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    

Leica Leitz Minolta Cl M-mount Wetzlar Camera CleMinolta Mc Rokkor-pg 1:1.2 58mm Camera Lens, Konica Hexanon Ar 50mm F1.4 Vintage Camera Lens JapanVintage Minolta Autocord Rokkor 1:35 Twin Lens 75mm Camera Lot + AccessoriesVintage Minolta Autocord Tlr Film CameraVintage Minolta Xk 35mm Black Body Camera W Rokkor-x 28mm Lens! Good-excellentLot Of 5 Canon LensesMinolta Xk Camera And Accessories40mm 40/1.8 Konica Hexanon Ar 7290203Lot Of 6 Assorted Minolta Vintage CamerasMinolta 35 Model F Rangefinder Camera Estate Sale Good Condition Leather CaseMinolta Maxxum Af 28mm 1:2.8 (22) Auto-focus Camera Lense And Hard CaseVintage Minolta Xg-1 Camera, Lenses, Flashes, Filters, Accessories Huge LotMinolta Maxxum Af Zoom 70 - 210 Mm Camera 1:4 (32) Lense And Hard Case2 Minolta Maxxum 7000 Af Cameras With Many Accessories And Carrying CaseKonica F 35mm Slr Camera 1960 Chimney View Finder Film Model Japan Rare Vintage Minolta Maxxum Af 50mm 1:1.7 (22) Auto-focus Camera Lens And Hard CaseMinolta Xg-a 35mm Slr Camera W/regular And Wide Angle Lens's And Soligor Flash!!Minolta 7sii Hi-matic Vintage Black Rangefinder CameraMinolta Hi-matic 7s Range Finder Camera #227Hard To Find Minolta Autocord Tlr Film Camera With Lens Covers ChiyokoVintage Konica Fc-1 35mm Slr Film Camera W/1.8 40mm Ar Pancake Lens & Strap Vintage Minolta Mc Rokkor-pf 55 Mm F 1.7 Lens Vintage Minolta Mc Tele Rokkor-x Qd 135mm F/3.5 Lens For Slr CameraMinolta Xg-a 35mm Slr Film Camera W/ 50mm Md Lens & Strap & Case Xga #608Minolta Rokkor-x 1:1.4 F = 50 Mm With Leather PouchKonica Aerial Camera Type G In Unused ConditionVintage Minolta Mc W.rokkor-x 50mm F/1.4 Prime Lens, Front, Rear Caps, Case ExcFilm Camera Slr Tamron Lens 28-200mm 1:3.8-5.6 Minolta Photography Macro Af Xr Konica Autoreflex T3 35mm Slr Film Camera W Konica 55mm Macro LensVintage Minolta Autocord Tlr Twin Lens Reflex W/ 1:3.5 F=75mm LensKonica Fs-1 35mm Film 3 LensesMinolta Sr-7 With 55mm Lens, Mint!Minolta Hi-matic E Camera Rokkor-qf 1:1.7 F=40mm + Vivitar Skylight 1a Filter 49Vtg Konica Autoreflex Tc Body 28 35-200mm Lenses Polarizing Filter Hexanon JapanVintage Konica C 35 CameraLot Of 2 Vivitar Lenses With 3 Tele ConvertersNice Vintage Minolta Srt 101 With 3 Lenses, Case And Other AccessoriesMinolta Electro Shot 35mm Camera 1965 With CaseVintage Minolta Xg7 Camera And Extra LensesLot Of Assorted Vintage Canon Camers And Accessories.Vintage Super Nice Minolta X-700 35mm Camera W/ Factory Lens, Zoom Lens And CaseVintage Minolta Super Circuit Hi-matic Ii Camera And Case23mm 3.5 Aragon For Mc Minolta Wide Angle LensMinolta Flash Meter Ii Light Exposure MeterMinolta 28-100mm F3.5-5.6 Af Zoom Lens Minolta Af MountMinolta Flash With Case And Three BulbsMinolta 16 Ps Camera & AccessoriesVintage Tele- Lentar Auto 135mm F/2.8 Lens + Case + Covers Minolta Mt.Minolta Instant Pro CameraMinolta Instant Pro Instant Camera In Working Condition W/strap F10 125mm Lens Vintage Minolta Hi Matic 7 35 Mm Rangefinder Camera W/original Leather Case