Minolta and Auto Minolta

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Japanese plate strut-folding cameras (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) CH
atom (4.5×6cm) Idea Spring
meishi (5.5×8cm) Minimum Idea | Korok
daimeishi (6.5×9cm) Idea Spring | Minolta | Auto Minolta | Auto Press Minolta | Nifca-Dox | Vester Klapp
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Focal Happy | Idea Spring | Idea Telephoto
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kabine (12×16.5cm) Idea Spring | Idea Telephoto
Japanese plate film: monocular, box, folding bed and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->
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The Minolta (ミノルタ) and Auto Minolta are strut-folding cameras taking 6.5×9cm plates or film sheets, made by Molta and later Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (predecessors of Minolta).


The Minolta and Auto Minolta were much inspired by the Plaubel Makina, but have a reversed configuration, with the viewfinder on the photographer's left.

The rectangular front plate is mounted on scissor struts. The spring-loaded main struts, at the top and bottom, are attached to a shaft on the right. They are complemented by smaller struts on the left-hand side. The viewfinder consists of a glass element at the front, retractable in a small casing attached to the front plate, and an eyepiece hinged to the main body, at the rear. It does not provide parallax correction, unlike that of the Makina. The main body has a handle on the photographer's right, and two tripod threads, at the bottom and on the left.

The camera is focused by varying the angle of the main struts via a small knob at the right end of the front plate. The distance is indicated by an index rotating inside a circular scale, under the viewfinder casing. A button is visible between the lens and the focusing wheel, used to unlock the scissor struts to open or close the camera.

The name Minolta and the body serial number are engraved on the viewfinder's front casing, and the round MTS logo of the Molta company is embossed at the top of the front plate, above the opening button.


  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 270. (See also the advertisements for item 272.)
  • Francesch, Dominique and Jean-Paul. Histoire de l'appareil photographique Minolta de 1929 à 1985. Paris: Dessain et Tolra, 1985. ISBN 2-249-27685-4. Pp.21–2, 75 and 78–9.
  • Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). Pp.48 and 182.
  • McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.673.
  • Leaflet for the Auto Minolta, dating c.1935. Ōto-fōkasu Minoruta kamera (オートフォカスミノルタカメラ, Auto-focus Minolta camera). Document owned by Andrea Apra and reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
  • Scheibel, Anni Rita and Joseph. 70 Jahre Minolta Kameratechnik — Von der Nifcalette bis zur Dynax 9. Stuttgart: Lindemanns Verlag, 3rd edition, 1999. ISBN 3-89506-191-3. Pp.16–7 and 20–1.
  • Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Items 1195–7.
  • Tanimura Yoshihiko (谷村吉彦). "Supuringu kamera <Semi Minoruta>" (スプリングカメラ<セミミノルタ>, "'Semi Minolta' self-erecting camera"). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.12, October 1988. No ISBN number. Minoruta kamera no subete (ミノルタカメラのすべて, special issue on Minolta). Pp.19–24. (Contains a reproduction of an advertisement showing the Minolta and Auto Minolta, and no other information on the strut folders.)
  • Tanimura Yoshihiko (谷村吉彦). "Semi Minoruta I-gata to II-gata." (セミミノルタⅠ型とⅡ型, "Semi Minolta I and II") In Camera Collectors' News no.116 (February 1987). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. (Contains a reproduction of the articles in Shashin Kōgyō no.77, a discussion of the release dates and no other information on the strut folders.)
  • Tanimura Yoshihiko (谷村吉彦). "Semi Minoruta I-gata to II-gata (sono 2)." (セミミノルタⅠ型とⅡ型(その2), "Semi Minolta I and II (part 2)") In Camera Collectors' News no.118 (April 1987). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. (Contains a reproduction of two advertisements showing the Auto Minolta, and no other information on the strut folders.)


In English:

In Japanese:

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Nifca-Dox | Minolta | Auto Minolta | Auto Press Minolta Minoltaflex | Minoltaflex Automat | Minoltaflex military prototype