(1961) By 1960, there were several 35mm SLR cameras on the market with built-in meters.  Not clip-on meters like Minolta offered on the SR-3 of 1960, but meters built right into the camera body itself.  Minolta knew that it needed to market a similar SLR camera -- and as soon as possible.  In 1961, it produced the ER -- with a built-in meter.  But while the ER took that giant step forward, it took one step backward at the same time.  Although it had a built-in meter, it lacked interchangeable lenses -- the only Minolta SLR with a non-removable lens.  In an attempt to compensate, Minolta was wise enough to produce converter lenses that screwed onto the prime lens, but these were large, heavy and expensive.  

Without a doubt, the major advantage of the ER was that it had automatic, shutter-preferred, exposure control.  Just select the shutter speed and the built-in selenium meter sets the aperture.  Quite a convenience at the time, although Nikon had already done this same thing the year before, 1961, with the Nikkorex 35 SLR. The Minolta ER also offered complete manual control of the exposure.

Here are the other major features of the Minolta ER:

For a comparative look at the major features of the ER, check out MINMAN's SLR table -- the world's most complete!

With the introduction of the ER, Minolta was trying to address the market demand for an SLR with a built-in meter.  But despite its full list of features, without an interchangeable lens, Minolta knew the ER would not sell as well as it might.  The ER was not a huge marketing success for this reason, but still it created a new demand in 35mm SLR cameras -- automatic exposure control.   Minolta added this feature, and then instead of having one problem they now had two.  They not only had to produce an SLR with a built-in meter and interchangeable lenses, now they had to create an SLR with a built-in meter and interchangeable lenses and automatic exposure control!  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.  The job of producing a 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses and a built-in meter would not be accomplished until the next year with the SR-7.  And an SLR with ALL of these features would not appear until 1972 -- the incredible XK.  Many think that the XK was the first Minolta camera to offer auto-exposure, but the ER beat it by more than a decade.  However, the ER laid the auto-exposure groundwork that made the fabulous XK possible.

Camera Minolta ER
Years made 1961-1963
Type Mechanical 35mm SLR
Shutter Fully mechanical, horizontal, cloth focal plane shutter.
Metering Non-TTL (through-the-lens), selenium meter, coupled to shutter speed and film speed
Meter sensitivity ?
Exposure modes Manual mode, and automatic, shutter-preferred, exposure control
Automatic exposure
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism
Focusing screen Fresnel-field screen with a micro-prism center
Lens mount none
Lenses Optimum: early Auto Rokkor
Usable: later Auto Rokkor, Rokkor, MC Rokkor, MC Rokkor-X, MC Celtic, MD Rokkor, MD Celtic, MD Minolta
Mirror Instant return mirror
Film speeds ASA 10 to 400
Shutter speeds Mechanical: 1/30 to 1/500, plus B.
Shutter preferred automatic: 1/30 to 1/500
Flash synch X: B; 1 - 1/60
FP: B; 1 - 1/15
M: B; 1 - 1/15
MF: B; 1 - 1/15
Flash connection Clip-on, cold shoe
X and FP PC contacts
Film counter Automatically resetting type counting upward
Battery --
DOF/Stop-down button No
Film Back Non-interchangeable
Multiple exposures No
Film advance Lever type
Self-timer Mechanical, overrideable, non-cancellable, adjustable from 4 to 10 seconds
Film reminder No
Other Cable release connection, tripod socket
Body size 2 x 3 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Body weight One pound two ounces


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