Minolta | X-370S | Minolta History 1

Minolta
From Camerapedia.org
Minolta (ミミミミ, minoruta) was a Japanese company that, under one name or another, manufactured cameras from 1929 to 2003. It produced cameras for
virtually all film formats, even its own 16mm miniature film format. In the 1950s Chiyoda, as it was then called, ventured beyond production of cameras and
binoculars into business services, especially photocopiers. Most branches of the company were related to optics: the copier branch, the exposure meter branch, etc.
Minolta was succeeded by Konica Minolta after the merger with Konica in 2003.
Contents
1 Minolta History
1.1 1929–1970
1.2 Cooperation with Leitz
1.3 Automation
1.4 Konica joins Minolta
1.5 Too Little, Too Late ...
2 Minolta Digital Cameras
2.1 Minolta DSLR Cameras (with interchangeable lenses)
2.2 Minolta Digital Cameras with Fixed Lenses (non-interchangeable, but all with auto focus zoom lenses)
3 Minolta 35mm film Cameras
3.1 Minolta Autofocus 35mm SLR (Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum AF)
3.2 Minolta Manual Focus 35mm SLR (SR, SR T and X-series)
3.3 Minolta Rangefinder 35mm Film Cameras with interchangeable lens
3.4 Minolta Rangefinder 35mm Film Cameras with fixed-mount lens
3.5 Minolta Viewfinder 35mm Film Cameras
3.6 Minolta Compact 35mm Film Cameras
4 Minolta APS Film Cameras
4.1 Minolta APS Film SLR Cameras
4.2 Minolta APS Film Compact Cameras
5 Minolta 120 Film Cameras
5.1 Minolta 4.5x6 Folding Cameras
5.2 Minolta 6x6 Collapsible Camera
5.3 Minolta 6x6 TLR Twin Lens Reflex Cameras
6 Minolta 127 Film Cameras
6.1 Minolta 4x6.5 folding
6.2 Minolta 4x6.5 Collapsible Cameras
6.3 Minolta 4x4 TLR Twin Lens Reflex Camera
7 Minolta Plate Film Cameras
7.1 Minolta 6.5x9 Folding Bed Cameras
7.2 Minolta 6.5x9 Strut Folding Cameras
8 Minolta 16mm Film Cameras
8.1 Minolta 16mm Film SLR Cameras
8.2 Minolta 16mm Film Subminiature Cameras
9 Minolta Disc Film Cameras
10 Minolta 110 Film Cameras
10.1 Minolta 110 Film SLR Cameras
10.2 Minolta 110 Film Pocket/Compact Cameras
11 Minolta 126 Film Cameras
12 Minolta Instant Film Cameras
13 Minolta Bibliography
14 Minolta Links
Minolta History
Minolta, although once counted among the "big five", has often been thought of as a second-ranking camera manufacturer in
the photography world, a step below Nikon and Canon. But it has sometimes been in the first rank.
The Minolta SRT 101 was the world's best selling camera of its type in its time, as were the Minolta X-700 and the Minolta
7000. For five years beginning in 1985 Minolta was the biggest seller of SLR cameras in the world. The reason for this
dominance was the release of its Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum system; the world's first "in-body" autofocus SLR. Before this time
manufacturers had dabbled with lenses that focused themselves but that fitted their existing, manual-focus SLR cameras.
Minolta was the first manufacturer to put the mechanism and electronics for the autofocus system into its SLR camera bodies
and so the modern SLR was born. (Konica had been the first to put autofocus into a 35mm camera, but it was a fixed lens "compact" camera; and Polaroid had
been the first to put autofocus into an SLR camera, but it neither was 35mm nor was an interchangeable lens design.)
1929–1970
This huge success was not foreseeable in 1928, when Kazuo Tashima founded Nichidoku Shashinki Shōten (ミミミミミミミ, Nippo-German Camera Shop). Indeed
Tashima got support from the German camera technicians Billy Neumann and Willy Heilemann, and the first cameras needed parts and lenses from German
manufacturers. In 1929 the company had managed to produce the first models of its Nifcalette camera series.
