Leica Showcase Minolta Chiyoko 13.5cm F4, Leica mount

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
This is an obscure lens, very little written about it. The 4-digit "3xxx" serial number puts it around 1948. Hard to tell production numbers, but probably a couple of thousand. More than the Nikkor 13.5cm F4, many less than the Canon 135 F4.

One of the best resources for Minolta Chiyoko lenses is on the Canon Rangefinder site recently put up:


The lens is listed as a 4 element in 3 groups, the same as most Sonnar formula 135mm lenses. On first inspection of this lens: the rear element is much closer to the image plane than a Sonnar. I'm fighting the urge to take it apart- this one is in near mint condition, no reason to take it apart. I'll look for one that is...

The rendering of the lens shows a fair bit of "swirlies", ie astigmatism. This is typical of symmetric lenses. The Minolta 11cm F5.6 is a four element in two group - I suspect the 13.5cm F4 is of a similar layout.

The close focus on this lens is limited to 8ft, similar to a J-11. Canon, Nikon, Leica, Komura, and most 135mm lenses in Leica mount get closer to 5ft. The Minolta uses 40mm filters, same as the 8.5cm F2.8 and many Canon RF lenses of the day. This lens is contemporary with the Canon 5cm F2, which also takes 40mm accessories.

Some quick test shots on the M9, wide-open.

Focus is spot-on with my M9.
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Colors are beautiful, Bokeh is "Swirly".
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I used a Walz hood designed for a 5cm Canon lens, not deep enough for this lens. I'll find my Series VI adapter for 40mm lenses and try a deep hood.

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The rendering of the primary colors is beautiful- the blue sky reminds me of an uncoated Zeiss 5cm F2 Sonnar.

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I'll have to take this lens and a few other 135's out. The 135 focal length is easily usable on a Rangefinder camera, used to be very popular. Most can be bought very cheap. This Minolta was $125 with case, caps, and dedicated viewfinder. I've bought LTM Nikkor 13.5cm F3.5's for well under $100. The J-11 in Leica mount- under $75. Worth looking for. Most Japanese 135's are Sonnar formula, this Minolta is an exception.
 

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