The Minolta Co., established in 1928 by Kazuo Tashima, was originally called Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shoten (Japan-Germany Camera Co.). In 1962, the company changed its name to Minolta Camera Co. Ltd., to reflect its rising camera sales. In 1994, the company morphed again, dropping the word "camera" from its name, to become the Minolta Co., Ltd., promoting itself as more than just a camera company. After nearly eight decades as a leader in photography, Minolta merged with Konica in 2003, and withdrew from the camera business and photo-business in 2007.As of 2010, Konica Minolta specialises in business services and office systems including fax machines, scanners and printers.
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In 1937, Minolta introduced the first double-lens camera made in Japan called the Minolta Flex. By 1958, Minolta developed its first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera called the Minolta SR-2. In 1962, the Minolta Hi-Matic camera, which was used upside-down with a folding viewfinder mounted to the camera's base, went into space on the Friendship 7, America's first manned spacecraft to orbit the Earth.
1966 to 1973
In 1966, Minolta designed its first through-the-lens (TTL) light metering SLR camera called the Minolta SR-T101. In 1972, Minolta signed a technical agreement with Earnst Leitz Wetzlar, the manufacturer of Leica cameras. In 1973, Minolta features the first camera collaboratively created with Leica, the Minolta CL.
As their partnership evolved, Leica and Minolta introduced the Leica camera series R3, R4 and R5. In 1981, the Minolta CLE is the word's first 35mm rangefinder camera to include TTL (through-the-lens) metering and aperture priority auto-exposure. The Minolta X-700, a manual-focus SLR, was marketed and sold successfully until 1999. Minolta also invented the world's first autofocus SLR camera in the same calendar year, spurring intense competition from Nikon and Canon, catapulting Minolta to the top of the industry's food-chain.
Minolta delivers a series of "firsts" during the years of 1988 to 1992. In 1988, Minolta unveiled the word's first water and dust-resistant dual focal point compact camera called the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35. That same year, Minolta delivered another first with its first autofocus SLR camera featuring an intelligent card system. By 1992, Minolta designed the world's first autofocus SLR camera with a shutter speed of 1/12,000 seconds.
In 1995, Minolta invented the RD-175 SLR style 1.75 megapixel digital camera. By 1996, Minolta hD introduced an Advanced Photo System (APA) camera series, the Minolta Vectis.
In 1997, Konica Minolta introduced the Dimage v, a digital camera with a removable, rotating lens.
In 1998, Minolta developed the Maxxum 9, targeting professional photographers.
By 2001, the Minolta Dimage 7 was designed, featuring 5 megapixel resolution and a 7x optical zoom.The last cameras manufactured by Konica Minolta were the Dimage X1 and the X6.
In 2007, Konica Minolta Photo Image Inc.'s (the camera business portion of Konica Minolta) digital camera technology assets were transferred to Sony.
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