The BETA, the ZOOM, "From the Mind of Minolta, Tony Randall, bayonet toner load, re-cycled toner and one tenth of 1% was the bomb!
I'm not sure when the Minolta Beta 450Z was officially released, something is telling me circa 1985. By 1986 I had my own dealership and was still buying these copiers new from an Authorized Minolta dealer (funny, the dealer that I was buying machines from is the dealer I'm working for now). Do we remember the word "skating"? "Skating" was a slang term for an Authorized Dealer that resold copy machines to non-authorized dealers.
The quality of the prints were awesome, in fact when we demonstrated copy quality (we don't do that anymore), I would tell the DM to look at the a's, e's & o's in the copy, do you see any fill in the small spaces? The answer was no, and I would then state "that's excellent copy quality, right"?
The heart of the Minolta 450Z was the ability to reduce or enlarge documents to one tenth of one percent! Come to think of it, I don't even believe that capability is built in to the new systems that we have. Since, the Minolta 450Z was the first zoom lens copy machine (meaning you could zoom up to 200% of the image and down to 50%), we had print shops, advertising agencies (remember those), publishers and newspapers buying these machines off of the demo!! Later, we found out that these systems were also great for engineers that also had to resize or drawings to scale.
The system had a non moving platen glass, two paper trays with the by pass built into one of the trays. There was an optional document feeder and I think that was it for the accessories. In some cases we added a third party Gradco sorter to the system. Those were the days when buyers bought from emotion and the quality of the demonstration. If you could wow them, and move them along with questions that they answered yes to, in the end you would be signing the deal on the spot.
In our demonstrations, we would ask for documents from the customer, from there we would put them on glass and then ask what size they would like to enlarge of reduce the image. With print shops they would breakout this proportional wheel scale to tell us the percentage of enlargement that they wanted. They would then break out the ruler to see if the size was to scale, and then the really anal buyers would break out a loop and check out the dot pattern of the image! OMG!!!
All in all, we had have a lot of fun demonstrating the Minolta 450Z and made a boat load of sales, because there was no competing model if you needed to size images. It was copier nirvana!!
Interesting to note, that it's my belief that there has been a few models of office equipment over the years that stood the test of time, quality and reliability. If there was a Hall of Fame for Office Technology I would rate the Minolta 450Z right along side of the IBM Selectric typewriter, the HP LaserJet II.