135compact.com       16mm film ultra compact cameras       Minolta 16 MG-S

The Minolta 16 MG was first released 1970, shortly before the launch of 110 film cassettes. It already had a bigger picture area, similar to 110 film. It was the ultimate top class camera for 16mm Minolta cartridge film
* (see below). It has a very good, yet fixed focus lens, a choice of speeds and apertures and a built-in CdS meter. There was a wide choice of accessories available.

* 16mm film is a movie film format, as was 35mm film. In the early days it was cut from 35mm film and thus had perforations on one side (single perforation). Please note, that the perfs and their area of 35mm are bigger than those of modern 16mm film. As soon as 1923 Kodak introduced a set with camera, projector, tripod, screen and splicer (or was it a slitter?) aiming at amateurs. The new format was rapidly adopted by still camera producers to build smaller devices. The film usualy sits in a cartridge, but no standard has been established, many have 2 cassettes, one feeding and one taking. So every maker made his own system. Some, like Minolta, even sold a choice of readily available film cassettes. If you want to use your camera, you should at least have one (pair of) cassette(s).

16mm film is still made. There is double perf, single perf and unperforated film. Check, which one suits your camera. Some need perfs to advance. Smaller picture formats can use double perf film, bigger ones would have the perfs (or sprockets) visible in the picture area. There is 10mm of usable space between the perfs of double perf film, 12.5mm to the side of single perf film. Film can also be s(p)lit from other formats like 120.

The camera's 
main features are:

23mm F2.8 Rokkor lens, 4 elements in 3 groups, F2.8-F16, min. focus ~2m(!)m, built-in close-up lens 1.2m at F2.8 down to 0.67m at F16
Shutter speeds 1/30 - 1/250
12x17mm picture format, Minolta cartridge, can use only single perf or unferfed 16mm film
Size 108x46x27,  Weight 210 gr.
25 - 400 ISO, viewfinder, only parallax compensation marks, CsS meter, automatic or manual aperture, flash, many accessories

The presentation case.

Camera, chain, flash, filters, macro/close-up lenses and flash bulbs.

Camera closed, lens well protected. Shutter release is blocked when the camera is closed.

Camera front open.

Camera open, close-up/portrait lens in place. There is a warning in the viwfinder.

Camera front.
A dial for the ISO setting.

Back view. The viewer only shows parrallax marks.

Seen from the top. Exposure meter, the needle shows the aparture. A=automatic, the aperture is set automatically. The outer ring chooses the speeds which go from 1/30s to 1/500. The shutter button sits near the front. Film counter counts backwards from 18. At film start and end you need to advance twice. Film
advance wheel.

At flash setting (inner dial) you should set 1/30s as speed and then choose the aperture by moving the inner dial. The needle doesn't show measured results any longer, it indicates the chosen aperture. As the choice of speed is stll possible, you can use flash setting for total manual control, speed and aperture.

Seen from below. Film compartment lid with opening button. Tripod socket.

Film compartment open.

Battery compartment. The old PX 675 is no longer made. There are adapers for exact voltage, but a simple LR44 worked on mine.

Battery compartment of the flash. To get there, just flrmly tear the metal cover off. Takes a 15v battery, which became rare and expensive, but can be replaced with a DIY pile of 10 ordinary button cells.

Camera and flash. Takes ordinary AG-1 bulbs, still available. The camera has a PC flash socket, it can handle electronic flash.

Seen from the back. The bulb ejection button is at the side..

3 filters.

Filter mounted. It slides over te front, meter included.

2 close-up lenses, the 40cm could be regarded as a makro lens.

The lenses slide over the front, finder included..

This camera is very easy to use, silde it open and it's ready.
It has shutter settings, the aperture is automatic. You only have to frame, which is easy via the bright framelines. The focus is fixed. After taking a picture, you have to turn the advance wheel for film advance and shutter cocking. Putting a film is easy as well, you drop the film into the compartment, advance to the first frame and that's it.

It's a good luxury point and shoot camera with a very good lens and nice picture quality, good quality finish in a very small pocketable body. This camera feels solid. It's a major advance that aperture and speed are no longer coupled. The lens is good, but it's focussed to about 3.5m. So sharp pictures at infinity are only possible at very small apertures. A focussable lens would have been much better. Obviously they opted for the ease of use.
 Picture results were good. It has the bigger 12x17 format, which means + 50% of picture area.