135compact.com 8x11mm ultra compact cameras Minox B
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 B, was launched in 1958, its successor was the
Minox C. The camera has a selenium meter which is coupled to the speed setting. So it's a semi-automatic camera, easy to use
* 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 97x28x16, Weight 92 gr. ISO 25-400, viewfinder
with full parallax correction, special flash socket, coupled selenium meter, built-in green and ND filter
with automatic correction for the ND filter
Some pictures of the camera:
The camera, case, chain and manual.
Case open. The chain is very handy for close focussing.
It has beads at 20, 24, 30 and 40cm. The total length is 60cm.
The camera closed.
Camera front closed. Well protected and shutter blocked.
Back view. Nothing to see in closed mode.
from the top. Distance setting.
Film counter. Shutter release. Speed setting. Meter.
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. To the right: Meter window.
Green filter in front of the lens. The filter slider is above the viewer.
ND filter in front of the lens. It sits beyond the green filter. It has
to be in place before metering as it switches the meter to a matching
Seen from the back. Finder with full parallax correction.
Camera open, seen from the top.
Meter scale. Aim the subject, press the button for 2-3 second and
release. The needle will show the result and not move again. Then meet
the big triangle with the position of the needle by moving the speed
dial, they are coupled. You now have set the appropriate speed. It's
not necessary to set the point of a speed indication, the camera can
deal with intermediate settings.
Meet the point next to the triangle in case of the green filter before
the lens. If you use the ND filter, just slide it before the lens and
measure again. The meter takes it into account.
Only when you change to a film with a different film speed, the meter
has to coupled anew. Turn the speed dial until the little ISO Triangle
meets the new film ISO. The marks to the right and the left help to set
intermediate film speeds. Then open the film compartment and change the
film. Do not close it yet. Now turn the the speed dial to 1/100s. Then
close the film compartment and you are set.
One more indication: if the coupling turns the setting beyond 1/2s, the
camera has to be set to B or T for picture taking. Nevertheless there
are 2 indications: if it stops at the point between 1/2 and B, you have
to expose 1 second, if it stops at B, 2 seconds via setting to B ot T.
Please use the remote shutter unit, if you have one.
Camera open, seen from below. To the right of the opening: lever to
open the film compartment. Press with your thumbmail and pull further
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 an early model from 1961.
camera is very easy to use, slide it open and it's ready. Aim
the subject, press the meter button for 2-3 second and release. The needle
will show the result and not move again. Then meet the big meter triangle
with the position of the needle by moving the speed dial, they are
coupled. You now have set the appropriate speed. It's not necessary to
set the point of a speed indication, the camera can deal with
intermediate settings. Set the distance. Look through the finder again and compose your picture, then press the shutter.
a picture, you have to close and open the camera for film advance and
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
a very good semi-automatic camera
with a very good lens, superb picture quality, good quality
finish in an extremely small body. This camera feels very solid. It has
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
point and shoot camera even smaller than those for 16mm film.