I've seen quite a lot of professionally done Minox prints and to me they just don't hold up compared to prints from 35mm or even APS from a good camera.

Discussion in 'Minox' started by dana__, Jan 3, 1999.

  1. I friend of mine is a Minox "nut". He goes to great lengths to coax
    the maximum performance from his cameras. He does his own darkroom
    work with some sort of special Minox enlarger and sometimes he even sends his images
    out (to Minox?) for commercial processing. Despite this I'm not impressed. Even at 8x10, shots from my Nikon with lenses like the 50/1.8 or my Ricoh GR-1 are much sharper, even when he has to resort to Tech Pan and I'm using Tmax100.
    Even APS prints look as good or better when using a decent camera
    like the Elph Jr, though the film choice there is a little limited
    right now.


    I can't for the life of me understand why he bothers. You couldn't
    reasonably need anything smaller than an Elph and even in 35mm a GR-1
    isn't exactly huge and the advantages of the wider film choice and
    clearly superior quality make using a Minox an excercise in futility
    for anyone but a masochist or someone more concerned with the equipment he uses than the images it produces.


    The surprising thing about a Minox isn't that it can compete with
    larger cameras (which of course it can't), but that it gives tollerable
    3x5 prints from such a small negative.
  2. Hi Dana, a great number of Minox users (Minoxers) like the smallness of Minox and the fact that it really can produce 8x10" enlargements , which look as good as 8x10" from 35mm.
    Mine 8x10" s do look as good as same size enlargements from Canon QL17 (35mm rangefiner with Canon 40/1.7 lens ), Konica T with Hexaon 50/1.8 lens,
    Zeiss Ikon Contaflex with Tessar 50/2,8; Further, my own side by side comparison of 8x10" from my Minox B vs enlargements from my Canon Elph 370z, under a loup, shows that the Minox pictures has sharper detail.
    In other words, my Minox B IS BETTER than Canon Elph 370z.
    Dana, there is a subtle difference between 'look as good as" and IS BETTER.
    Look as good as means to the naked eyes, IS BETTER means using a magnifying glass to scrutiny.
    When I said my Minox B 's 8x10" looks as good as those listed 35mm cameras, I meant looked at with naked eyes; now if I pull out a loup and examine them, 8x10" from 35mm camera IS BETTER; with nake eyes, the 8x10" from Minox B LOOKS LIKE the side by side shots from Canon Elph 370z, but check under a loup, Minox B IS BETTER.
    Minox cameras, even the electronics ones( except the smallest EC/ECX ) allows manuual control. Dana, my single reason for using Minox is that there is no compact 35mm nor APS can rival the range of flexibility of Minox, none, even the most exmpensive deluxe 35mm compacts like Leica Minilux nor Contax T2, Ricoh GR 1 can close focus to 8", and no compact has shutter speed of 1/2000; and Minox lens (COMPLAN or MINOX ) IS THE SHARPESS photographic lens, its intrincic resolution is over 300 lines pairs/mm, on film resolution is over 160 lpmm, better than any 35mm lenses I have, including Carl Zeiss Planar 50/1.4; last but not least, Minox still is the smallest production camera.
  3. Dana, to further illustrate the point that Minox camera has unique close up capability; I relate here some of my experiences while travel to Greece in 98. I carried a Leica R5 with 28-70 Vario Elmar zoom, a Contax T2
    and a Minox C. At many museums, I could put the Minox close the display cabinet, and take close up pictures of archeological artifacts, none of my Leica nor T2 could.
    I could close in on a flower, with Minox, but not the other two. You can copy a page of a book with Minox, even a diagram with Minox, you can never do it with any compact.
    I have to carry Leica R5 with 60/2.8 Macro-Elmarit to rival the flexibility of a Minox
  4. The minox can be ALWAYS carried (in a belt case, or in pocket/handbag)
    and as such is a constant companion. It's size is it's strength, but
    it (as noted above) has some quite impressive technical specs. I use a
    IIIs as a constant companion (usually with b&w asa 400). I use my
