On offer today we have a Minox C in black finish produced some time between 1969 - 1978. The camera is in beautiful condition and is supplied with all it's accesories - I don't think the cases, chain and flash accesories have ever been used. WIll you be the one to take advantage of the new films introduced by Minox in Jan 2015 and re-invent stylish analogue subminiature photography. This reminds me of the time when I was out with a Minox Riga a few years ago and a lady commented "Ooh, what a lovely little gadget, that must be new?" I replied, "Not really, the camera was made in 1938!!!"
A little history and detail about Walter Zapp and the famous Minox camera: -
The original Minox subminiature camera was invented by Walter Zapp in 1936. Zapp, a Baltic German, was born in 1905 in Riga, then part of the Russian Empire. The family moved to Reval (now called Tallinn, Estonia) where he first took a job as an engraver before finding a position with a photographer. He became friends with Nikolai 'Nixi' Nylander and Richard Jürgens, and it was through discussions with these friends that the idea of a camera that could always be carried came to him. Nixi Nylander also coined the name "Minox" and drew up the Minox mouse logo. Jürgens funded the original project but was not able to get support in Estonia for production. Jürgens contacted an English representative of the VEF (Valsts Elektrotehniskā Fabrika) electrotechnical manufacturing business in Riga (by then independent Latvia) who then arranged a meeting where Zapp demonstrated the Minox prototype (UrMinox), with a set of enlargements made from Ur-Minox negatives. Production began in Riga at VEF, running from 1937 until 1943. At the same time, VEF had received patent protection on Zapp's inventions in 18 countries worldwide.
Shortly after its introduction, the Minox was widely advertised in The European and American markets. It did not surmount the popularity of 35 mm cameras (which were then referred to as "Miniature Cameras"), but it did achieve a niche market. It also attracted the attention of intelligence agencies in America, Britain and Germany, due to its small size and macro focusing ability.
Ironically during World War II production of the Minox was put in jeopardy several times as Latvia fell victim to invasion by the Soviet Union, then Germany, and then by the Soviets again. Cameras were produced under both Russian and German occupation nevertheless, and the camera became both a luxury gift item for Nazi leaders as well as a tool for their spies. In the meantime, Zapp and his associates protected their interest in the product by searching for alternative production facilities in Germany.
After World War II, production of the Minox II began in 1948 at a new company, Minox GmbH, in Giessen/Heuchelheim near Wetzlar, West Germany. The new camera very much resembled the original, but was made with a plastic chassis covered by an aluminum shell. This greatly reduced its weight and, to an extent, cost. The camera continued to appeal to a luxury "gadget" market which broadened during the 1950s and early 1960s. However, an alternative important niche market came to the fore when the Minox subminiature camera attracted the attention of intelligence agencies in America, Britain and Germany, and most of the Eastern Bloc (East Germany, Romania) due to its small size and macro focusing ability. There is at least one document in the public record of 25 Minox cameras purchased by the US Office of Strategic Services intelligence organisation in 1942.
The close-focusing lens and small size of the camera made it perfect for covert uses such as surveillance or document copying. The Minox was used by both Axis and Allied intelligence agents during World War II. Later versions were used well into the 1980s. The Soviet spy John A. Walker Jr., whose actions against the US Navy cryptography programs represent some of the most compromising intelligence actions against the United States during the Cold War era, used a Minox C to photograph documents and ciphers.
An 18-inch (460 mm) measuring chain was provided with most Minox subminiature cameras, which enabled easy copying of letter-sized documents. The espionage use of the Minox has been portrayed in Hollywood movies and TV shows, and some 1980s Minox advertising has played up the "spy camera" story.
Post war, the Minox company continued to develop the camera, working with Gossen to develop a companion miniature exposure meter, as well as improved models such as the Minox B, which incorporated an even smaller Gossen-designed meter into the camera itself. The Minox B became the most popular and widely produced model of the line. Further developments included autoexposure, and the company developed an extensive line of accessories. These included flash guns, viewfinder attachments, tripod mounts, and copying stands, all increasing the camera utility in a variety of applications. One accessory even allowed the camera to use a pair of binoculars as a telephoto lens. Limited editions of the camera were also produced in a variety of luxury finishes, such as gold plating. Standard cameras were also available in an optional black anodized finish.
The Riga Minox camera, along with the luxury finish postwar cameras, are now collector's items. Newer electronic versions, such as the Minox TLX, remain in production, essentially unchanged in features from the LX model since the late 1970s. With the introduction of the LX came significant redesign of the camera's basic controls. There is also the fully electronic entry-level model, the EC, which has a very different internal design and has a fixed-focus lens. The production rate for these cameras is considerably slower than in former years, however, as Minox devotes more time to the design and marketing of OEM cameras under the Minox brand. The MINOX TLX Camera was available until September 2014.
Interest in MINOX subminiature cameras is to increase as MINOX have announced new manufacture of 8x11mm Films from January 2015
The Minox cameras project an image of 8×11 mm onto the negative. The film is in strips 9.2 mm wide, or less than one-quarter the size of 35 mm film, and unlike 35 mm film, it has no sprocket holes. This film strip is rolled up in the supply side chamber of a small twin chamber cartridge, with the film leader taped to a take-up spool in the take up chamber. For Minox C cameras onward the Minox film cartridge holds 15, 30, or 36 exposures.
Later models, beginning with late model Minox B, to the current model TLX, using the 15 mm f/3.5 four-element, three-group flat-field Minox lens, and the negative was held flat. The advance was attributed by Kasiemeir (Small MINOX Big Pictures 1971 edition) to new rare-earth elements. At this time to differentiate between negatives taken with the older complan lens and negatives taken with the later minox lens, MINOX introduced an edge code in the negative.
Since the MINOX C (the first camera released with the new minox lens) every 8x11mm camera had a distinct edge code to identify the camera. The reason was that commercial processors used MINOX enlargers. As the minox lens replaced the complan, so the enlargers had to change lenses: MINOX II enlargers were curved negative track and complan lenses, MINOX III enlargers were straight negative track and minox lenses. Ironically, owners of Rigas and model II cameras would get better results from a MINOX III enlarger than a MINOX II enlarger.
The Minox C cameras have an electromagnetic shutter. When closed, the viewfinder and lens windows are protected. The Minox lens are unit focusing lens, focusing from 8 inches (20 cm) to infinity through precision gear linked to a focusing dial on top of the camera. All Minox cameras, excepting the EC and MX, have a parallax correction viewfinder: when the focusing dial moves, the viewfinder moves in tandem to correct for parallax.
For a Minox C, the film counter counts down from 36/30/15 and it's electromagnetic shutter has a control shutter dial starting with 1/15 sec, and ending with 1/1000, along with an 'A' setting for automatic exposure, controlled by the built-in CdS exposure meter.