Minolta CLE

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Minolta CLE

Maker: Minolta

Dates: 1981–unknown

Variants: black, gold

Camera Type: 35mm rangefinder system

Focusing: manual


Rangefinder: coupled, combined

Lens mount: Leica M

Shutter: focal plane
cloth curtains, horizontal travel
from 1s to 1/1000

Exposure meter: TTL, SiO2 cell

Exposure modes: aperture priority, manual

ASA/ISO range: 25 to 1600

Shoe: fixed hot shoe, TTL contacts

Synchronized: X

X sync speed: 1/60

TTL Flash: Minolta TTL

Motor drive: none

Battery: 2×1.5V

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

Number produced: unknown

The Minolta CLE is a TTL-metering aperture-priority automatic 35mm rangefinder camera taking Leica M lenses, introduced by Minolta in 1981.

Leica and Minolta signed a technical cooperation agreement in June 1972.[1] One of its results was the joint development of the Leica CL, a compact rangefinder camera introduced in 1973 and discontinued a few years later. The CLE was a new rangefinder body resembling the Leica CL.


The Minolta CLE has an electronic focal plane shutter to 1/1000, and a through-the-lens CdS exposure meter with aperture-priority automatic or manual exposure, and automated TTL flash exposure. None of these features would appear on any other body for M-mount lenses until the Konica Hexar RF of 1999 (which has all but the last). The viewfinder has projected frames for 28mm, 40mm and 90mm focal lengths.

The Minolta CLE is reputed to be reliable, but electronic faults would likely be unrepairable today.


Three lenses were made by Minolta specially for the CLE: the M-Rokkor 28mm f:2.8 wide-angle, the M-Rokkor 40mm f:2 standard and the M-Rokkor 90mm f:4 tele. The 28mm lens has some problems with the durability of the coating, and it is recommended to check the presence of white spots on the coating before buying.

Gold edition

The Minolta CLE was sold in black finish, except for a gold edition, limited to 300 and sold only in the Japanese market.[2] The top plate is gold with black engravings. The bottom plate, strap lugs, hot shoe and lens release button are gold too, as well as the metal parts of the advance lever and shutter release. The shutter speed disc and lens rings have gold colour numbers. The set includes a standard lens with gold plated bayonet mount and a leather case with a plate marked CLE GOLD LIMITED.[3]


  1. Year and month: Francesch, p.49.
  2. See this page at Cameraquest.
  3. Observation of a gold CLE in an online auction.


  • 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.


Japanese 35mm focal plane VF and RF (edit)
Leica screw mount Alta | Bessa L/T/R | Canon II/III/IV | Canon VT | Canon VI-T | Canon L-3 | Canon P | Canon 7 | Canon 7s | ChiyocaChiyotax | Honor S1 | Honor SL | Ichicon-35 | Jeicy | Konica FR | Leotax | Leotax G | Melcon | Melcon II | Minolta 35 | Muley | Nicca | Nicca III-L | Nippon | Tanack 35/IIIS/IV-S | Tanack SD | Tanack VP | Teica | Yasuhara T981
Leica M mount Bessa R2/R3/R4 | Konica Hexar RF | Minolta CLE | Rollei 35 RF | Zeiss Ikon
Nikon mount Bessa R2S | Nikon rangefinder models
Contax G mount Contax G1 | Contax G2
Other Bessa R2C | Kwanon | Tanack V3
Japanese TLR and pseudo TLR ->
Japanese 6×6, 4.5×6, 3×4 and 4×4 ->

In English:

In German:

In Japanese:

Minolta Classic Cameras
Vest (or Best) | V2 | SR-2 | SRT 101 | XE | XD | CLE | 7000 | 9000 | 800 si