    newer model C with ASA 25 color for vacation pictures. You are
    comparing Professional Minox to Professional 35's. Us Minoxers are
    "mainly" recreational users, who delight in having a camera "at the
    ready" when the 35MM users wishes they did.
  5. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    >>Despite this I'm not impressed. Even at 8x10, shots from my Nikon
    with lenses like the 50/1.8 or my Ricoh GR-1 are much sharper, even
    when he has to resort to Tech Pan and I'm using Tmax100.
    Sure, your Nikon produces a larger negative thus a better quality
    print when looking at only the quality of the negative ("grain") but
    what about the image itself? The Minox 8x11 takes plenty of shots
    that your Nikon couln't even dream of taking. Just like your Nikon
    can take many types of shots that, say, a 4x5 or 8x10 view camera
    >>The surprising thing about a Minox isn't that it can compete with
    larger cameras (which of course it can't), but that it gives
    tollerable 3x5 prints from such a small negative.
    Compete in what sense, grain alone? You're right about that, but what
    about in other ways? There are different tools for different jobs. A
    Chevy Corvette can probably get from Seattle to Portland in about half
    the time it takes a U-Haul Truck, but the U-Haul can take a lot more
    stuff with it. So which vehicle wins in a competition?
    The Minox 8x11 is a great camera capable of taking shots that no other
    camera can take! That, among other things, is the major appeal of the
    camera. The fact that nobody takes the camera seriously enough means
    that people won't automatically strike up a purely fakey pose so that
    the camera gets their "best side" makes the camera a jewel to behold.
    I can ride my bicycle on the sidewalk, along trails, in a yard, and
    even up or down a staircase. I can use my bike to snoop around in the
    cracks of the city and mountains. A car can't do that, not even a
    4-wheel drive, and that makes my bicycle "better" than a 4-wheel
    drive, doesn't it? I think it's the same thing with a Minox camera.
  6. Dana, every format has its place in photography, from Minox to 35mm, medium format and large format.
    many of us Minoxers, have many cameras, across many formats, so we do understand the advantage of 35mm, or APS, or LF.
    Do you know that Minox also makes 35mm camera ? one of the best 35mm pocket camera Minox GTE, and also several APS cameras.
    I my self own a lot of 35mm cameras, Leica R5, Leica RE, Contax T2, Contax 139, Rollei 35, Minox GT-E, Minxo 35ML, Olympos xa2, Zeiss Ikon Contaflex, Zeiss Ikon Contessa, one Minolta, one Nikon compact.
    two Elphs, the original and 370z. I have more than a dozen 24x36 or 20x30" enlargements made from 35mm negatives on my walls, my Minox ultraminature camera can never to that. But at the same time I am quite happy with the 8x10" made from
    my Minox B and C.
    What makes you think Minoxers owns only one camera ?
    Minox is fun. Dana, Elph is very good, be happy.
  7. Well, the very best pictures I have ever seen come out of 4-by-5-inch,
    and larger, view cameras. If I were rich, and if I had a flunky or two
    to trot along behind me carrying my baggage at all times, I'd get rid
    of my submini and 35mm equipment tomorrow and shoot strictly from view
    cameras. But as it is, I gotta pay for the stuff from my meager wages,
    and even worse, nobody else will carry it for me. So I shoot 35mm and
    subminiature. Most of the time I get the pictures I want. Luckily, the
    lenses and films for these small formats just keep getting better and
  8. Three key realizations caused me to get into subminis after years of
    shunning them: (1) The realization that films have gotten so much
    better in the last few years, especially in terms of grain/speed
    ratios. (2) The realization that exceedingly few of the pictures I take
    ever have been destined for enlargement to 11 by 14 inches, or even to
    8 by 10. (3) The realization that PhotoCD, my Mac, Epson printers and
    Adobe Photoshop give me a kind of flexibility I've never had in a
    lifetime in which I've never managed to have my own darkroom.


