Thursday, January 26, 2017

A LEICA – MINOX CONNECTION




When the Minox 35 EL was introduced several years ago, it quickly became a rather popular camera, primarily because of its small size.  Part of this was due to the lens which could be totally retracted into the camera, including a hinged cover which could also functioned as a lens shade when the camera was held upside down.

 

It was never confirmed, but this principle looks very much like the Leica H prototype from several years prior to the introduction of the Minox.  Rumors were that the Minox was actually designed by Leitz.  But they never marketed the camera and the design was turned over to Minox.  Nothing official has ever been made public about this rumor.

 

The Minox was a very capable camera, however, it had the disadvantage of having no manual operation other than manipulating the film speed settings.   However, the camera could be converted to offer manual shutter speeds.  The work was done by DAG, the custom repair shop of Don Goldberg in Wisconsin.  Don is a service veteran with Minox and Leica.  He has worked at the Minox factory in Giessen as well as at Leitz/Leica in Wetzlar.  His excellent work has earned him a very good reputation among Minox and Leica owners alike.

Don explained that unfortunately, only the earlier Minox 35 EL cameras can be easily converted.  He felt that the later models can be converted as well, but the different electronics in these cameras would make the cost significantly higher.

Apparently the early ELs shared much of their electronics with the Minox C, which did offer manual shutter speeds.  Taking advantage of that heritage, it was possible to utilize the manual shutter speed circuitry of the Minox C in order to equip the EL with the shutter speed dial of the Minox C.  With little modification, this can be substituted for the rewind crank of the EL.

 

Operation is very simple.  The shutter speed dial must be set at the desired speed, and the aperture ring turned until the lightmeter needle points to the selected speed.  Only 1/1000 sec. cannot be achieved, simply because the shutter of the EL is not capable of that high a speed.

In order to facilitate film rewinding, Don used the baseplate lock of a Leica M camera, which he installed in the bottom of the EL back, thus adding a bit of Leica to the Minox.  Any other rewind would have worked as well, but he decided on the Leica part because of its easy availability at his shop.  There was also the advantage of the rewind being almost flush with the camera base, thus avoiding an increase in size of this small camera.

 


Don Goldberg can be contacted at:

DAG Camera Repair Service
2128 Vintage Drive
Oregon WI 53575 USA



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4 comments:

  1. Wow, this would make a very small back-up camera one can carry in just about any pocket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, especially if you like to shoot film.

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  2. Wasn't this Minox the smallest 35mm camera ever?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the smallest full frame 35mm camera and, as far as I know, there were no half frame 35mm cameras that approached its size either. But the smallest 35mm camera ever was the Swiss made tessina. It used special, small 35mm cassettes and shot relatively small images on 35mm film. The camera was 2.5x2x1 inch in size and produced images of 14x21 on standard 35mm film. Because of its small size, the camera could be worn with an accessory wrist strap on one's arm. Even an attachable watch was available as an accessory.

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