This piece is taken from Classic Camera Magazine
number 27, and is provided to try to demonstrate the style of the magazine.
Note that the magazine article is illustrated, but in order to keep download
times to a minimum, I have omitted the illustrations from this version.
All back issues of Classic Camera Magazine are available;
see the main Classic Camera Magazine page for
Officially, the Minolta 16 story starts in 1955 when
a few sample cameras were sent to the U.S.A. For all practical purposes,
the story starts in 1957, when the camera went into production, although
it does not appear to have been brought into the U.K. until about 1960.
The first camera was made in seven different colours although only ever
sold in Great Britain as "silver". It is a simple camera, with a Rokkor
f/3.5 25 mm. fixed focus lens and a three speed shutter (1/25, 1/50 and
1/200 sec.) with X-synchronisation. The aperture and shutter speeds are
set using two wheels, set to one side, each with click-stops. A push-pull
action advances the film and sets the shutter. The lens gives a sharp
image from about five feet, but supplementary lenses were available for
1 m. and 0.6 m. In 1960, the camera and case cost about £18. Like
the rest of the cameras in the range, it accepts a Minolta cassette loaded
with 16 mm. film. It takes 10 mm. x 14 mm. pictures, a size which remained
constant until the last models in the series.
The next model, the Minolta 16 II, is an improved version
of the Minolta 16. It has a Rokkor 22 mm. f/2.8 fixed focus lens, and
a focal plane shutter (1/30 sec. to 1/500 sec. and B). Although this
camera was also made in several colours, it appears to have been imported
to Great Britain in "silver" only. It was first sold here in around
1961, when it cost about £16, including a case; by 1972, which
appears to have been the last year it was sold here, the price had increased
to about £27, but this price included a case, flashgun, neck chain,
UV and yellow filters.
About the same time as the Minolta 16 II was launched,
a cheaper version was also introduced. The Minolta 16 P has a Rokkor
f/3.5 25 mm. fixed focus lens and a single speed shutter (1/50 sec.).
The push-pull wind-on of the more expensive models is replaced by a
knob wind-on and there are symbols for aperture setting. In 1961 the
camera and case cost about £9, rising to about £12 in 1965,
after which it would appear to have been withdrawn, at least from the
In 1962, Minolta introduced a new model, the Minolta
16 EE. This camera has a Rokkor f/2.8 25 mm. lens with two-position
zone focusing. The exposure is controlled by a selenium meter linked
to the shutter; there is a viewfinder warning if there is insufficient
light. The five-speed focal plane shutter (1/30 sec. to 1/500 sec.)
is flash synchronised. In 1962, the camera and case cost about £29.
In 1963, an improved automatic camera was introduced,
the Minolta 16 EE II, with a built-in CdS meter. Minolta claimed that
this was the first subminiature camera to have a CdS cell as part of
the automatic exposure system. The coated Rokkor f/2.8 25 mm. lens has
two-position zone focusing. The shutter may be set to one of three positions;
"H" gives 1/200 sec., "L" gives 1/50 sec., and "F" is for use with flash,
giving 1/30 sec. When using "H" or "L", the meter sets an appropriate
aperture; when using "F" the aperture is set to f/11. The brightline
finder shows a warning signal if there is not enough light. In addition,
the camera has a cable release socket and tripod bush. In 1964, the
camera cost about £29.
The Minolta 16 PS was launched in about 1964; it did
not appear in this country until about 1967. It has a Rokkor f/3.5 25
mm. fixed focus lens and the original version had a two-speed shutter
(1/30 sec., 1/100 sec.); by 1968 this had been replaced by a single
speed (1/50 sec.) shutter. It is not clear whether the two-speed model
was ever imported into Britain. The aperture is set using weather symbols.
In 1968, this camera cost about £16, rising to about £20 in
1972, when a kit which included camera, case, flashgun and accessory
shoe was available.