    I'm an amateur with a preference for light, easily carried cameras with
    the best optics I can afford. I'm not a pro, so the only time I need to
    carry an inordinate amount of gear is when I do macro flower shooting.
    Most of the time, a Minox submini and a small 35mm camera -- either a
    Minox or a Leica M -- is all I need. The Minox submini and 35
    combination is small and light enough to go everywhere, all the time,
    in a small shoulder bag (usually an elderly Domke 803 Camera Satchel
    with an extra padded liner) along with my phone, wallet, checkbook and
    such stuff.
  9. I've owned three APS cameras and got rid of each of them -- including
    a $300 Canon Elph. Why? Because the pictures were not sharp.
    Although I don't know if the APS format uses a pressure plate, the
    absence of a pressure plate might explain the very disappointing
    results I've obtained using these cameras. Frankly, I doubt whether
    anyone could tell the difference between pictures shot with my Minox
    8x11 and pictures shot with any APS camera, even an expensive one. And
    the Minox can be carried anywhere.
  10. I assume by Minox you are talking about the small format Minox
    cameras a nd not the 35 mm Minox cameras....
  11. This weekend I saw the new Canon Elph 2 APS camera. It is smaller then the original Elph, and has non pop up flash, even MRC (mid roll change ) function which the original Elph lacks.
    The Elph 2 is lighter than my Rollei 16s, a 16mm camera. APS is certainly taking over 110 and 16mm formats in terms of quality and weight.
    But still not possible to catch up with Minox 8x11 in weight and quality.
  12. In a recent conversation between the manager of a custom photo lab
    here in Chicago and myself, we discussed the look of prints made from
    the Minox 8x11. Despite the fact that this lab specializes in large
    format custom work, the lab personnel were impressed with these
    prints, and not for being "good for a such a small camera". The
    appeal is based on something deeper.


    The Minox appeal is not based on grain, nor focus as compared with
    35mm. The simple fact of the matter is that prints shot with a
    Minox, in particular Black and White, do not look like prints from
    any other camera. The mystique of the Minox gives the artist-
    photographer a unique tool with which to construct a print. APS by
    contrast, as in all point-n-shoots, produce bland shots regardless of
    the level of grain or enlargeability.


    Perhaps it is the fact that the Minox lens is about the same size as
    the human pupil, perhaps its the design of the lens itself, or
    perhaps there exists a zen like quality that cannot be quantified. A
    35mm closed-minded Luddite must resort to the enlargeability fallacy
    because most often such a "photographer" is unable to proudly stand
    behind their own creative output regardless of format.


    --Brian Warshawsky
  13. I have to agree with Brian Warshawsky there is something about the
    camera that creates its own style of imaging. I think it is simply
    that forcing the photog to think about what goes on the minimalist neg
    forces a better understanding of what should go on the neg. So if you
    want good shots the brain goes has to go into gear. Those who espouse
    larger negs, even 35mm is larger in this case, are in sense
    pictoralist junkies; the picture gotta look exactly like the scene -
    no grain, bright colors etc. Only trouble is the eye in fact doesnt
    see it that way; the 35mm photog, in arguing they can make bigger
    better 8 X 10 whatever, totally misses the point. Good minox photogs
    create an image which conveys the feeling and look of the object.
    Those who want technogly to generate a perfect grainless print miss
    the whole point of the Minox which is to allow the creation of a good
    picture when none would otherwise exist.
    Use your eyes, get a Minox, learn to use you Minox and enjoy.
  14. Graham,I quite agree with you,sir !Owning,shooting and processing
    Minox stuff is having your grey cells moving like a PC hard drive !!!
    Of course sometimes,under certain conditions and equipment,you can
    take better shots with a SLR,APS or whatever,BUT !you'll never be
    proud of that picture because in the end of the day,all you've done
    was pointing the flippin'thing to a tree and press a button ! Where
    is your PERSONAL contribution?Where's the personal touch of the
    picture?And ,above all,where exactly is your good feeling of a well
    done job?I personally,sleep a lot better after I worked hard to
    achieve good results in,well,anything I do(not necessarily Minox...)
    I mean,with all due respect and stuff,Dana,but it seems to me that
    shooting with a Minox is actually an art,and the p&s cameras could
    never ever touch the hem of 8x11 results.Best regards,Julian
  15. <img
    <p> BCE Place, by Martin Tai. Minox TLX
  16. I'd also like to know how folks scan 8 mm Minox negatives. They are so small...one would think that some sort of intermediate optical magnification would be needed to extract reasonably pixelated scans.
  17. Art, there are many Minoxers use film scanners such as Polaroid
    or Nikon scanners to scan minox film. The result from 2700 dpi scanners were acceptable for web display. 4000 dpi film scanners
    will provide better result. See also thread
  18. Speaking of scanning Minox negs: On my last vacation, I took a good (for me) minox ECX snapshot and wanted to make copies. So, I took the snapshot to my local photo shop, and just scanned it to a floppy. I planned to make some 5x7's for family members. But, when I got home, and loaded the image (which was around 500kb) I was amazed at the quality of the image, from color 100 film--particularly the lack of grain and the sharpness of the image. The shot was a mid-range portrait, with a scenic background--but everything was in focus. I was amazed. Full size, 100% magnification, according to MS Photo Editor is larger than my monitor (21") and it still looks good, but a little grainy. At 25% it's a snapshot size, and 50% is a beautiful 8x10. I just found out about the scan service from the Minox Memo, and I plan to try that with my next roll of film. Would appreciate any feedback on this service, since I understand that scans work better on negatives than prints. I am sold on this thing, thought it was just for snapshots.
  19. The APS film format is small, subminiature, being smaller than the 35mm frame. In one mode the film strip is only 9mm heigh. The 8x11 frame of the Minox or 7x10 with the last of the Minox enlargers is almost the same but with a much better lens. No one disputes the quality of the lens of the Minox. The only arguements is what you get when you print from 8x11 compared to 35mm negatives.

