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Minolta's joint ventures

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:40 pm
by classiccameras
Fascinating to read about the Minolta history. Not sure if any of you have seen the 'Rokkor Files' web site. Its a remarkable insite into the 35-mm manual focus era with lots of tests, pictures and information on all 35-mm man focus SLR's.
It was especially interesting to read how Minolta varied the camera's name/designation according to what part of the world market it was being sold in.

Minolta have a few feathers in their cap as Leitz [Leica] asked Minolta to make a zoom lens for them, it was the Rokkor 35-70 macro re badged with some cosmetic changes for Leica. Vario Elmar I believe.

The Leica R4 was infact a Minolta XD-7/11 with a copal square vertically running titanium shutter [this technology is what attracted Lieca] and Leica traded their 'black' chrome processing technique with Minolta for the favour.
Minolta made the basic camera then it was shipped to Germany for finishing.

If you have a black Minolta XD-7/11 it has the Leitz black chrome finish. Again the R4 was re badged and cosmetically changed with Leitz helping in the final stages of manufacture.
These joint ventures were quite prevellent in those days and still go on to day.

I have a black XD-7 and a Black X-500 with a bunch of Rokkor MD lenses, all got on Ebay or in camera shops for a few £. I still shoot Fuji Velvia with my Minolta's

Re: Minolta's joint ventures

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:52 pm
by David Kilpatrick
Back in 2006 when Photoclubalpha started out, I kicked off the website with a story: ... en-geisha/

This was my May 2006 summation of Minolta's history (if you know all the incidents involved, like Minolta trying to release a camera with the Leica M mount in the 1950s, it all makes sense). The arrangement with Leitz actually dates right back to the big clash they had when Leitz stopped Minolta releasing an M-mount system. They gave help to Minolta to use many Leica engineering concepts, including the concentric lever-wind focal plane shutter, in the SR reflex camera series. Minolta launched that instead and worked with Leitz/Leica for a quarter of a century on mechanical components, optical parts etc.

In 1982 I was able to see the showcase museum in Osaka with all the Leica parts (things like prisms, screens etc) made by Minolta on display.