The last of the cameras to take twenty pictures on
a cassette came out in about 1966. The Minolta 16 MG has a four-element
fixed focus Rokkor f/2.8 20 mm. lens and a built-in meter coupled to
the shutter (1/30 sec. to 1/250 sec.). There is an exposure warning
signal in the viewfinder. It was supplied alone, or as part of a kit.
In 1971 the camera alone cost about £43, while the kit cost about
£47. The kit included a case, flash, wrist strap, UV and yellow
In 1968, the first of the 12 mm. x 17 mm. format cameras
came out, taking 18 pictures on one Minolta cassette. The Minolta 16
MGS has a four element Rokkor f/2.8 23 mm. fixed focus lens and a CdS
match needle meter coupled to the aperture. The shutter (1/30 sec. to
1/500 sec.) locks if over/under exposure results from the shutter speed
selected. Like the earlier versions, this model was intended to be a
"system" camera; accessories include two flashguns (one for bulbs and
one for cubes), a developing tank, filters, close-up lenses and a copying
stand. Unlike the earlier models, there appears to have been more effort
put into marketing the accessories. In 1971, the camera and case cost
about £72, the camera and cube or bulb flash cost about £78,
the camera outfit with flash, filters and close-up lenses cost about
£98, and the "System Kit" cost about £165.
The final model in the range was the Minolta 16 QT.
This camera has a Rokkor f/3.5 23 mm. focusing lens and two-speed shutter
(1/30 sec. and 1/250 sec.) coupled to a CdS meter. A viewfinder indicator
shows the correct aperture. In 1972, the camera cost about £40
and the camera with bulb or cube flash cost about £46.
The last of the range appears in British lists, so
far as I can see, in 1973. Although the cameras have few really unusual
features, they are all competent items of equipment which would, when
new, have been far too expensive for most people to purchase. Most of
the cameras are surprisingly easy to find and few are in poor condition;
the accessories are much more difficult to find and are usually sold
with a camera. Boxed outfits fetch premium prices, provided the outfit
Minolta's policy of continual development, coupled
with the wide range of accessories available for the cameras (see lists
below) make this an interesting range of cameras for any collector.
Accessory shoe clamp for 16 II 17s. 1d.
Empty film cassette 2s. 4d.
Black and white film (choice of two) 6s. 4d.
Reversal film 12s. 8d.
Filter and Attachment lens set for Minolta 16 £2
Developing tank £2 0s. 9d.
Paper slide frames (22) 3s. 6d.
Special Pennant Enlarger (with 25 mm. f/3.5 Rokkor)
£18 3s. 4d.
Negative containers 15s.
No 0 attachment lens for M16/II 9s. (also No 1 and
No 2, also 9s. each)
Accessory shoe for 16P 13s. 11d.
Black and white filter set £1 0s. 7d.
Colour filter set £1 14s. 4d.
Close-up lens set £1 0s. 7d.
35 mm. negative carrier for Pennant 16 enlarger 14s.
f/3.5 50 mm. lens for Pennant 16 enlarger £7 0s.
For Minolta 16PS
Accessory shoe 12s. 8d.
Black and white filter set £1 3s. 7d.
Colour filter set £1 19s. 3d.
Close-up lens set £1 3s. 7d.
Minolta Baby Flash model III £2 6s. 8d.
For Minolta 16-II
Accessory shoe clamp 18s. 3d.
Colour filter set £2 14s. 6d.
Close-up lenses and yellow filter set £2 14s.
Minolta Baby Flash model III £2 6s. 8d.
For all Minolta 16 cameras
Black and white film (various) 6s. 2d.
Reversal film 9s. 2d.
Empty cartridge 2s. 5d.
Packet 22 Minolta paper slide mounts 4s. 3d.
Minolta viewer £1 14s. 9d.
Minolta 16 projector in case £13 13s. 9d.
Minolta 16 Developing Tank £2 5s. 9d.
Negative containers (100) £3 1s.
Minolta 16 enlarger with lens £19 14s. 10d.
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