Minolta SR-1

This is my Minolta SR-1 that I bought while at University. I used this camera extensively for the next thirty years. I Still have it and it still works.

Minolta SR-1

My Camera from University Days

This camera is very special to me. I bought it new in 1960 during my first year at University. It was the first new camera I had ever purchased and to this day I can remember the excitement I felt when I picked it up from the camera shop on Princess Street in Kingston, Ontario. I still have this camera and it is in pretty good condition. It was used heavily, hundreds of rolls of film, and it shows some wear. But it still works!

Minolta SR-1
Minolta SR-1
Minolta SR-1
Minolta SR-1
Leotax F Camera

The SR-2 came before the SR-1. This is a promotional brochure for the SR-2 and it lists the accessories this camera had available.

Minolta SR-1 Manual

Minolta SR-1 User Manual

Date: Introduced in 1960
Type: 35mm Rangefinder
Lens Mount: Minolta SR (Bayonet mount)
Focus: Manual
Exposure: none built in
Flash: FP and X
Shutter: Horizontal rubberized cloth focal plane
Speeds from 1 sec. to 1/500th
Frame Rate: Manual lever winding
Battery: none


Who can figure out the Japanese logic in naming cameras. Minolta’s first SLR was the SR-2 which came out in 1958. At the time it was a cutting edge machine. It boasted a top speed of 1/1000th of a second, it had a semi automatic diaphragm, and it had an instant return mirror. All features that were hard to find in an SLR. before 1960. And it came with a 55mm f/1.8 Rokkor lens. A pretty sweet package. And it was pricey.

As most manufacturers do, Minolta then came out with a less expensive model in July on 1959. This was the SR-1. It was basically an SR-2 but the top shutter speed was 1/500th and the standard lens was the slower 55mm f/2.0 Auto-Rokkor. This was an impressive lens none the less. I know because my SR-1 came with one and I took pictures with it for years.

The SR-1 was very successful and there were several models of it. Mine shown here is the Model “B”. The “B” does not appear on the camera but it is a naming convention to differentiate between the SR-1 models. Introduced in 1960, the year I bought mine, its main distinguishing features were the speed dial and the eye piece. The speed dial on the “A” model had to be lifted to turn it to change shutter speeds. Not so the SR-1 “B”. It just rotated with detentes at each setting. And the eyepiece had a plastic insert that screwed out and revealed a bayonet mount for attaching different accessories to the viewfinder. Other than that, there was little difference between the “A” and the “B”

The Minolta company was created in 1928 and in 1937 adopted the name Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko, KK which is the name appearing on my camera’s top plate. It was in 1962 that the Company finally changed its name to Minolta Camera, KK. although the name Minolta was first put on their cameras in 1932.

The Rokkor brand name was used on Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko lenses, and later Minolta lenses, from 1940 thru to 1980. The name came from Mount Rokko, a peak visible from the company’s glass making facility near Osaka.

All that said, this is a quality camera and pleasant to use even today. You have to have an external light meter, of course, but if you have that you’re set.

It is not my intention to do a major story on the SR series of Minolta cameras here. This is just a little introduction to one of my miscellaneous cameras. There is lots more detailed information on the internet. I suggest you start with Wikipedia

For a discussion of the Minolta lens mount have a look here.

Details of my camera are::

Collection No.:    C-173

Serial No.:            1148564

Condition:           Excellent

Accessories:       None

Acquisition:        New in 1960 – Kingston, Ontario

My SR-1 is the Model B. This is the manual for the SR-1 Model D. The major difference is the addition of a clip on CdS Light Meter.

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