135compact.com       8x11mm film ultra compact cameras       Minox C

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 C, was launched in 1969,
the successor of the Minox B. The camera has a CdS meter and full automatic control. So its body became longer than the B model. I have two of these.

* 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 Minox lens, F3.5, min. focus 0.2m (!)
Shutter speeds: 10s (7s for early models) - 1/1000 in automatic mode, 1/15 - 1/1000 in manual mode. There is a trick to get a kind of T setting (see at the bottom)
8x11mm picture format
Size 120x28x16,  Weight 102 gr.
ISO 6-400, full automatic mode via CdS meter, full manual mode, viewfinder with full parallax correction, special flash socket, built-in ND filter with automatic correction, low speed indicator

Some pictures of the camera:

An original box.

The camera presented like a jewel.

Room for accessories.

Another camera, case, chain and manual.

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. ISO 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. To the right: CdS meter window.

Seen from the back.
Finder with full parallax correction.

Camera open. If the lever at the speed setting is moved towards the back, the LED would indicate slow speeds in case of.

Camera open, seen from below. To the right 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 cartridge with its case.

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

The film chamber with a cartridge inserted. The serial number indicates a camera from 1972.

If you turn the extended camera, you have access to the battery compartment. Takes a PX 27 battery. Replacement is easily available (4 LR43).

Camera in case and chain. The chain is very handy for close focussing. It has beads at 20, 24, 30 and 40cm. The total length is 60cm.

Camera in case, open.

If you want to unlock the camera from the case, insert the strap lug into the slit, push and make a quarter turn from horizontal to vertical. This releases the camera.

This camera is very easy to use, slide it open and it's ready.
If it's set to automatic, there is nothing to set except distance before pressing the shutter release. After taking a picture, you have to close and open the camera for film advance and shutter cocking (push-pull). Putting a film is easy, drop the cartridge into the film chamber, advance to the first frame and that's it.

It's a very good full 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 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 point and shoot camera even smaller than those for 16mm film.

The Minox magazine "Der Minox Freund" no. 20 (1970) gives a trick to have a kind of T setting: If you set the speed selector in the middle between 1/1000 and A and press the shutter, it will open and then shut off all electronics. So it stays open as long as you want. To shut it, cover the lens and push the camera together. That's it. Set the speed to normal again and it will work like normal again.