The Minolta Camera Co. was founded back in 1928, but used different names until 1933. Throughout its history, Minolta made cameras and lenses for a multitude of film formats, ranging from 16mm to 35mm, as well as 120mm medium format.
In 1958, the company introduced its first SLR, the Minolta SR-2. During the 1970s, they partnered with Leitz and developed some high-end cameras, which were sold by each company under their own brand. The results were the Minolta XE and XD series and the Leica CL, R3 and R4 models. However, even if some of these cameras resemble, they are not the same.
The Rokkor series was manufactured by Minolta. Ranging from fisheye to very long telephoto lenses, the Rokkor came in both single and multicoated versions. The Rokkor used the Minolta SR or MC/MD bayonet mount. They too suffered the transition from a full metal body to metal and plastic parts.
In the 1980s Minolta were the first to integrate the auto focusing system into a 35mm SLR camera. That was the Minolta 7000 AF SLR camera produced since 1985. Despite its advancements on the AF technology, the company remained amateur orientated on the MF camera segment. Their last model, the Minolta X-700, was introduced in 1983.
In a move to minimize the construction costs of their cameras, they began using plastic to replace the metal and they also moved the production out of Japan.
In the 1990s, Minolta released its first DSLR cameras on a market monopolized by Canon, Nikon and Olympus cameras. The final move of the company was the fusion with another Japanese camera manufacturer, Konica, in 2003.
The new Konica-Minolta company released its final product, the Dynax 7D, in late 2004. In 2006 Konica Minolta withdrew from the camera business.
Check our Minolta lenses:
The MD Rokkor 50mm f1.7 was the standard lens for top Minolta film cameras, such as the excellent X-700. The lens has very good build quality and first rate optics. Colors are very well balanced and thanks to the quality of the glass images are sharp and look excellent on both digital and film.
Later versions with green markings are multi-coated. The Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f1.7 has a minimum focusing distance of 0.45m, it weighs around 170g and uses a 49mm filter.
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The Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.4 is a fast lens that equipped Minolta film cameras. This lens had several versions, including a non MC one. The build quality is very good, focusing is smooth and precise. The lens is larger than its 50mm siblings and a little bulkier than a Helios 58mm, for example.
Colors are rich, contrast is also very good. The lens is soft at f1.4-f2.8, but it has a pleasant bokeh and it really looks good, especially on 35mm film. Prestige wise, the Minolta 58mm does suffer a little, as it is not the fastest lens – the Minolta had a 58mm f1.2 Rokkor – nor the most known of the line-up.
The Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.4 has a minimum focusing distance of 0.6m, it weighs 278g. Filter diameter: 55mm. Main mount: Minolta MC/MD.