In 1950 Feinwerk Technik of Lahr in Schwarzwald (Black forest) region of Germany came out with a the first the first German subminiature to adopt the 10x14mm format on 16mm double perforated film.
If has a 20mm f2.8 Color-Ennit lens giving a wider angle and greater depth of field than the 23 and 25mm normally found on 16mm cameras. The focal plane shutter has speeds of B, 1/30 (or 1/25), 1/60. 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000 s. The camera is synchronized for flash bulbs at 1/30s and electronic flash at 1/60 s.
The camera is large at 102 x 55 x 35 mm (4 x 2 3/16 x 15/16 inches) and weighs in at 230g (8oz) when loaded.
The single cartridge holds 24 exposures and the film feeds into another cassette like the Agfa Rapid system. The metal cassettes are very similar to those used in the Whittaker Micro 16 and some, those with the thinner ribs, will fit and work in both cameras. Some cassettes are made with thicker end caps and these do not work in the Whittaker Micro 16. It is also possible to file down a RADA cassette (as used in Rollei 16, Edixa and Goldeck 16 cameras) to make fit. Mec 16 cassettes are larger than the Rollei cassettes.
The shutter release is on the right of the lens at the front of the camera and is threaded for a cable release. The film advance on the right hand side is operated by a flicking out a lever. A single stoke cocks the focal plane shutter and advances the film. The back plate is also provides the claws to advance the film.
The left hand side pulls out to reveal the lens and an inverted Galilean viewfinder with two sets of frame lines on the outer glass. One set frames scenes 5ft or more from the lens. The second set was formed by dotted line for scenes as close as 2.5ft. close focus to 1ft.
The wrist strap unclips and can be used to measure 30cm. A standard 1/4" tripod socket in in the base of the camera.
The lens is recessed 25mm and surrounded by light baffles. A sliding slot allows for a filter to be inserted, very similar to the Mamiya 16 Super but mounted in a special holder that remains protruding from the camera.
The finish is black with gold, all black, black with silver, black with white or grey, tan with black, silver. The finish may not be hard wearing but many cameras are have been sold in good working condition and near new, 55 years later.
More common in imperial (feet), metric cameras are also seen.
Serial number includes date (month, year) and manufacturing number. The number is usually found on the top of the camera along the back edge. some have it inside on the back bottom edge.
It was sold for 64.50USD in 1957.
A much rarer camera, a hybrid model being a Mec-16 styled like the Mec 16 SB.
In 1960 the design was updated in the Mec 16 SB and the first camera of any format with through the lens (TTL) metering.
The Mec 16 SB is heavier and slightly larger than the Mec 16, increasing the size to 106x58x36mm and weigh to 268g.
The Gössen selenium meter is built in, a needle pointer showing next to the shutter speed dial. The Gössen photoelectric meter has the cell placed behind the lens but in front of the film plane. It swung out when the shutter release was depressed but before the shutter actually moved. This is a matched needle system with aperture scale and exposure needle integrated for ease of setting.
The lens is a Rodenstock Heligon f2 22mm, making it one of the fastest subminiature lens ever made. The six-element optics was one of the best quality lens fitted to a subminiature up to that time. A slightly cheaper version ($84.50 compared to $99.50 on the April 1960 price list) has a 20mm f2.8 Enna Germany 4 element lens.
The sliding slot for the filters is replace by a spring loaded trap. When the film counter counts down to 0 (the Mec 16 counts up) the shutter is locked. The frame counter dial has a small recessed wheel that then needs to be wound on one or two stops to free the shutter.
The shutter release has now been moved to the back of the camera.
The shiny gold and silver mirror finish of the Mec 16 has gone to be replaced with a brushed aluminium with inlaid leather.
It sold in the USA for 99.50USD.
In competition for customers many manufacturers of subminiatures would publish and print extra fine copies of photographs to show what their camera was capable of doing. Minox, GaMi, Minicord and Mec vied for the best quality.
The Mec 16 and Mec 16 SB are among the very few cameras that can be used to copy documents where an A5 sheet can fill the negative area. .
Feinwerk Technik published news letters and the Mec report (see under manuals), in both English and German - similar in concept to the Minox Freund and Minox Memo (in the USA).
Mec 16 brochure 2003/04/25 13EUR, *2003/11/29 4.60EUR,
Mec 16 SB dummy - demo model Ebay 2006/08/24 19.52EUR
Last updated 24th August 2006