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Minolta 16 Cameras

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 details.


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 British market.

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 filters.

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 is complete.

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.

1961 Accessories

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 7s. 8d.

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. 6d.

f/3.5 50 mm. lens for Pennant 16 enlarger £7 0s. 8d.

 

1967 Accessories

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. 6d.

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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