Done with Minox 35

Discussion in 'Minox' started by ginon_lee, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. I have owned 3 different Minox 35's. One Minox PL and 2 Minox GT.
    I used to live in South Korea. I was a young kid back in the 80's and I used to go to camera shops and couldn't stop admiring those little Minox 35s'. I used love the design. The slick body made with black plastic and how the lens opens and the size of them. And I used to have fantasies about German cameras. They used to be new or secondhand but the prices were just too dear for a little kid. As I grew up and the Minoxs' price somewhat came down with the introduction of digital cameras but they still held the value. But I was able to purchase secondhand ones. They dreams come true.
    But the photos taken were very disappointing. Practically all photos extremely underexposed.
    I have been wondering, Is it my fault? The new batteries (not 5.6V anymore) caused underexposures? Maybe Minox 35s' are prone to early light sensor cell failure?
    I have sent the cameras to the US and here in New Zealand for repairs and replacing light cell but nothing helped.
    Last year I was lucky enough to purchase a Ex-demo Minox GT from Sweden (If I remember correctly). I used to be in show windows when Minox were selling new but somehow never got sold to a customer. It had been in storage. So the camera was virtually new with no wear and tear.
    I have been taking my first test roll for about a year and last week I got the filmed developed. The results were so much like my other Minox 35s'. All heavily underexposure. This time I used silver oxide button sell plus a special adaptor to bring down the voltage to 5.6V.
    I used to study photography (film) and now I think I can conclude that Minox 35s' are not well designed cameras even when they were new. The exposure is horrible. The sharpness of the lens isn't that great (soft focus) and just a little more physically reliable than Russian cameras. The Minox spy cameras are great! The photos taken by those tiny spy cameras surprise me every time. But not really the Minox 35s'. Even my Lomo gives better shots most of the time. I must say I occasionally like the soft focus of it but that's it. Minox 35s' were quite successful in the market for quite a long time because of their predecessor's name, the spy cams, the beautiful body design and because they were made in Germany.
    I am not writing this to put down Minox 35 lovers. They may really love their Mnox 35s' for their own reasons.
    I am just angry with Minox. And with all the time, money and efforts I spent to make the cameras working.
    Now I'd like to put down my Minox, keep it in my collections and stop wasting films wondering what's wrong.
    I want spend more time with my trusted Rellei 35 and sometimes unreliable Lomo.
    Thank you for reading.
     
  2. Thanks for sharing your story. Minox 35 didn't have much appeal to me. - I probably don't like lonely 35mm lenses enough, so I neither borrowed my dad's nor ran film through one I was given last year. My 35mm compact of choice is a Retina II.
    If a Minox user is going to jump in: Would you suggest messing with the ISO setting to overexpose an entire stop? - Thanks in advance.
     
  3. Here are some of my photos from Minox 35ML
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    stephen_morris|3 likes this.
  4. A thread on Minox 35 in this forum
    http://www.photo.net/minox-camera-forum/00XJeT
    From flickr
    http://flickriver.com/groups/selected_minox35/pool/interesting/
    Andy Warhol with his Minox 35
    https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&authuser=0&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1094&bih=511&q=andy+warhol++minox&oq=andy+warhol++minox&gs_l=img.3...1755.8464.0.9441.19.14.0.5.5.0.111.1022.12j1.13.0....0...1ac.1.64.img..1.16.860.0..0j35i39k1j0i8i30k1j0i30k1j0i24k1.UywIFJQFGXI#imgrc=4eqC5eh6l2AdFM:
    Andy Warhol's book "Exposure" was shot with Minox 35
    https://www.lomography.com/magazine/226628-minox-35-el-and-andy-warhols-exposures
     
  5. If your scene includes a lot of bright sky, use a Minox 35 lens hood may help, or hold the camera upside down, such that the pull down cover is on top, it serves well to block off excessive sky light to prevent underexposure
     
  6. There is a long thread discussing Minox shutter failure, its cause and easy DIY fix , see Stephen Jamieson's fix.
    http://www.photo.net/minox-camera-forum/00MCL2

