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MINOLTA 16mm CAMERAS
From their modest beginnings after World War Two, the Minolta subminiature format rose to become the most popular Japanese 16mm, still-picture manufacturer and helped Minolta establish itself as a major player in the photographic industry. The revolutionary Minolta cassette is the closest the subminiature market ever came to a "standard" 16mm film format and it was copied by many other camera companies, even outside of Japan. With the exception of the Minox cassette, it is the long-distance runner of the submini world; Minolta manufactured and sold its film cassettes until 1995, and replicas are still being made in the Ukraine and China (?), today. Fortunately, even the older cameras are still very useable since the Minolta cassette used 16mm film (which is still readily available), and they did not require perforations in the film to advance the film. They are very easy to reload. Check out The Darkroom
The original Minolta 16mm camera was designed by the Konan
Institute and used the original Konan cassette. This cassette will not fit in any of the Minolta cameras -- or at least cameras with the Minolta name, since Minolta ended up making many cameras with the Konan name.
Basically, Minolta bought-out Konan. When Minolta took over, they redesigned the cassette using black felt for the light trap. There were actually several versions, nearly identical. The first was metal, but this was soon replaced with the more standard plastic type -- of which there were several versions. Minolta made two plastic models, identical except that on the second version a notch or indentation was cut into the cassette bridge to make it easier to break off the film take-up lobe for processing purposes. (If you have the newer version it's a good idea to fill in the notch with a little epoxy to make it last longer.) To complicate matters even more, similar cassettes were made by other companies, such as Yashica (which sold a camera that used the Minolta cassette), a company called FR (which sold the film and offered processing), and others. The Minolta cassettes are fairly easy to find today, and will fit in all of the cameras on this list. They will NOT fit in Mica and Konan.cameras.
To top it all off, there are even bogus Minolta cassettes being sold. For more information check out the NEWSTAND