135compact.com       8x11mm ultra compact cameras       Minox A IIIs

The first Minox was released in 1936 by Walter Zapp, a
Baltic German. The camera uses special Minox film* (see below). The Riga factory VEF manufactured the camera from 1937 to 1943. After War the camera was redesigned and production resumed in Germany in 1948. Due to its tiny size, the Minox was rapidly well known as a spy camera. Walter Zapp originally wanted the Minox to be a camera for everyone, requiring only little photographic skills. The camera was produced to high standards, manufacturing costs of the Minox were too high for a broad market. So it became more or less a luxury item. All Minox cameras are designed to be used at full aperture, so there is no aperture setting. This needs good optics. They are able to focus down to 20cm (!)

The model presented, a Minox A IIIs, was launched in 1954,
its successor was the Minox B. In principle, there was no "A" model. With the launch of the B model, the older models were classified as "A". Commonly the A is the Riga model, the A II is the relaunch after the war in 1948, the A III is the model with a new lens in 1950 and the A IIIs is the last model without a meter, which finally has a PC flash connection. As it's much smaller than the meter models, it stayed in production until 1969, year of the lauch of the C model.

* Minox subminiature film is a special film format for 8x11mm negatives on 9.25mm film. It is often referred to as 8mm film, which is wrong, as 8mm is a movie format. It comes in cartidges or cassettes, ready to load like the much later 110 film.

Minox film is still made by other companies, but it's a bit hard to find. If you have some cartridges, you can reload them. You will need a matching film slitter, a dark room or a good changing bag and some patience.

15mm F3.5 coated Complan lens, F3.5, min. focus 0.2m (!)
Shutter speeds: 1/2s - 1/1000, B and T setting
8x11mm picture format
Size 82x28x16,  Weight 70 gr.
viewfinder with full parallax correction, special flash socket, built-in green and orange filter

Some pictures of the camera:

The camera in case, chain.

Case open.
The chain has no beads. The total length is 60cm.

The camera closed.

Camera front closed. Well protected and shutter blocked.

Back view. Nothing to see in closed mode.

Seen from the top. Distance setting. Film counter. Shutter release.
Speed setting.

Seen from below. Nothing to see as well

Camera open. To the left: Lens behind shutter. The ring indicates that the shutter is cocked. Viewer and filter slider.

Seen from the back.
Finder with full parallax correction.

Camera open, seen from the top.

Flash connection.

Camera open, seen from below. To the left of the opening: lever to open the film compartment. Press with your thumbmail and pull further apart.

Camera film compartment open.
Minox sold its own film in double cartridges.

A Minox cartridges with their cases.

For more information about Minox cartridges and accessories, please consult this page.

The film chamber. The serial number indicates a model from 1956.

Size comparison of the models A, B and C.

Size comparison again.

A very useful accessory is the Minox meter. There is more information about it on the accessory page.

This camera is very easy to use, slide it open and it's ready.
Aim the subject, compose your picture, then press the shutter. After taking a picture, you have to close and open the camera for film advance and shutter cocking (push-pull). Please note that film is advanced every time you open and close the camera. So if you have opened the camera, take a photo before closing it. If not, you will lose it anyway. If you want just one single photo, close the camera after taking the picture and do not open it again. Putting a film is easy, drop the cartridge into the film chamber, advance to the first frame and that's it. As the camera has no meter, you have to judge or take a seperate meter (see picture above).

It's a very good camera with a very good lens, superb picture quality, good quality finish in an extremely small body. This camera feels very solid. It has a luminous lens. Picture results were good. It can focus down to 20cm without extra lenses. It's a good choice if you want a high quality camera even smaller than those for 16mm film.