     
  7. Pocket full of dust and lint, easy creeps into Minox 35 camera, if you put it into pocket
    Use Minox case
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Sorry to hear of you under exposure problem. Minox 35's are not what I call "fully automatic" when it comes to exposure. Another words you have to do a little thinking as to the scene you are going to shoot. Bright background requires use of compensation switch or overriding the ASA/ISO dial to get the scene to expose correctly. It's just not a point & shoot camera. I very seldom have an exposure problem on my Minox 35's, but I would if I didn't think about what I was doing all the time. I've had better luck with the latest models(ML, Touring, etc.), but my best picture taker is a beat-up old Minox EL. Now, I'm not saying you don't know what you are doing, because I don't know how good you are at doing what I said above. Also, it's possible you have acquired three faulty Minox 35's. Do trust me when I say that the Minox 35, in good running condition, will take photos as good as any camera out there and the Internet has plenty of Minox 35 pictures to prove it.
    If I were constantly getting underexposure I'd keep setting my ASA/ISO dial to a lower number until I found where my exposures were exactly what I want. Here is what you can do:
    1. Put the film you normally use in the camera and set the ASA/ISO dial to the film speed on the box.
    2. Now, find a scene you normally would shoot and one you likely have been having an underexposure problem with and take one shot with a piece of paper included in the scene that says ASA/ISO 100.
    3. Now advance the film and lower your ASA/ISO setting 1/3 stop-setting(that notch is actually ASA/ISO setting 80) and take picture no. 2. including another piece of paper with the words ASA/ISO 80 on it.
    3. Continue to take shots and continues to lower the setting 1/3 stop-setting for each shot and include the piece of paper with the ASA/ISO settings on it. Do this until you reach two full stops lower on the ASA/ISO dial. If you were using ASA/ISO 100 film then your final shot would be at ASA/ISO 25.
    4. Shoot the rest of the roll at whatever you want or do another test scene on the roll, with different lighting, following the same outlined procedure. Process the film and see which of the pictures you like and that will be you setting for that film. If the picture you like is ASA/ISO 64 then you always set your dial to ASA/ISO 64 and "NOT" 100 like it says on the box.
    Remember, you are not changing the film you have in the camera since it 's actual speed sensitivity is already set at the factory. All you are doing is calibrating your Minox 35 to the film and scene you are using. The films sensitivity stays exactly the same as when it was packaged at the factory. Also, the older Minox cameras only had ASA/ISO film dials in full stops. and nothing in-between. For example, they go from ASA/ISO 400 down to ASA/ISO 200 with no 1/3 stop marks between those main settings. Newer Minox 35's had/have the 1/3 marks.
     
  9. I suspect that wrong development could be the culprit.
    If you develop the film yourself, send it out to develop
    If you sent out to develop, try send to a different camera store to develop
     
  10. Martin,
    I'd bet my money on exposure problems. Development problems would have to be pretty drastic to have a very big influence on his "so called" exposure problem. Of course I could be wrong about that since my wife points that out to me all too often.
     
  11. I am puzzled by the fact that three consequtive failure of one brand of camera, statistically is is very rare
    event, if the failure rate of one camera is 1%, the probability of three consecutive failure is 1 part in million. Hence I suspect that there must be some systematic error, if not in handling must be development
    not enough agitation, wrong dilution , too short development time, exhausted developer etc
     
  12. It is wise to calibrate your camera shutter from time to time.
    To calibrate camera shutter speed, I use a camera shutter tester with digital readout.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Camera-shutter-tester-for-shutter-speed-up-to-1-4000th-/152124381352?hash=item236b51d8a8:g:yRoAAOxyni9TAA58

    My tests of several subminiature cameras:
    http://www.photo.net/minox-camera-forum/00e3zA
    You don't need shutter tester to test shutter, there is an excellent article by Rochester Institute of Technology about calibrating camera shutter with TV screen
    https://people.rit.edu/andpph/text-shutter.html
     
  13. Martin,
    Yes, I find it a strange thing to have three bad Minox 35's also, but it's not impossible. I love the little Minox 35's, but will be the first to admit that they are above average when it pertains to problems. A shutter tester is a very nice thing to have but if your problem is consistently one way, like underexposure, then the simple test to calibrate your camera as I outlined will also work just fine. The OP should do it with at least one camera to at least find out. If he is getting his film processed at a lab then it is entirely possible the lab is screwing up, but I can't believe a lab can be that far off all the time. I'm curious as to how this turns out and hope we hear more on his problem...........solved or not solved?
     
