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Minolta Happy-S
France Version française
Photos by RL text by RL. From the collection of Renaud Laemmli. Last update 2017-04-28 par Sylvain Halgand.

Manufactured or assembled in Japan from (Circa) 1933 to (After) 1933.
Index of rarity in France: Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
Inventory number: 6471

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Chronology of cameras Minolta 
History of the brand Minolta New window

For the first time, Minolta is bringing to market a fully Japanese device. It is known that at the beginning, the Osaka firm had installed German lenses and shutters. The lens proposed here is not yet manufactured by Minolta, but by Asahi Kogaku which will become Pentax thereafter. On the other hand, the Crown shutter is indeed a "in house" creation, replacing the Lidex already equipping the Arcadia, as well as the first copies of Happy.
The only thing allowing to identify Minolta is the "MTS" logo engraved to the right of the lens: remember that these three letters mean "Molta TaShima", unless the "S" is for "Shashinki", camera in Japanese.
The Minolta Happy, by its characteristics, is located between the Sirius and the Arcadia, two devices that preceded it. The first did not have any movement of the front, the second proposed the horizontal and vertical drift, the Happy only offers the latter (+ 6.5 and -3 mm).
It was delivered with three plate holders, a ground glass and a film pack, all stored in a thick leather bag with clasp.
About the name: "Happy" was undoubtedly a registered trademark of Asanuma Shokai, which at that time became the exclusive distributor of Minolta. This partnership will last until 1945, and it can therefore be assumed that this is a model created especially for this common agreement.
This model has a self-timer, equipped with a Crown-S shutter. It is for this reason that collectors have got into the habit of talking about Happy-S for this version, the "S" standing for Self-timer. It seems that the device was, from the beginning, proposed with or without a self timer and therefore there is no anteriority of one on the other (or the opposite). The simple model is so called Happy-B, being equipped with a Crown-B shutter. It is of a relentless logic ... It is part of a median series (n ° 4955) but still has the frontal decoration of the beginnings: shortly after the logo "MTS" has disappeared and the lens is  framed by three concentric parts of circles, at right and at left.
The Minolta Happy has been produced with approximately 5600 copies, type B and S combined, and nothing allows to know the relative proportions. It is surprising, however, to see practically only models B in the various documents. Does this mean that Happy-S is extremely rare? Not necessarily.
It is clear that in a few years, Minolta has acquired a certain know-how: the construction of this device has nothing to envy to the best Teutonic production of the same time. The body, entirely metallic, is covered with quality leather: almost 80 years later, only the surfabe of the ground glass frame was damaged because of the rust on the surroundings! It was renovated for the photo.
A part of the fittings is nickel-plated, the rest is painted black. The inside of the bed is covered with an astonishing vermiculous paint. A single complaint could be made due to the absence of springs pushing the bed to the opening. It is necessary to hold the device with the bed down so that it opens by gravity, when the latch is unlocked.
Obviously, you have to pull the facade manually by pinching the "ears", to bring the focus mark in front of the infinity. The adjustment of the distance can then be done by turning the knob to the right of the bed. The bellows double extension allows of course the close-ups.
There are two tripod threads, and a red spirit level, fastened to the glossy viewfinder, verifies the perfect horizontality.
The scale of the speeds has a standard progression (5 - 10 - 25 - 50 - 100 - 200), whereas that of the openings is more exotic: 4.5 - 6.3 - 9 - 12.5 - 18 - 25!
The focus marks, probably in meters, are 1 - 1 1/2 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 7 and Infinite.

Minolta Happy-S
Le levier du retardateur est à droite, en rouge.

Le levier du retardateur est à droite, en rouge.

Minolta Happy-S