Auto Press Minolta

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The 1930s were the era of the German camera makers since they offered a great range of innovative cameras for the new 35mm film standard. But the more traditional field of medium format folders was not dominated by them. But some innovations in this field were remarkable, for example the new concept of a strut folding press camera introduced with the Makina II in 1933 by Plaubel. Chiyoda Kōgaku used this camera conception for its first camera with built-in flash-synchronization-switch. It was not a copy of the Makina but of its concept. Other than the archetype Chiyoda's Minolta Auto Press had horizontal and vertical scissors type struts, and the optical finder used only one collapsible lens frame together with a built-in ocular instead of the Makina's two collapsible frames. Several other details were different so that it was a real Minolta and not a fake Makina. The Auto Press had a predecessor, the cheaper Auto Minolta of 1935 which was simpler and looked more alike a simplified Plaubel camera without sports finder.


  • Type: strut folding press camera
  • Manufacturer: Chiyoda
  • Year of launch: 1937
  • Film type/frame size: roll film or film sheets / 6.5×9cm (probably 6×9 with roll film?)
  • Lens: 105mm F3.5 Promar Anastigmat Nippon, 4 elements
  • Shutter: Nippon Crown-Rapid or Crown-Rapid S, with speeds 1 sec. to 1/400 sec. plus T and B, self-timer
  • Focusing: 1m to infinity, aided by coupled rangefinder
  • Viewfinders: Optical finder with built-in ocular and collapsible front lens holder with crosshairs, additional big sports finder
  • Aperture: f3.5 to f25
  • Dimensions: 140×118×133mm
  • Weight: 1300g

A version with F4.5 lens was also made.