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Minolta SR-7 - 1962
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• First SLR with built-in CdS meter

• $269.50 with f1.4 lens in 1963 ($1920 in 2010 dollars)

Minolta's first SLR, the SR-2, was introduced at Master Photo Dealers and Finishers Association show in March 1959 in Philadelphia--the same show where the Canonflex and Nikon F were introduced. A cheaper SR-1 followed a few months later; obviously, they were planning the SR-1 when they decided to call the first one the SR-2. Then came the SR-3, and then the SR-7, which was the first SLR with a built-in CdS meter. Minolta claimed it was the first still camera with a CdS meter, but an obscure rangefinder, the Taron Marquis (also shown in this app), beat them by a few months. The first Photomic finder for the Nikon F also seems to have come a bit earlier, but it wasn't built-in.

Who was actually first doesn't really matter. What did matter was that the meter was now small, not huge like the selenium cell it replaced. That meant that soon engineers would figure out how to put the meter inside the camera so it could read the light coming in through the lens.

The SR7 meter is coupled to the shutter-speed dial. When you turn the dial, a scale marked with f-stops that you view in a window on top slides back and forth and a needle indicates the recommended aperture, which you then set manually on the lens in the usual way. You don't see the needle in the viewfinder--just on top.

Minolta SR-7Minolta SR-7Minolta SR-7Ad from Popular Photography, Nov. 1962
Ad from Popular Photography, Nov. 1962Ad from Popular Photography, March 1963Ad from Popular Photography, March 1965Review from Popular Photography, April 1963

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