Build standard of the 17mm f/4 MC W.Rokkor is excellent. The lens is of all metal construction and feels like it could take a beating.
The widest of Minolta’s rectilinear lenses, the 17mm boasts an astonishing 104 degree angle of view, making it a very handy lens for interior photography. It’s optical design comprises 11 elements in 9 groups, and it has a 72mm filter diameter. An extremely rare lens, it was exorbitantly expensive when new, and accordingly they are very thin on the ground. Expect to wait some time to find one if you are looking on ebay and the major online camera stores.
The 104 degree field of view enables some striking compositions.
The lens is often very difficult to use effectively due ito its incredibly wide angle of view. It’s use for landscapes is limited due to the extreme foreshortening effect that it introduces, making mountains seem tiny in the background. It is however, very useful for interior photos, and as the “poor man’s shift lens”, enabling photos of buildings to be taken without converging lines. This is achieved through keeping the film plane parallel to the building, and shooting in portrait orientation. Subsequently, you can simply crop the image to the desired area ensuring a great result.


This lens boasts the same famed floating element design that is also present in the 20mm f/2.8 and the 24mm f/2.8. The front element of the lens does rotate which may cause problems for the use of polaristion filters, however the use of a polariser with a lens this wide is problematic in the best circumstances.. The lens weighs 325g without a filter and exudes a feeling of quality, making it an absolute pleasure to use. The extreme foreshortening possible with this lens can also result in some great and creative shots

If you like wide angle lenses or have a need to shoot a lot of interiors the 17mm is a great lens. However, for ultra wide angle use I prefer the 16mm fisheye, and the 20mm f/2.8 is probably a more flexible lens for landscapes. Additionally, both the fisheye and the 20mm are more readily available, as the 17mm f/4 is quite a rare lens.