  14. There is a 2x backlight switch on GT and later models, it doubles the exposure time
     
  15. Minox 35 cameras usually come with a plastic insert on the hotshoe. This must be taken out,
    otherwise, the camera hotshoe button may be pressed and the shutter only has 1/125 sec shutter speed
    regardless of lighting condition. This 1/125 sec may be not enough for indoor or low light situation
     
  16. From 1974 to 2003, there were a total of more than one million Minox 35 various models being made.
    It was a very popular pocket camera.
    It is impossible for a low quality camera to span nearly three decades and sold over one million units, even more than
    all Minox 8x11 combined (less than 945,000 units)
    For Minox serial numbers, see Morris Moses and John Wade, Spycamera the MINOX Story, Hove Collectors books, second edition 1998, Appendix I, p 214-219
     
  17. Martin,
    I never said the Minox 35's were low quality, but like anything made, "time does take its toll". Dust on or between the shutter magnets is a real problem and you don't notice it until you get your roll back from the processor and find they are all blank. Seems the later ML's, Touring, MB and MDC cameras were less prone to this problem.
    You do bring up a good point about the flash shoe cover insert and one the OP might want to check.
    All said, I still love my Touring and ML cameras. Even the old, simple EL ain't to shabby!
     
  18. John, my favourite is ML. I like it better than the nice looking Kyocera Contax T, the shutter release button
    of Contax T has too light textile touch, I don't know whether I pushed the shutter release or not
    The shutter release button of ML is or GT-e is firmer.
     
  19. Martin,
    The ML is my favorite also. No battery problems either and that's nice. Size and picture quality are the two and only reasons why I keep a couple of Minox 35's around. There is no excuse to leave home without one since they are so small.
     
  20. Hi Martin and everyone who responded to the thread,
    It seems like I am the only lucky one : ) who have experienced problems with all the three Minoxs'. But I just wanted to say that I studied photography back in high school and I did pretty well. Of course Not to compare with those professional photographers and excellent photographers out there.
    I studied film photography and also did developing and printing. So I know how basically exposure works. With all the Minoxs' I had, I had 'acceptable' results when I sat the ASA level down to 1 quarter of what the film actually is graded (Eg. Film: ASA 400 / Minox ASA 100). I tried number of different batteries and adaptors and like I said before, sending the cameras for repair and service.
    Martin. You took some excellent photos Minox 35 and I always wish I can take photos like you with Minox 35. I should try your angles with my objects.
    And could someone tell me how I can attach a photo file?
     
  21. Hi Martin and everyone who responded to the thread,
    It seems like I am the only lucky one : ) who have experienced problems with all the three Minoxs'. But I just wanted to say that I studied photography back in high school and I did pretty well. Of course Not to compare with those professional photographers and excellent photographers out there.
    I studied film photography and also did developing and printing. So I know how basically exposure works. With all the Minoxs' I had, I had 'acceptable' results when I sat the ASA level down to 1 quarter of what the film actually is graded (Eg. Film: ASA 400 / Minox ASA 100). I tried number of different batteries and adaptors and like I said before, sending the cameras for repair and service.
    Martin. You took some excellent photos Minox 35 and I always wish I can take photos like you with Minox 35. I should try your angles with my objects.
    I attach one work of mine. Taken with my old sweet Canon AE-1 which I lost at an airport. I blurred the model's eyes to protect her privacy. I cannot like social media too much when it comes to privacy.
     

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