In 1931 the company was transformed into a stock corporation named Molta (ミミミミミミミ, Moruta Gōshi Kaisha), an abbreviation of Mechanismus Optik und
Linsen von Tashima ("Mechanism, Optics and Lenses from Tashima"). The name Minolta was first used in 1933, for the Minolta I (or plain "Minolta"), a copy of
the Plaubel Makina I. This was ostensibly from "Machinery and Instruments Optical by Tashima" but is more likely a backronym, inspired by (i) minoru ta (ミミ
ミ), "ripening rice-fields" (a strong image of health and fruitfulness in Japan, and in Japanese pronounced identically to "Minolta"), and (ii) "Molta" itself. The
company name and brand name would differ until 1962. In 1934 the Minolta Vest was the first Minolta which differed from average camera designs. In 1936
Minolta's first reflex camera appeared, the Minolta Flex for 60×60mm film.
The company name was again changed in 1937, to Chiyoda Kōgaku (ミミミミミミミミミミミ, Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō kabushiki kaisha, Chiyoda Optics and
Precision Industry Co Ltd), sometimes abbreviated Chiyoko. in the same year, Chiyoda began manufacturing its own lenses. During the world war it also
produced cameras for aerial reconnaissance photography. The company's first big innovation after the war was a small item, the first camera for its own 16mm
miniature film format, the Konan-16.
In 1957 Chiyoda began to produce planetarium projection apparatus, optical machines which project all the visible stars of the night sky onto the ceilings of
planetarium halls. In 1958 it took the first step towards its success with SLR cameras in the mid-80s by introducing its first 35mm SLR camera SR-2, the first one
to combine several features of the modern SLR like pentaprism viewfinder, smooth mirror mechanics, easily exchangeable lenses, easy film transport etc. In 1959
Chiyoda started to produce photocomposing machines, copiers, and special projectors. Some of these activities (like copiers) are kept up nowadays by its successor
Konica Minolta, although this has given up the photo business. In 1962 the company name became Minolta Camera Company (ミミミミミミミミミミミ Minoruta
Kamera kabushiki kaisha), unified with the brand name.
Cooperation with Leitz
Before the era of the Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum SLRs, Minolta had a new phase of cooperation with German experts, and signed a cooperation agreement with Leitz
in 1972. The first products resulting from this appeared in 1974: the Minolta XE SLR and the Leica CL rangefinder camera (sold in Japan as the Leitz Minolta
CL). The XE was the basis for the 1977 Leica R3. The final result of the association with Leitz was the Minolta XD-11 (the same as XD-7, and the basis of the
Leica R4). It was the first 35mm SLR camera combining both aperture priority and shutter priority automatic exposure modes. Many Rokkor lenses of the new
MD series, usable in both automatic modes, were produced for this exciting camera.
In 1981, Minolta launched the CLE, a rangefinder camera with M-mount, the first one to have (aperture-priority) automatic exposure. The metering system was of
the "TTL OTF" type (through the lens, reflected off the film), first introduced by Olympus in 1975 on the OM-2 SLR camera. The CLE was also the first Minolta
camera to have TTL flash automation, together with the X-700 SLR introduced the same year.
Automation
The Minolta 7000 camera remains an icon of the 80s; however, Minolta did not hang on to its technological lead for long and Canon and Nikon fought to regain
their positions as market leaders. By the 90s Minolta was back to its former underdog status. Minolta offered a large line of products from the most basic to the
most "serious" of cameras. Among camera aficionados Minolta was known for its very high price/performance ratio.
Minolta continued to innovate. After popularizing the plastic-bodied, push-button-controlled SLR with the AF 7000, it moved towards a more traditional user
interface in the mid-90s with the 600si Classic. The "Classic" name indicates a move back to knobs and dials and away from buttons and menus - as had always
been on the Minolta 9000, by the way, even in 1985, the height of computerized push-button camera introductions. Photographers applauded this return to a logical
control layout that allowed them to directly see settings on clearly visible knobs, and didn't require the memorizing of pages from the manual. This interface was
carried forward into its popular pro-level Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum 9 and later 7. Similar control layouts were adopted by other manufacturers, but none
matched the completeness of Minolta's direct-read-out knob-control offering.
With the DiMage X, Minolta solved the problem of the protruding optical zoom lens on pocket digicams. Its folded lens design allows an optical zoom lens to be
totally contained within the body of the camera. This makes the cameras that use this design truly pocketable, faster to turn on and better protected from knocks
and damage.
