On the left is the 2nd generation 28mm f/2.8 MD W.Rokkor-X, on the right the optically identical 28mm f/2.8 MD.

With a 75 degree angle of view, the 28mm lens is an extraordinarily popular focal length, perfect for scenic landscapes and still wide enough to achieve striking perspective when used effectively. The 28mm f/2.8 version is probably the most readily available wide angle lens for the Minolta system. Sold in the tens of thousands, the 28mm f/2.8 provided sound optical performance at a reasonable price. Minolta made a slower f/3.5 version of this lens which has a poor reputation, as well as a highly sought after f/2 version which included a floating element design for increased performance.

All three lenses were available with a 55mm filter thread as MD 1st generation lenses, before being redesigned with a 49mm filter thread and plastic aperture ring for the 2nd generation. Later they were once again completely redesigned for the MD 3rd generation series. Over their lives the different 28mm lenses also experienced changes to their optical construction, with the f/2.8 and f/3.5 versions moving from a 7 element in 7 groups design to a 5 elements in 5 groups construction.


One of very few photos I took with my example of the 28mm f/2.8 W.Rokkor-X. I found it difficult to include in my bag as I was used to shooting with the 35mm f/1.8 and 24mm f/2.8, and didn't really need the intermediate length.

Atrium at the National Gallery of Victoria. Exposure calculated with Minolta Auto Spot II Digital. Note the apparent flare on the right side.


The 28mm focal length is a handy length for the landscape photographer, wide enough to fit in an expanse of scenery, but not so wide that the grandeur and details of the scene are diminished by the effect of perspective. With the MD f/2.8 version (in its various incarnations) readily available on Ebay for around US$60 there is no excuse not to have one, and similarly, no excuse to get the poorer performing f/3.5 version. Camera store prices for the f/2.8 version are normally around the US$100 mark, depending upon condition.

I rarely used my 28mm, mainly because I was used to working with 35mm and 24mm focal lengths, and found it hard to justify putting another wide angle in my bag when I could only carry a limited amount of gear. It has now been replaced by the 28mm f/2 in my collection (preferred by me due to the floating design and 55mm filter thread), but it has moved on to take many fine photographs for one of my close friends. Given my limited use of the lens I cannot really comment upon the sharpness of it, but I have participated in discussions on this subject at several Minolta discussion groups and the consensus is that it is a very good, but not stellar performer. That said, if your current wide angle is the bottom end of a zoom, you can expect this lens to provide improved results visible even in a standard 6x4 print.

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