50mm Lens for Maxxum...Which one is best?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. For those of you with Maxxum experience, which 50mm is the best in terms of sharpness and AF speed? I've seen the 50/1.4, the 50/1.7, and the "XX" 50mm. Which is the best of all these, and what's the significance of the "XX" branding on that particular 50/1.7 lens(if there is any significance)?
  2. The XX branding was part of the orginal Maxxum marking. Exxon (who already had the overlapping XX) sued Minolta successfully so Minolta dropped the designation. The early 50mm lenses (both 1.7 and 1.4) had more metal in the barrels than the later "i series". Optically the f1.7 was unchanged. The last f1.4 lenses took 55mm rather than 49mm filters. Supposedly the design was tweaked a bit to improve wide-open performance. I did read one test report on fast 50's that confirmed the improved performance, but I wouldn't rely on just one test report since the last versions seem to go for a bit more. Theoretically the f1.4 should focus faster in low light since it takes in more light, but under normal lighting a f1.7 and f1.4 of the same vintage should focus about the same. When Minolta labeled existing designs as "i series" some improvement in AF was noted. I think the camera's AF makes the biggest difference.
  3. Thanks, Mike. I will keep all of this in mind when choosing a 50mm.
  4. By most (maybe not all) accounts, the last version of the 50mm f/1.4, which has the 55mm filter threads, is the best optically. However, the general wisdom is that while the "restyled" or 'i' lenses have revised gearing that makes them focus somewhat faster, they are not quite as sturdily built--which makes sense, faster movement requiring higher forces therefore more wear and tear. If you want the best fast 50mm, though, and you shoot with a Maxxum 7 or one of the Maxxum 9's that's been upgraded for SSM, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM might be it.

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