the Camera

Just as an 8 x 10 view camera may not be the best choice for a yacht race, a Minox is not the ideal choice for Yosemite murals. The Minox, however, is unique in that it does provide the best assurance that you will get a quality image in either setting. It may be the only camera which can always be carried, provide "photo album" prints equal to any, and, at the same time, make negatives for fine exhibition quality prints.

 The more one understands the Minox camera, the greater must be the admiration for its inventor Walter Zapp. Designed in the mid-thirties, built in significant numbers in Riga, Latvia prior to WW II, the camera has undergone a number of modifications and technological enhancements through the years, but the principles upon which the design rests remain unchanged.

As a consequence of the short focal length and "normal" field of view, the Minox can provide a unique perspective, which is fully developed in an article by Peter Zimmerman.


The remarkable enlargeability of the Minox negative is the result of ingenious design, fine craftsmanship, and modern film technology.

The lens of the 8x11mm Minox has a focal length of 15mm ("normal" would be 13.6mm) so provides the same field of view as a 49mm lens on a 35mm camera. Maximum sharpness was achieved with the early models, even at the fixed f/3.5 aperture, by partially correcting the lens AND by holding the film in a concave film gate. The lens is recessed and protected behind a permanent UV filter, thus has a permanent "lens shade."

Closing the camera

  • Opens the film gate & advances the film.
  • Advances the film frame counter.
  • Locks the shutter release.
  • Tension on shutter mechanism is relaxed.
  • Resets the built-in filters on early models.

Opening the camera

  • Exposes the lens window and viewfinder.
  • Closes the film gate, curving the film into place.
  • Cocks the shutter.
  • Unlocks the shutter release.

Speed of the metal blade shutter, located between the lens and the UV shield, is controlled with a thumb-dial which can be set to any speed between 1/2 and 1/1000 second, (T)ime or (B)ulb. The special shutter blades operate like a focal plane shutter except that the speed is always the same, exposure being determined by the release interval of the second blade. This means that there is never the distortion associated with conventional focal plane shutters operating at high speeds.

On early models the frame counter extended to 50 exposures.

The distance dial allows you to focus from 8 inches to infinity. A curved line is engraved on the camera body to represent the depth of field when the desired distance is aligned with the center dot. Since depth of field depends on the degree of enlargement proposed, refer to the discussion of depth of field for critical work. The engraving on the camera is probably adequate for high quality 5" x 7" prints

The entire viewfinder is linked to the distance dial, moving to align the image seen by the viewfinder to that seen by the lens, providing automatic parallax compensation throughout the focusing range.

In 1970 the "Complan" lens, with the curved film gate shown above, was replaced with the "Minox" lens, and a flat film plane.....................................Is there a difference in performance?

IIIs

15 x 27 x 80mm

1936 - 1969 "Complan" lens

sn 58.500 - 147.494

B

15 x 28 x 95mm

1958 - 1970 "Complan" lens
1970 - 1972 "Minox" lens

sn 600.001 - 984.328

C

15 x 28 x 120mm

1969 - 1970 "Complan" lens
1970 - 1978 "Minox" lens

sn 2.300.101 - 2.473.694

LX
series

15 x 28 x 108mm

1978 - Present "Minox" lens

sn 2.500.001 -


EC and ECX feature

  • 15mm, f/5.6 lens (stopped down "Minox" lens)
  • FIXED FOCUS at 2 Meters
  • Automatic Exposure only

EC
ECX

15 x 30 x 80mm

1981 - Present

sn 2.700.001 -


SHUTTER SPEEDS
Mechanical models have continuously variable shutter speeds
Electronic models use only the nearest marked shutter speed

T

B

2

5

10

15

20

30

50

60

100

125

200

250

500

1000

Auto

ASA
Range *

IIIs

Mechanical

x

x

x

x

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

x

B

Mechanical

x

x

x

x

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

-

x

x

C

Electronic

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

6-400

LX
series

Electronic

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

12-400

EC
ECX

Electronic

max.

x

25-400

* for Automatic Exposure operation