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!
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.
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
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.
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 Rokkor 40mm Portrait Examples – Digital
Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm Sample Photos – Film
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
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