Japan 1952 – Compact – 35 mm – Rare.
The Minolta-35 was launched in the spring of 1947.
At the time, Minolta had to recover from the war with only three factories left. Photographic film was rare, reserved primarily for medical radiography. The 120 format being prohibited by the authorities, camera manufacturers turned to the smaller formats and the Minolta 35 was released in this context.
The Minolta 35 is usually considered a copy of the already famous but overpriced Leica III, but it has several significant differences, making it more of a Leica-inspiration, rather than a direct copy.
The build quality is truly excellent, and the camera features very interesting innovations like a combined viewfinder and rangefinder eyepiece (negating the need to move the sight from one window to the other), a self-timer and a hinged rear door to facilitate film loading (instead of loading film through the bottom like in most rangefinders, including the Leicas).
The Minolta-35 range of cameras was very successful and was one of the first Japanese cameras to see success outside of Japan after the war. It is considered as one of the 3 best Leica alternatives in Japan with the Nicca and Leotax.
It was manufactured during a twelve-year production period, totaling about 40,000 units before being discontinued in 1959.