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    

158* Konica Hexanon Ar 50/1.4 Lens* KonicaMinolta Autocord Medium Format Tlr-75mm Rokkor 3.5, Great Glass For RepairMinolta Autocord Tlr 6x6 Camera *parts/repair Only*Konan 16mm Automat / Subminature Spycamera / 1:3.5-25mm Rokkor Lens / MinoltaMinolta Af-c 35mm F2.8 Lens Film Camera With Flash AttachmentVintage Yashica C / Vintage Minolta Autocord 4 Cameras, 10 Lenses, More! Nikon, Canon, Zeiss, Hoya, Minolta. Lentar, VintageVintage Minolta 200mm Rokkor F4.5 Telephoto 35mm Camera Lens Mc Sr-t & Xg Md OldMinolta Sr-3 35mm Film Camera Ttl Lens 35mm 2.8 Rokkor Hg Sr Meter Works 15 Minolta Camera Body Lot, Maxxumm, Himatic, Xg X700Nice! Konica Aiborg Super Zoom 35mm Af Point & Shoot Film Camera W 35-105mm LensMinolta Hi-matic 7s Ii 7sii 35mm Rangefinder Camera W/ Rokkor 40mm F1.7 ~ Nice!Vintage Minolta 7000 Camers With Extra LenseMinolta Srt 101 35mm Camera With 5 Lenses, Blue Carry Case, And Original ManualMinolta 7000 Maxxium Af 35mm Camera Outfit With Two LensesMinolta Md 35-70mm 1:3.5 Zoom Camera Lens With Hoya 55mm Skylight 1b Filter Mixed Lot - Miranda - Konica - LensesExcellent +++ Minolta -16 Mg Spy Camera With Case, Flash And AccessoriesMinolta Maxxum Af 50mm 1:1.7 Japan Vintage Camera Lens W/ Front Rear CapsVivitar 100-300 Mm 1:5 Close Focusing Auto Zoom Lens Minolta Md MountMinolta Xg7 CameraMinolta Hi-matic 7 Rangefinder Camera Not Tested & CaseMinolta Xg1 35mm Camera Three Lens & Flash AttachmentVintage Minolta Mc W. Rokkor-hg 1:2.8 F=35mm Lens In CaseMinolta (nwt) Unused Freedom Zoom 130 Date CameraMinolta X-700 35mm Slr Film Camera With Sears Macro/ Zoom 80- 200mm 4-5.6 LensVintage Minolta Sr T 101 Film Slr Camera 35 Mm With Original Case And Strap.Vintage - 2 Camera Lenses - Tamron Large Rokunar & Konica 2x Tele Converter Vintage Minolta Xg-1!Minolta 110 Zoom Slr Mark Ii W/ 25-67mm 1:3.5Konica Autoreflex Tc T4, Auto Film Winder, Vivitar, Hexanon Lenses, 2x ConverterMinolta Hi-matic Af2 35mm CameraEstate Find Minolta 450e Pocket Camera With Leather Case