Minolta has been criticized for its slowness to bring out a modern digital SLR camera compatible with the A-mount lenses. In late November 2004, the new
Konica Minolta company finally released the much anticipated Konica Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum 7D Digital SLR and the innovation continued. What sets
the 7D DSLR apart from the competition is the built-in image stabilization which works with any electronic autofocus lens attached to the camera body.
Konica joins Minolta
In October 2003 Minolta merged (http://kmpi.konicaminolta.us/eprise/main/kmpi/content/cam/cam_News/cam_NewsDetail/Konica_Minolta_Merger/) with
Konica to form Konica Minolta. All new cameras after that time were badged as Konica Minolta, although, with reference to camera designs, Minolta remained
the dominant partner.
Too Little, Too Late ...
As of spring 2006, Konica Minolta has withdrawn from the camera business (http://konicaminolta.com/releases/2006/0119_03_01.html) entirely. The digital
camera manufacturing assets have been acquired by Sony, but film camera production is ceasing, and the film and mini-lab divisions are set to close within a year.
Konica Minolta now is solely a business servicer with no photo division.
Minolta Digital Cameras
Minolta DSLR Cameras (with interchangeable lenses)
RD-175 using standard Minolta A-mount autofocus lenses
RD-3000 using the Minolta V-mount lenses of the Vectis APS SLR
newer cameras, see Konica Minolta (Dynax/Maxxum 5D and Dynax/Maxxum 7D)
Minolta Digital Cameras with Fixed Lenses (non-interchangeable, but all with auto focus zoom lenses)
Minolta and Konica Minolta use the Dimage nameplate on all the fixed lens digital cameras.
Minolta DiMage V
Minolta DiMage 5
Minolta Dimage 7
Minolta Dimage 7Hi
Minolta Dimage 7i
Minolta Dimage F300
Minolta Dimage Xt
Minolta Dimage E323
newer cameras, see Konica Minolta
Minolta 35mm film Cameras
Minolta Autofocus 35mm SLR (Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum AF)
The Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum (Alpha in Japan and China, Maxxum in the Americas, Dynax in Europe, Africa and Asia) is a line of
35mm film SLR cameras built from 1985 to 2000 - some "new old stock" may still be available. The lenses and flash accessories for these are
not compatible with the previous Minolta SR, SR T, and X-series of manual focus 35mm film SLR cameras, lenses and flashes.
Many of these models are alternatively labeled Alpha, Dynax or Maxxum and only a few model numbers are location-specific where an
equivalent model number in another area of distribution uses another model number:
Minolta Minolta Dynax
Minolta Maxxum
Minolta Alpha release date
5000 AF
5000
5000
1986
7000
7000
1985
7000 AF
9000
9000
1985
9000 AF
3000i
3000i
3700i
1989
5000i
5000i
5700i
1989
7000i
7000i
7700i
1988
8000i
8000i
8700i
1990
2xi
2xi
90ies
3xi
3xi
3xi
1991
5xi
5xi
5xi
1992
7xi
7xi
7xi
1991
9xi
9xi
9xi
1992
300si
300si/350si/RZ 300si/RZ 330si 101si
90ies
303si
QTsi
360si
90ies
404si
STsi
Sweet S
90ies
500si
400si/450si/RZ 400si/RZ 430si 303si
90ies
500si Super
500si/RZ 530si
303si Super
90ies
505si
HTsi
90ies
505si Super
XTsi
Sweet
90ies
600si
600si
507si
90ies
650si
700si
800si
SPxi
STsi
3L
3/4
30/40
5
60
7
9
9Ti
700si
800si
SPsi
3
4
50
5
70
7
9
707si
807si
9
90ies
1993
90ies
90ies
90ies
200.
200.
200.
200.
200.
200.
90ies
90ies
If anyone knows of additional models and or knows which of these are equivalent across the Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum divide, please pitch in! Note that early models
were also named "AF".
