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]

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    

Minolta Autocord Twin Lens Reflex Roll Film Camera - 3.5 Rokkor, Citizen ShutterChiyoko Minolta Autocord Tlr Roll Film Camera - Sold For Spares Or RepairLot Of 5 Minolta Cameras Lenses Srt 201 101 Xg-a Maxxum 3000i 7000A Rare Original Konica C35 35mm Rangefinder Compact Camera, With CaseKonica Auto S2 35mm Rangefinder Film Camera W/ Hexanon 45mm F/1.8 LensMinolta Flash Meter 3 With AttachmentsMinolta A5 Range Finder 35mm Konica Autoreflex T4 LotMinolta Xe7 Japan Vintage Slr Camera With F = 50mm 1:1.7 Md Rokkor LensLot Of 10 Vintage 35mm Cameras & Lenses Pentax Kodak Kowa Minolta Chinon PetriLot Of 3 Minolta 16 Miniature Cameras - 16, 16 Ee & 16-ps Miscellaneous Camera Equipment -- Minolta X-700 - Vivitar - Canon - KodakVintage Minolta Hi-matic E Rangefinder Camera & Flash 35mm FilmCamara Collection Vintage Leather Case, Minolta 7000, Canon Ae1, Ftb 2 Lens Etc.Minolta Belt BuckleMinolta Maxxum Af 50mm 1:1.7 Camera Lens (ec31-0816) Minolta X-700 Camera - Untested/as-isMinolta 110 Zoom Slr Roll Film Camera; Ca. 1976; W/case,soligor Electronic Mk-3aMinolta X-700 35mm Slr Camera With Flash And LensesVintage Camera Stuff Exa MinoltaVintage Minolta Max 7000i~af 50 Slr Camera + Af Lens 70-210 + 3200i Flash + CaseVintage Minolta Srt101 35mm Film Camera With 50mm LensVintage Minolta 16 Spy Cam Rokkor 22mm In CaseMinolta X-370 35mm Film Slr Camera 2 Lenses 50mm & Macro / Zoom LensMinolta Marble From 34. Nippon Lens Coronar Anastigmat. Excellent And WorkingVintage Minolta Xe-7 35mm Slr Film CameraMinolta Xg2 Camera With Long Lens And Flash