More about History


The company's first copier, Minolta Copymaster, (a wet-process diazo copier) is completed

Minolta (named Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko at the time) set about development of optical equipment, particularly copiers, leveraging their technical expertise in camera products, and completed the first copier, Minolta Copymaster, a wet-process diazo copier, in 1960. After the introduction of this product, Minolta continued development efforts to meet customer needs that were growing rapidly backed by the advancement of the information society.


Minolta Hi-Matic camera is used by astronaut John Glenn in his Friendship 7 mission, the first American manned orbital space flight

During the 1950s, Minolta (named Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko at the time) was among the first in the Japanese industry to participate in camera fairs in the USA and take positive steps to expand business in overseas markets. In those days, the USA was in a fierce competition with the USSR regarding space exploration. To compete with the USSR (which succeeded in the world's first manned space flight), the USA launched the Friendship 7 mission with their national pride at stake. For this important mission, NASA selected the Minolta Hi-Matic camera to record the space flight from among a number of candidates all over the world, and the Hi-Matic camera successfully completed its role in space. This great accomplishment made the name of Minolta instantly famous worldwide.


The first European subsidiary is established in Hamburg, Germany

In December 1962, Konica (named Konishiroku Photo Industry Co., Ltd. at the time) established Camera Europe Center in Hamburg, Germany to reinforce its distribution and after-sales service systems in the European market. In the following year, Konica made its debut at the 8th Photokina fair held in Cologne, and steadily increased its exports to Europe.


High-performance photostatic plain paper copier, U-Bix480, is launched

After years of R&D efforts and using its proprietary technology, Konica (named Konishiroku Photo Industry Co., Ltd. at the time) succeeded in development of an electro-photographic copier using plain paper, or plain paper copier (PPC) that is widely used today. First introduced in a business show held in Tokyo in 1970, this model was launched in 1971 when it was given the name U-Bix480. It achieved such a great success that orders surpassed the production capacity of the company. After the introduction of this model, copiers became the company's core products, along with cameras and films.


Sakura Color ID System, a driver's license printing system, begins service across Japan


The world's first 35mm camera with built-in flash and auto exposure functions, Konica C35EF, is launched

Consistent efforts to maximize ease of operation led to the development of the C35EF, the world's first 35mm camera with built-in flash and auto exposure functions. This product was designed to meet the basic needs of general users for a camera that would allow them to take photos at any time without the complicated process of adjusting exposure settings. This product was a phenomenal success and heralded the popularization of cameras.


The world's first finger-measurement type pulse oximeter, OXIMET MET-1471, is launched

A pulse oximeter is a device which measures the oxygen saturation level of arterial blood (SpO2) without drawing blood. Due to its ability to detect the amount of oxygen in the body on a real-time basis, this device is widely used in operating rooms and intensive care units in hospitals, as well as for treating respiratory outpatients. Minolta (named Minolta Camera Co., Ltd. at the time) launched OXIMET MET-1471, the world's first finger-measurement type pulse oximeter, and has since continued development, production and distribution of this product.


The world's first 35mm compact autofocus camera, Konica C35AF, is launched

The world's first autofocus camera, the Konica C35AF, was developed through dedicated R&D efforts to prevent defocusing, which, according to a market survey, was responsible for thirty-six percent of failed photos. With its autofocus function, this camera allowed users to take clear photos easily and freely just by pressing the shutter button.


TV commercial for the Minolta X-7 featuring Yoshiko Miyazaki causes a sensation

Minolta (named Minolta Camera Co., Ltd. at the time) launched a TV commercial featuring a female university student, Yoshiko Miyazaki, to promote the Minolta X-7, a user-friendly, high cost-performance single-lens reflex camera with automatic exposure control for general users. The commercial, along with its song, caused a great sensation in Japan and largely contributed to the successful sales of this product.


The world's first copier with stepless zoom magnification/reduction function, EP450Z, is launched

The EP450Z offered by Minolta (named Minolta Camera Co., Ltd. at the time) featured a stepless zoom function allowing users to choose any magnification/reduction ratios between 0.64 and 1.42. Compared with conventional copiers with fixed magnification/reduction ratios, this product boasted superior operability and enjoyed great success worldwide. This product was also equipped with sophisticated functions such as automatic document feeder and automatic paper selection. For its user-friendliness and highly functional design, the EP450Z was awarded the Good Design Award in Japan. With the success of this model, copiers became the core products of Minolta.