Minolta Manual Focus 35mm SLR (SR, SR T and X-series)
Minolta SR-2
Minolta SR-1
Minolta SR-1s
Minolta SR-3
Minolta SR-7
Minolta SR-M
Minolta ER
Minolta SRT 101
Minolta SRT 100
Minolta SRT Super (Japan), SRT 102 (USA), SRT 303 (Europe)
Minolta SRT MC
Minolta SRT SC
Minolta SRT 200 (USA), SRT 100b (Europe)
Minolta SR 101 (Japan), SRT 201 (USA), SRT 101b (Europe)
Minolta SR 505 (Japan), SRT 202 (USA), SRT 303b (Europe)
Minolta SRT 100X
Minolta SRT MCII
Minolta SRT SCII
Minolta X-1 (Japan), XK (USA), XM (Europe)
Minolta X-1 Motor (Japan), XK Motor (USA), XM Motor (Europe)
Minolta XE (Japan), XE-7 (USA), XE-1 (Europe)
Minolta XEb (Japan only)
Minolta XE-5 (USA and Europe)
Minolta XD (Japan), XD-11 (USA), XD-7 (Europe)
Minolta XD-s (Japan only)
Minolta XD-s Medical (Japan only)
Minolta XD-5
Minolta XG-E (Japan), XG-7 (USA), XG-2 (Europe)
Minolta XG-1
Minolta XG-S (Japan), XG-SE (USA), XG-9 (Europe)
Minolta X-70 (Japan), XG-M (USA, Europe)
Minolta XG-A (simplified XG-1)
Minolta X-700
Minolta X-500 (Japan, Europe), X-570 (USA)
Minolta X-300 (Japan, Europe), X-370 (USA)
Minolta X-600 (Japan only)
Minolta X-370n (USA), Minolta X-370s (Europe)
Minolta X-9
Minolta X-300s
Minolta Rangefinder 35mm Film Cameras with interchangeable lens
Minolta 35
Minolta 35 II
Minolta 35 IIB
Minolta Super A
Leitz Minolta CL
Minolta CLE
Minolta Rangefinder 35mm Film Cameras with fixed-mount lens
Minolta A
Minolta A2
Minolta A2 LT
Minolta A3
Minolta A5
Minolta AL
Minolta AL2
Minolta ALS
Minolta ALE
Minolta AL-F
Minolta 24 Rapid (16 24x24mm exposures on 35mm film)
Minolta Electro Shot
Minolta Hi-Matic 11
Minolta Hi-Matic 7
Minolta Hi-Matic 7s
Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII / Revue 400 SE
Minolta Hi-Matic 9
Minolta Hi-Matic CS
Minolta Hi-Matic E
Minolta Hi-Matic ES
Minolta Hi-Matic F
Minolta Hi-Matic FP
Minolta HiMatic / Ansco Autoset
Minolta Minoltina AL-S
Minolta Minoltina-S
Minolta Uniomat / Ansco Anscoset
Minolta Uniomat II
Minolta Uniomat III / Ansco Anscoset III
Minolta V2
Minolta V3
Minolta Viewfinder 35mm Film Cameras
Minolta Autowide
Minolta f12
Minolta F35 Big Finder
Minolta Freedom I
Minolta FS-E II
Minolta Hi-Matic 5
Minolta Hi-Matic C
Minolta Hi-Matic CSII
Minolta Hi-Matic G
Minolta Hi-Matic G2
Minolta Hi-Matic GF
Minolta Hi-Matic S
Minolta Hi-Matic S2
Minolta Hi-Matic SD
Minolta Hi-Matic SD2
Minolta Memo
Minolta Minoltina-P
Minolta Repo (half-frame)
Minolta Repo-S (half-frame)
Minolta Compact 35mm Film Cameras
HI-MATIC AF
HI-MATIC AF-2
AF-DL / FREEDOM DL
WEATHERMATIC 35 DL
ZOOM 60
RIVA ZOOM 75 w / FREEDOM ZOOM 75w
RIVA ZOOM 90 EX / FREEDOM ZOOM 90 EX
RIVA ZOOM 105i / FREEDOM ZOOM 105i
RIVA ZOOM 110 / FREEDOM ZOOM 110
RIVA ZOOM 115 EX / FREEDOM ZOOM 115 EX
RIVA ZOOM 130 / FREEDOM ZOOM 130
RIVA ZOOM 140 EX / FREEDOM ZOOM 140 EX
RIVA ZOOM 150 / FREEDOM ZOOM 150
and a lot more like that
newer Minolta zoom cameras, see Konica Minolta
Minolta APS Film Cameras
Minolta APS Film SLR Cameras
Vectis S-100
