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Rokkor 58mm f1.2 Performance wide open?

Steve Allans , Apr 20, 2004; 12:44 a.m.

Are there any 58mm f1.2 users and is it sharp wide open. And is it noticably better than the 58mm 1.4? And is it good for shooting portraits? Alot of people say that 70mm+ is better for portraits.

thanks in advance!!!


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Brian Southward , Apr 20, 2004; 04:10 a.m.

You can shoot a portrait with any focal length. It's a matter of understanding the lens's perspective (=angle of view) and picking your position and the subject's pose. I have the 58mm f1.4 Rokkor and though I don't make a lot of portraits, this is a lens that would definitely be in the bag if I was going to. I wouldn't expect the f1.2 to be significantly better than the f1.4, except of course in respect of that extra half stop. The f1.4 is good wide open but better stopped down one stop, and I expect the same will be true of the f1.2.

Guy Mansford , Apr 20, 2004; 05:14 a.m.

The 58/1.4 is a brilliant lens and incredibly good value. I've had two and they were both the best lens I've ever used once stopped down to f2.0. I've also got the 58/1.2 and unless well stopped down it is awful - not sharp at all. I suspect I've got a bad example. For the price though it's no contest to me. As for focal length for portrait, most people prefer about 85mm and I would agree. With a head shot and a 58mm you are too close for comfort.

csab' józsa , Apr 20, 2004; 05:23 a.m.

Sharp or not, the f/1.2 version is considered a great lens for portraits by many. Not necessarily for that extra half stop of light; there's more to it. Check at www.rokkorfiles.com, there's a nice review over there about the lens, including some test shots. Also, it was a few times discussed here, on this forum. Cheers!

Frank Mueller , Apr 20, 2004; 02:07 p.m.

You will find a few reports out there stating that this lens is not sharp wide open. Well, no lens I am aware of is at its peak performance wide open, but part of the problem attributed to this lens might stem from the fact that DOF is extremely shallow at f1.2. Under standard portrait conditions, this could well mean that only one eye is in focus, whereas the rest of the face is already slightly blurred. Of course this can be used creatively - but only if your camera allows you to focus to this degree of accuracy! You are unlikely to know whether or not your camera has problems in this area, unless you have previously owned a f/1.2 lens. I believe Antony Hands (the author of the Rokkorfiles web site), had some of his cameras especially calibrated to allow him to work effectively with f/1.2 lenses wide open.

Christian Deichert , Apr 20, 2004; 02:43 p.m.

See below -- all shots taken with Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 58mm f/1.2 (later model, rubber focus grips and improved coatings) on Ilford Delta 3200 B&W print film rated @ 3200.

58mm @ f/1.2, 1/60th -- in a bar, Würzburg, Germany

58mm @ f/2, 1/60th -- in the hold of Die Norden, on the river near Lübeck, Germany

58mm @ f/1.2, 1/60th -- outside a wine bar, Vicenze, Italy

58mm @ f/2, 1/60th -- outside a wine bar, Vicenze, Italy

58mm @ f/1.2, 1/60th -- in the town square, Marostica, Italy

58mm @ f/2, 1/60th -- in the town square, Marostica, Italy

Obviously not pin-sharp, but I like the ability to take candid shots by available light without a flash.

Steve Allans , Apr 20, 2004; 03:26 p.m.

Any Guy(s) :) have samples from a 58/1.4 & 58/1.2 wide open or f2 or even f2.8? Shots such as the ones posted above in low low light without flash are my eventual goal.

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , Apr 20, 2004; 05:16 p.m.

Steve, I've been wondering about the exact same question for a while. I occasionally look at ebay to see whether I can snag a 58/1.2 then compare it to my 58/1.4. As to shots from a 1.4, if you would like me to send you some rather large files from it of tracked astrophotos, I believe these can give you a good idea of the lens's quality (superb at f/2.8 and higher). Let me know if you are interested (I think I uploaded one to a rather recent thread on this forum, too.)

As to whether 58mm makes a good pertrait lens, I recently took tight head shots of my kids with the 1.4 at near close focus. I did it on purpose cause I wanted to see the out of focus rendition and to see just what the faces would look like. Can you say fun house mirror? Suffice it to say that the lens can do what Christian showed you superbly; just don't use it for tight head shots!

jon sak , Apr 20, 2004; 10:10 p.m.

If you do not own one of these lenses I suggest you just stick with the 58mm f1.4 The MC version of this lens can be bought on ebay for $10 not including shipping. Plus if you are feeling adventurous you could try and buy a srt101 with the lense, resell the body and try to get to keep the F1.4 for free. I see the f1.4 mc version listed all the time with mechanical bodies and end up selling for around $20. It is usually becuse the seller does not specifcally state it is a MCf1.4 in the auction, so if they have a good picture a great deal can be snagged. On the other hand the MC f1.2 on ebay sells for around $150. Once I saw it sell for $80 but that was just blind luck. Retail sellers of used goods sell it for up to $300. I don't think the extra stops are worth the cost. The MC f1.2 on ebay costs 2/3 as much as my whole minolta slr system and the retail price costs more than that. On the other hand the MD f1.4 sells around $30-$40 on ebay, but if you are careful you can get it with a body for less and then resell the body.

After my two bits, I must say I own both and I have not seen any differnce in the pictures I take. But some other members may use the lenses for differnt stuff and may make a differnce. OH, and by the way I own a 50mm MC F2.0 and its a hair sharper than both the f1.2 and f1.4 set at f2.0

Steve Allans , Apr 21, 2004; 01:23 a.m.

Thanks everyone for the answers. So the consensus seems not much difference wide open, maybe the 1.4 is better even. Are there any lens tests graphs or comparison samples on the internet and it appears that the difference is not enough to justify the much higher cost. Thanks again. My portraits are waist up so it would not be a head crop.

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