Leica Mini vs. Mini II vs. Mini III

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by joe_choi|1, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. I need help from you experts again. I'm thinking to get a P&S for
    those times when I don't feel like carrying a RF even though I have
    compact camera CL. A friend of mine has a Mini II and the pictures
    look great in both color and B&W. So I'm thinking to get one for
    myself but I noticed that there were 3 models made. I search
    photo.net and everywhere else on the web but there's no detail
    description or comparison of these 3 models. Can someone tell me
    what the differences are between the 3 in features/functions, built
    quality, lens quality, etc.? Also, any suggestion on which one I
    should get? Or does it matter much which one I get? I'm pretty sure
    that Mini I & II has Elmar lens where as III has Summar (what's
    Summar?). I appreciate any insights or experience anyone might have.
    As always, thank you for contributions.
     
  2. I once worked in a camera store that sold the Mini I and the Mini II.

    If I recall correctly, the mini II had the ability to prefocus, (aim, hold shutter button halfway down, lens moves to focus, then you can click shutter extremely quickly once lens is prefocussed). The mini I didn't have this ability. The mini III had a wider lens, and looked a bit different. The mini II I borrowed for a while had a pretty good lens for the price, I never systematically compared it to an M lens or anything like that. The Mini I and II had 35mm f3.5 lenses. They were both rather quiet. Also, I believe the Mini I had a strangely nice feature for being quiet, if you clicked the shutter and held it down, then the film didn't wind until you released the button.
     
  3. I have a Mini III that has a 32mm Summar 3.2 lens--built-in UV filter, I think. It's a great little P&S camera, but does not perform particularly well in low light and with the flash. The auto-focus can be a bit stubborn--or maybe I'm just impatient. But I've gotten some nice pics in reasonably well-lit situations, always best without flash. Nice self-timer, works perfectly with any mini-tripod, as it is not a very heavy camera.
     
  4. This is the place to look them up: http://www.leica-users.org/

    IIRC the Mini II or III did not have a lens cap/cover but a permanent "UV filter."
     
  5. I've owned a Mini since 1987. It can produce sharp pictures AND it does have both exposure and focus lock (page 46 of Instruction Manual). My recollection was that it it's autofocus system had only like 5 zones so you had to be in the sweet spot of a zone to get good focus. It actually had some focusing issues simply due to the small number of focusing zones. I believe the Mini II had many more zones. The Mini I and II look identical except for the labeling while the Mini III was a different camera. You can get them cheap if you can find them.
     
  6. I owned both the Mini 1 and 2 new. They arent bad compacts but when I purchased them it was my hope to get close to branded SLR optics in picture quality but it simply wasnt there. I then tried the Yashica T5 and bang instant success. I have never tried the Mini 3 so cant comment there but I wouldnt recomend the 1 or 2 unless you can get them on the cheap. The posts above acurately describe the differences between the 1 and 2. The 1 is grey and the 2 is more black in colour. The 1 is slow like and early digital camera in that the time to focus takes so long you often miss a spontaneos moment. This was cured in the 2 with the prefocus. If I remember correctly the 2 had red eye reduction where the 1 did not.
     
  7. Ludwig -

    Leica should put the Mini back into production, and use those images in the brochure.
     
  8. The mini 3 is a superb camera, the essence of what a point and shoot camera should be. Really really easy to use with no superfluous functions, but useful features like +1 exposure compensation, flash off and on and infinity setting. Doeesn't have a retractable lens cover, but that's OK so long as you keep the camera in a protective case. It actually makes the camera faster to use. My wife and I took one each through the Greek Islands and were pleased with the results on slide film. The lens is brilliantly sharp - much better than a P/S zoom, and the 32mm focal length is very handy for travel and outdoors or groups. Exposures are fine in most cases, though there's a tendency to underexpose in very contrasty light. Manual exposure on M6 is a lot better in this regard, but for many pictures the mini 3 is just fine. Do watch out for dropping it onto hard surfaces! The electronic exposure counter rests itself at zero, but it still keeeps going. Also, be extra careful the film has rewound completely into the cartridge - the exposure counter tells you this. In short, I highly recommend this camera. It will cost less than a luxo P/S like the Minilux or Contax, but will yield excellent results - and a lot better ones than a digital camera costing twice as much. Here is a pic taken from the top of the Porter Heights ski-field here in the South Island of New Zealand. It's not critically sharp if you really enlarge it, but it was very windy up the top! You will notice vignetting, but that's common with wideangle lenses and not a major issue. Exposure on print film is pretty good with no exposure compensation. I have quite a few more pictures if you would like me to send you some. All the best, David
    00E0Q7-26259384.jpg
     
  9. "well, they were made by Minolta,"

    Sorry but thats wrong they were made by Panasonic.

    So you are you wrong that the only difference between the 1 and 2 is the exposure compensation. There is the colour, the prefocus and the red eye reduction.

    On very sunny days you can get quite acceptable results with the Elmar but the Tessar in the T4/5 leave it for dead. I tried so very much to like the Minis one and two buying the both new but its a Yashica T5 that i replaced them with and have had it for years since.
     
  10. Ludwig, I'm afraid you're wrong. Minolta made the AF-C1 but apparently it was Panasonic who made the Minis and even the Minilux/Minilux Zoom. Look here.
     
  11. Thanks everyone for your insights and wonderful pictures (WOW). I'm thinking to get Mini II since I have not seen results from Mini III or T4/T5. But what I have seen for Mini II it's awesome for a P&S. By the way anyone compare lens quality or picture quality of Mini II Elmar vs Mini III Summar? Thanks everyone for your help.

    Joe
     
  12. I own a Leica Mini (original model) which I bought on Ebay back in 2006. I use mine with either Tri-X 400 or TMAX 400. I find it to be an excellent travel camera, especially with its' 35mm f3.5 Elmar. I am often very pleased with the results in B&W..
    Here is a photo of myself, taken by a friend using my Leica Mini loaded with TMAX 400.. the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, near Arles, France.
     

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