“Did it make you feel like a Spy”? was Hamish’s response to my question regarding whether or not he was interested in a piece about the Minox B. Well, it does. But the fact of the matter is, in most cases, you can point the thing right at people and they do not even realize it is a camera….even when they see it: “What is that thing?”.
But the “miniature” does not stop at the camera itself. It goes on to include the film (three rolls of 36 exposure Minox film can be sliced and hand-rolled from one 36 exposure roll of 35mm film,) and the processing ( only 56 ML of of developer solution needed to fill the tiny Minox daylight developing tank.) So it not only makes you feel like a spy, it also makes you feel like you are Gulliver.
The vital statistics:
- shutter speeds ranging from 1/2 to 1/1000 (B &T included.
- zone focus 8” to infinity
- 3.5 constant aperture 15mm Complan lens.
When new…. and the newest example is now 46 years old, the cameras included a very accurate, coupled, match-needle, selenium cell light meter that could be set from ASA 25 to 400. Miraculously, the meter on my camera works and is still reasonably accurate, but this seems to be the exception, rather than the rule for these old cameras.
As the aperture is a constant 3.5, adjustment of shutter speed (Max 1/1000,) is the only means of exposure control; for this reason, it is best to use film having an ISO of 100 or less if you intend to shoot outdoors……….Well, what I just said is not entirely true. There is one other means of adjusting exposure: fortunately the B does give some additional latitude in exposure control by virtue of a one stop ND filter- one of two ( *green and ND)- that are part of the camera and can be conveniently slide in front of the lens. The meter dial- should your meter actually work- is marked with a small dot to compensate for use of ND filter.
Carrying the camera is no more inconvenient than carrying a pocket knife. It is the camera you can “always have with you.” No kidding. In morning, as I fill my pockets with items I have left on the dresser the night before, the Minox B is always included; during the course of the day I sometimes forget it is there until my fingers touch it as I reach for my keys.
The photos below were taken on Delta 100 film and developed in a 1/50 Rodinal solution. While the Minox does not deliver a high resolution photograph, it does deliver a look that no other camera matches. I do carry the B with me at all times, even when I am carrying 35mm and/or other format equipment. In all cases, the Minox B gets the last shot. I love the unique look. I hope you do too.
*As I understand, all Minox B cameras include the ND filter. Minox began including the ND filter some time during production of the previous model, IIIs. So some IIIs model cameras include the ND filter, while others include only a red and green filter. For the person considering a try at use of Minox sub miniature cameras, the ND filter is a very important consideration.
My photo stream is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/