Vectis S-1
Minolta APS Film Compact Cameras
Vectis 20
Vectis 25
Vectis 30
Vectis 40
Vectis GX-3
Vectis 260
Vectis 300
Vectis 300L
Vectis Weathermatic Zoom underwater camera
Vectis 2000
Vectis 3000
Minolta 120 Film Cameras
Minolta 4.5x6 Folding Cameras
Auto Minolta
Auto Minolta I
Auto Semi Minolta
Auto Semi Minolta IIIA
Auto Semi Minolta P
Semi Minolta I
Semi Minolta II
Minolta 6x6 Collapsible Camera
Minolta Six
Minolta 6x6 TLR Twin Lens Reflex Cameras
Minolta Autocord
Minolta Autocord CDS I
Minolta Autocord CDS II
Minolta Autocord CDS III
Minolta Autocord I
Minolta Autocord II
Minolta Autocord III
Minolta Autocord L
Minolta Autocord MXS
Minolta Autocord MXV
Minolta Autocord RA
Minolta Autocord RB
Minolta Autocord RG
Minolta Autocord RI
Minolta Miniflex
Minoltacord
Minoltaflex
Minoltaflex Automat
Minoltaflex I
Minoltaflex II
Minoltaflex IIB
Minoltaflex III
Minolta 127 Film Cameras
Minolta 4x6.5 folding
Nifcalette
Minolta 4x6.5 Collapsible Cameras
Minolta Vest (sometimes called Minolta Best or Minolta Marble)
Baby Minolta
Minolta 4x4 TLR Twin Lens Reflex Camera
Minolta Miniflex
Minolta Plate Film Cameras
Minolta 6.5x9 Folding Bed Cameras
Nifca Klapp
Nifca Sport
Arcadia
Happy Hand
Happy Hand -- type S
Sirius
Minolta 6.5x9 Strut Folding Cameras
Nifca Dox
Minolta
Auto Press Minolta
Minolta 16mm Film Cameras
Minolta 16mm Film SLR Cameras
Minolta Auto-Zoom-X
Minolta 16mm Film Subminiature Cameras
Minolta 16
Minolta 16 Automat
Minolta 16 Cds
Minolta 16 EE
Minolta 16 EE2
Minolta 16 II
Minolta 16 MG
Minolta 16 MGS
Minolta 16 P
Minolta 16 Ps
Minolta 16 QT
Minolta Sonocon 16 MB-ZA
Minolta Disc Film Cameras
Minolta ac 101 Courreges
Minolta ac 301 Courreges
Minolta Disc-5
Minolta Disc-7
Minolta Disc-S
Minolta Disc-K
Minolta 110 Film Cameras
Minolta 110 Film SLR Cameras
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II
Minolta 110 Film Pocket/Compact Cameras
Pocket Autopak 200
Pocket Autopak 250
Pocket Autopak 270
Pocket Autopak 430-E
Pocket Autopak 430-EX
Pocket Autopak 440-EX
Pocket Autopak 450-E
Pocket Autopak 450-EX
Pocket Autopak 460-T
Pocket Autopak 460-TX
Pocket Autopak 50
Pocket Autopak 70
Pocket Pak 40
Pocket Pak 440-E
Pocket Pak 60
Weathermatic A underwater camera
Minolta 126 Film Cameras
Minolta Autopak 400-X
Minolta Autopak 500 / Ilford Monarch / Revuematic 500
Minolta Autopak 550
Minolta Autopak 600-X
Minolta Autopak 700
Minolta Autopak 800
Revere 3M Automatic 1034
Minolta Instant Film Cameras
Minolta Instant Pro
Minolta Bibliography
70 Jahre Minolta Kameratechnik, by A.R. & J. Scheibel, ed. Lindemanns, ISBN 3-89506-191-3
Histoire de l'appareil photographique Minolta de 1929 à 1985, D. & J.P. Francesch, ed. Dessain et Tolra, ISBN 2-249-27685-4
Minolta Links
Camerapedia page of Minolta related links
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Categories: Camera makers | Lens makers | Minolta | Japan
This page was last modified 08:25, 9 May 2006.
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