Minolta CLE

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Minolta CLE
Minolta CLE 2629939638 107c07ce16 o.jpg
Type 35 mm rangefinder camera
Lens mount Leica M-mount
Focus Manual
Exposure Automatic aperture priority
Flash Fixed hot shoe, TTL contacts
Exposure metering TTL
Battery 2 A76
Body composition or special features Plastic and black metal chrome plating over plastic.
Dimensions 124.5 mm × 77.5 mm × 32 mm (4.90 in × 3.05 in × 1.26 in)
Weight 380.1 g (13.41 oz)

The Minolta CLE is a TTL-metering aperture-priority automatic 35 mm rangefinder camera taking Leica M lenses, introduced by Minolta in 1980.

Leica and Minolta signed a technical cooperation agreement in June 1972.[1] One of its results was the joint development of the Leica CL, a compact rangefinder camera introduced in 1973 and discontinued a few years later. The CLE was a new rangefinder body resembling the Leica CL.


The Minolta CLE has an electronic focal plane shutter to 1/1000, and a TTL (through-the-lens) SPD (Silicon Photo Diode) exposure meter with aperture-priority automatic or manual exposure, and automated ambient and flash exposure metering system continuing to work and dynamically adjusting the shutter speed and TTL-OTF flash during the exposure itself. The ambient metering worked in a very similar way to that employed by the then current Olympus OM2n SLR camera. Ambient light was measured by the SPD as it was reflected off a pattern on the shutter curtains. It also proved particularly useful if filters were being used. None of these features would appear on any other body for M-mount lenses until the Konica Hexar RF of 1999 (which has all but TTL-OTF flash metering and dynamic exposure). The viewfinder has projected frames for 28mm, 40mm and 90mm focal lengths.

The Minolta CLE is reputed to be relatively reliable. The CLE is based on the Minolta XG-series SLRs, for which there are plenty of parts and donor bodies available.


Three Rokkor lenses were made by Minolta specially for the CLE: the M-Rokkor 28mm f:2.8 wide-angle, the M-Rokkor(-QF) 40mm f:2 standard and the M-Rokkor 90mm f:4 tele. The 28mm lens has some problems with the durability of the coating, and it is recommended to check the presence of white spots on the coating before buying.

Lens 28mm f/2.8 40mm f/2 90mm f/4
Construction 7 elements in 5 groups 6 elements in 4 groups 4 elements in 4 groups
Angle of view 75° 57° 27°
Coating Minolta Achromatic Minolta Achromatic Minolta Achromatic
Min. focusing dist. 0.8m (2ft. 7-1/2 in.) 0.8m (2ft. 7-1/2 in.) 1m (3ft. 3-3/8 in.)
Aperture scale 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22
Aperture Full and half-click stops Full and half-click stops Full and half-click stops
Filter-thread diam. 40.5mm 40.5mm 40.5mm
Dimensions diam. 51 x 35.5mm (diam. 2 x 1-13/32 in.) diam. 51 x 24.5mm (diam. 2 x 31/32 in.) diam. 51 x 60mm (diam. 2 x 2-3/8 in.)
Weight 135g (4-3/4 oz.) 105g (3-11/16 oz.) 250g (8-13/16 oz.)


Gold edition[edit]

The Minolta CLE was sold in black finish, except for a gold edition, limited to 300 and sold only in the Japanese market.[3] The top plate is gold with black engravings. The bottom plate, strap lugs, hot shoe and lens release button are gold too, as well as the metal parts of the advance lever and shutter release. The shutter speed disc and lens rings have gold colour numbers. The set includes a standard lens with gold plated bayonet mount and a leather case with a plate marked CLE GOLD LIMITED.[4]


  1. ^ Year and month: Francesch, p. 49.
  2. ^ Minolta M-Rokkor lenses instruction manual
  3. ^ See this page at Cameraquest.
  4. ^ Observation of a gold CLE in a Yahoo Japan auction.

External links[edit]

This article was originally based on "Minolta CLE" in Camerapedia, retrieved at an unknown date under the GNU Free Documentation License.