the past on a Panasonic Lumix G1 when I first started out with my photography. (See post and examples here). I was gutted when I could not bring it with me to Nikon. I had great memories of using this lens so was super excited when it came as standard on the Bessa. As my last post suggests it was literally like being reunited with an old friend. The lens is compact, oozes quality and good workmanship and looks great. I knew this lens gave a unique look to photographs particularly due to the ‘lively’ bokeh so I was very keen to get it back.

Here are some samples of photos scanned so far from the first roll of 35mm Kodak T-Max 100 film put through the camera self developed in a brew of Xtol and Rodinal. I used it on two model photography shoots to give the models something different and hopefully special for their model portfolios.

Models; Harriett (in hat) & Emily.

Voigtlander Classic 40mm F1.4
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4
Unmistakeable..

Photos taken in France; Matilda; Paulina
Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait
Rangefinder Film Portrait

Voigtlander Bessa R3A - Model Photography

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait

Models; Josie, Emily

Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Portrait

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait

I will add to the post as I scan more images so feel free to check back in a week or two.

In addition to model photography I plan to use it for wedding photography. I literally cannot wait for my next couples big day who have opted for a full day of black and white wedding photography. This and in particular black and white film photography is my big passion so I will be in my element. 🙂

Getting Creative with the Voigtlander Bessa R3A!

Film photography sample using Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm rangefinder & Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens. (Self developed Kodak T-Max 100 film).

Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm Colour Film Photography

I shot a few rolls of Fuji C200 cheap 35mm colour film on my Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder over the summer. Here is the first sample taking with my Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens (the lens that comes with the Bessa R3A as standard)(Great lens!).

I saw the afternoon sun spilling into our french cottage through the open front door so I had to get a photo.

I will add more samples to this post as I scan the negatives.

Bessa R3A + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4

Bessa R3A + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4

Taken using some cheap 35mm Fuji 200 film I acquired.

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE