Minolta cameras were born from a partnership between German optical engineers and Japanese manufacturing experts. The business was initially established by Kazuo Tashima in 1928 as the Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shoten, roughly translated as the Japan-Germany Camera Company. In 1931, the company adopted its current name, an acronym for “Mechansim, Instruments, Optics, and Lenses by Tashima.”

Minolta produced its first camera, called the Nifcalette, in 1929. The Nifcalette was a folding roll-film camera using a lens and diaphragm shutter made in Germany. By 1933, the company was producing cameras entirely in its Japanese facilities. Minolta was quick to promote many new photographic developments in Japan, manufacturing the country’s first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera in 1937 and the first Japanese-made color film in 1940.

During the 1950s, Minolta became the first Japanese camera maker to send a group of marketers to the U.S. in order to promote its cameras. By 1956, it had established a full-fledged American subsidiary in Philadelphia.

When John Glenn manned the first NASA spacecraft to orbit the earth in 1962, he was accompanied by a modified Minolta Hi-Matic camera. Glenn’s version was altered to be used upside down, and had a large protruding handle and folding viewfinder.

Minolta began collaborating with the venerable German camera company Leica in the early 1970s, eventually manufacturing a line of lighter, cheaper cameras sold under the Leica name but produced at Minolta’s factories in Japan. Minolta would later release the C35EF model as the world’s first 35mm camera with built-in flash; shortly after, its C35AF became the first with compact autofocus.

Possibly the most distinctive Minolta design is the Pocket Autopak, a series of cameras that premiered in the late 1970s. The flat, rectangular Autopak contains a bright, high-quality viewfinder and self-contained flash, making it a popular point-and-shoot camera for average family photographers.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Collection D'Appareils Photo

Collection D'Appareils Photo

While we couldn't read everthing - it's mostly in French - the images on this site speak for themselves. Its an ext… [read review or visit site]

Magic Mirror of Life

Magic Mirror of Life

Jack and Beverly Wilgus have put together a great trove of information and images of camera obscura-related photos … [read review or visit site]

Cameras and Co

Cameras and Co

An impressive collection of antique and vintage cameras, this site features high-resolution images of over 120 came… [read review or visit site]

George Eastman House

George Eastman House

This showcase of vintage cameras and photography is plainly designed, but the camera collection and related referen… [read review or visit site]

Antique Cameras D. Tristram Ludwig

Antique Cameras D. Tristram Ludwig

David Tristram Ludwig shares high resolution images of his in-depth personal collection of antique cameras, includi… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Minolta Mc Rokkor-pg 58mm 1.2 Lens With Custom Canon Eos Mount! Mint!Konica Hexanon 1.4 57mm LensVintage Minolta 35mm F21.8 Mc W Rokkor-hh 1:1.8 Japan Camera Lens & BoxMinolta Chiyoko Autocord Twin Lens Reflex Tlr Film Camera 75mm F3.5 Rokkor LensMinolta Sr-3 35mm Slr Film Camera W.rokkor-hg 35mm F/2.8 Pf 55m F/1.9 LensMinolta Xd11 Camera With Auto Winder, Lens Assortment & Cases As PicturedMinolta Multi-function Back For X-700 Body, Case, BoxVintage Minolta Super A 35mm Super & Tele Rokkor Lenses And Many Nice AccesoriesMinolta 85mm F/1.4 Srt 101 Slr Camera *auction*Vintage, Unused "konica Tomato- 35mm Compact Camera-complete W/ Instructions"6 Piece Grab Box Of Minolta Cameras And Minolta Camera Cases *auction*Minolta Xg1 35mm SlrMinolta 16 Spy Camera Rokkor 1: 2.8 F=22mm Lens With Minolta FlashMinolta Srt-101 35mm SlrMinolta Mc Tele Rokkor-pf 1:2.8 F=135mm Lens With Case 35mm SlrMinolta Srt-201 35mm Slr Film Camera W/ Rokkor-x 50mm 1:17 Lens, StrapMinolta 58mm F/1.4 Srt 101 Slr Camera *auction*Minolta Mc Rokkor-x Pg 1:1.4/50 LensMinolta Xd-11 With Data Back Auto Winder And Md Zoom Rokkor-x 75-200mmKonica Eye 3 35 Mm Camera Minolta Hi-matic Af2-m Point And Shoot 35mm Film CameraVintage Minolta Xl 401 Movie Camera Super 8 In Case Auto Exposure ExcellentKonica Fs-1 35mm Slr Camera With Hexanon Ar 40mm F/1.8 LensVintage Minolta Md Celtic 28mm F2.8 Manual Focus Film Camera Lens With Caps FastMinolta X-370 35mm Camera Outfit W/ Zoom Lens, Flash & CasesRicoh Kr-super Ii Slr 1:3.5-4.5 35-70mm Lens W/ Minolta Maxxum 7000 Camera BodyGrab Box Minolta-16 Cameras & Accessories As-is *auctionVintage Lot Of 3 Minolta Autocord Tlr Cameras Rokkor 75mm F3.5 Lenses As IsMinolta Maxxum 7000 Af Zoom 35-105mm 1:35 (22) - 45 55mm Camera & Case & FilmKonica C-35 Af2 Compact Camera Hexanon 38mm F2.8 Auto Focus With Manual Minolta Disc-5 CameraVivitar 62mm Skylight 28mm Wide Angle Lens Minolta Srt 101 W/58mm JapanSure Shot Mega Zoom 105