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70 years of Minolta

The 1980s

Minolta X-7

1980 Minolta X-7

35mm SLR Aperture priority 35mm AE SLR

Minolta Weathermatic A

1980 Minolta Weathermatic A 110 Camera

Minolta’s first water-resistant 110 camera. Editor’s note: this camera was better than water resistant by today’s standards – it could be used underwater in most swimming pool, snorkeling and swimming situations. Unfortunately the results from 110 film were terrible, as we ourselves found out, being unable to produce any example pictures which proved the camera to be worth buying! But it was great on the beach.
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Minolta CLE

1981 Minolta CLE 35mm Rangefinder Camera System

The world’s first interchangeable lens rangefinder camera with aperture-priority auto exposure (the poster text gets this the wrong way round, hopelessly – “World’s first AE interchangeable 35mm FP camera with range finder”). Editor’s note: the CLE was produced by Minolta after Leica decided to discontinue the CL model. It has a viewfinder with frames for 28mm, 40mm and 90mm instead of 40mm, 50mm and 90mm and Minolta produced a 28mm f/2.8 Rokkor-C wide angle in addition to 40mm f/2 and 90mm f/4 optics. This Japanese-made lens is now sought after by Leica owners for its compact size, low cost and high quality. The 90mm f/4 lens, though labelled Minolta, was made by Leica. The CLE uses an electronic focal plane shutter and unlike the CL which was limited to 1/2 second can make brief auto time exposures.

Minolta X-700

1981 Minolta X-700 35mm SLR Camera

Program AE SLR and winner of the first ever ‘European Camera of the Year’ award from TIPA (the Technical Image Press Association) in 1982.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF-2 MD

1982 Minolta Hi-Matic AF-2 MD

35mm leaf shutter AF camera with electronic shutter and built-in motor wind.

Minolta AF-C

1983 Minolta AF-C

35mm leaf shutter AF camera – extremely compact design with sliding cover.

Minolta Disc 7

1983 Minolta Disc 7

8 x 11mm images on Kodak’s 1982 Disc Film format. Minolta’s first Disc camera, with ‘combined lithium battery’.

Minolta X-600

1983 Minolta X-600 35mm SLR

Minolta’s first 35mm SLR camera with built-in electronic focus detector. Ed: extremely rare item.

Minolta X-500

1983 Minolta X-500/X-570 35mm SLR

Aperture priority AE SLR with TTL flash metering.

Minolta Courreges ac301

1983 Minolta Courreges ac301 Disc camera

Disc camera designed by Andres Courreges.

Minolta AF-E

1984 Minolta AF-E/Freedom II

35mm AF leaf-shutter camera. Ed: the AF-E started a downward trend in having fewer AF steps and relying on depth of field. The ‘Freedom’ name eventually came to mean fixed-focus cameras little better than old box cameras in terms of exposure or focus control. This model, at this date, was still reasonable well featured if extremely ugly.

Minolta AF-Sv Talker

1984 Minolta AF-Sv/Talker/Talkman

35mm AF leaf shutter camera with voice warning. Ed: note the name – ‘Talkman’! They knew Sony was coming. Notoriously bad marketing concept on Minolta’s part and the first of a continuing series of eccentric highlight features which left enthusiasts baffled.

Minolta 7000

1985 Minolta 7000 or Maxxum 7000 35mm AF SLR

World’s first 35mm SLR system camera with integrated autofocus. Winner of the ‘Inter-Camera International’ award, ‘Camera Grand Prix 1985′, and European Camera of the Year 1985. All lenses and most accessories introduced with this new AF-mount lens system, completely changed from the previous SR/MC/MD mount models, remain compatible with today’s Konica Minolta and Sony DSLRs. Note the Alpha symbol on the photographs of these Japanese market models, which were all known as Alpha in that market. The 7000 body should also be fully compatible with all the full-frame lenses to be introduced by Sony, except those using SSM (supersonic in-lens motor focusing).

Minolta AF-T

1985 Minolta AF-T

35mm leaf shutter autofocus camera with two built-in lenses, standard and telephoto.

Minolta 9000

1985 Minolta 9000 or Maxxum 9000

35mm AF SLR camera with attachable exclusive 5 frame/sec motor drive. Ed: this is an understatement. The 9000 is a professional grade camera with manual wind-on unless an autowinder or motordrive is attached, unlike the 7000 with its built-in auto wind. It remains a benchmark design.

Minolta AF-Z

1986 Minolta AF-Z

35mm leaf shutter AF camera with the largest magnification viewfinder (0.6X) in its class. For comparison, typical Leica rangefinder viewfinder magnifications range from 0.7X to 0.85X.

Minolta 5000

1986 Minolta 5000 or Maxxum 5000

Microcomputer controlled 35mm AF SLR. Ed: that’s what the poster caption says, so maybe it really did use a new type of internal control. For the buyer, much cut-down version of the 7000 with press-button operations to control adjustments, and no dials.

Minolta AF-DL

1987 Minolta AF-DL or Freedom Dual

35mm leaf shutter AF camera with two built-in lenses, standard and telephoto, and the ability to take close-ups down to 52cm.

Minolta Weathermatic 35DL

1987 Minolta Weathermatic 35DL or Dual

Minolta’s first all-weather 35mm AF leaf shutter camera. Ed: again, this can be used underwater. Results are a massive improvement over the 110.

Dynax 7000i

1988 Minolta Dynax or Maxxum 7000i

35mm AF SLR camera with predictive focus control and intelligent card (that’s what the text says!). Won ‘European Camera of the Year ’88′ Award. This camera is the first to use the Creative Expansion Card system, optional function and customization ROM cards which slot into a bay on the camera under a door rather like a memory card door for a digital SLR.

Minolta AF Zoom 90

1989 Minolta AF-Zoom 90 or Freedom Zoom 90

35mm leaf shutter AF camera with program zoom function.
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Minolta 3000i

1989 Minolta Dynax 3000i or Maxxum 3000i

World’s smallest and lightest 35mm AF SLR camera when launched. Note the Japanese market name: Alpha 5700i.

Minolta 5000i

1989 Minolta Dynax 5000i or Maxxum 5000i

Minolta’s first 35mm AF SLR camera with built-in flash. Japanese market model shown – Alpha 5700i.


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