I have always been a big James Bond fan. In the eighties, I had the chance to visit with my parents one of the original locations, the Piz Gloria on top of the Schilthorn in the Bernese Oberland. Ok, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is not the best James Bond movie ever made, but it has a great soundtrack and 007 has the same camera like me: a Minox. Walter Zapp originally designed it in the 1936 as small camera for every day use. However, it became quite fast the standard equipment for spies on all sides. Although it gets more and more difficult to develop the films, Minox still produces 8×11 cameras.
About the camera: The Minox B is the sixth model of the Minox 8×11 subminiature camera family and was produced from 1958 till 1972. It was the first model with a build in coupled selenium light-meter. With the size of a swiss army knife, it fits in any pocket. When you hold it in your hand for the first time, you will be surprised by the weight and the incredible precision it is build. The camera has one fixed aperture of 3.5. As this might be to big if you shoot with 100 film in daylight, it has an build in grey filter as well as a green filter for better nature contrast on black and white film. If it is to dark, you can attach a flash using the standard PC sync. As the depth of field is quite narrow, it comes with a measuring chain with little pearls for short distances of 20, 24, 30, 40 and 60 centimeters. The shutter speeds range from 1s to 1/1000s, with a bulb “b” setting and a “T” setting where on push opens the shutter until a second one closes it again. The camera uses 8×11 film in small containers which is still in production. The relatively shallow depth of field and the great lens make the Minox the perfect camera for portraits while the size makes it the perfect “take it with you when you don’t won’t to carry a camera” camera.
Taking pictures: First open the camera and insert the film. Then set the film speed. Hold the camera towards your subject, press the button of the light meter, release it, set the speed to the required value shown on the light meter, set the right distance an shoot. If it is to bright, use the grey filter to slow down the film. For shorter distances, the use of the measuring chain is highly recommended. For longer distances you can attach the camera to a binocular and use it as a telephoto lens.
|Serial number||816 153|
|Lens||f = 15 mm (equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm film camera)|
|Special features||sub-miniature camera|
|Accessories||Tripod adapter, binocular mount, leather pocket, manual, measuring chain|
|Manufactured by||Minox GmbH, Wetzlar|
|Date of purchase||05.2011|
|Place of purchase||Flea Market “Strasse des 17. Juni”, Berlin|
Tips&Tricks: Whenever you open the camera, the film is advanced. This was changed later on the Minox C. If you would like to know when your Minox 8×11 was built, here are the production years according to the serial number.
Film purchase & processing: Film is available at the nice guys from Fotoimpex. They also process the film for you for a reasonable prize. Sadly they do not offer scanning services. I cut the negatives and scan them using dia frames, as you see above you really have to take care of dust.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG99uY5CEB0 (Minox as a WWII spy tool)