    The work done by http://www.8x11film.com with microfilms including Copex and Imagelink has shown that very large prints easily match the performance of 35mm cameras. Just as 35mm cameras have taken advantage of the new colour negative films so has Minox in Minocolor 100 Pro.

    When taking close up photographs few compact cameras can get below 1.2m (4ft) and so what you wanted to take is often smaller than the Minox frame of 8x11. With the Minox cameras close focusing to 20cm (8") is possible and the full 8x11 frame used. Some SLR can do better and there are cameras with macro facilities but the Minox has been the same 20cm to infinity focusing since the very first Riga in 1938. The other aspect of the 15mm Minox lens is the wide depth of field. More of the image is sharp compared to taking the same photograph with a 35mm from the same location. Grain should not be confused with a lack of sharpness. If you enlarge a negative taken with a 35mm Nikon to the same magnification as you need for a 3x5" print from a Minox the Minox shows that it is not inferior, only having to cope with a tiny negative. With modern ultra fine grain film the distinction becomes less than it was even a few years ago.

    As to why Minox cameras. One of the main reasons is that the camera does get carried and less likely to get left behind. Even the light Ixus and Minox 35mm cameras are 'big' and often left behind as 'too much' to carry. I seldon forget to pocket an LX or EC but have had to return to pick up a Minox 35mm that I wanted to carry to test. Often it is a case of Minox or no picture and whether prints are acceptable is irrelevant when the choice is nothing at all to show.
  20. This thread has become very interesting to me, and I've started to investigate by funding an experiment with those GEPE/Minox slide frames. These frames should be arriving from the factory in couple of weeks and I'd like to purchase a fairly complete range of representative Minox color and B&W films to run through my Nikon 4000ED scanner. If any of you could direct me to a source of "known good" test and precision reference targets - it would be appreciated.

    I've even developed a "parallel track" for these experiments with some old Bolex movie cameras loaded with Kodachrome 25 (still available). Have also purchased a specialized 1942 Revere 8mm/16mm enlarger ....but haven't yet figured out how to turn this into a digitizer. The projected image seems quite sharp though - so I see some potential here...particularly for time lapse.

    Would be interesting to see if this enlarger would also work with Minox film strips.
  21. Art, you can buy test targets from Edmond Scientific or Chasseur d'Image magazine from Paris.
  22. Art, the best films in Minox 8x11 camera which can provide 8x10" prints comparable with same size prints from Leica 35mm camera are Kodak Technical Pan and Agfa Copex Rapid( developed in SPUR )<P>
    See http://www.8x11film.com <p>
    High resolution fine grain film is essential.

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