Minox 8x11 - Electronic Flash Units

introduction | USA | ME1 ASA | ME1 DIN | ME1 black | ME1 case | ME2 ASA | ME2 DIN | ME2 black | hot shoe8x11 | ECX | MX

Minox cameras are recognised for the genius of the design, quality of manufacture and tiny size. Minox electronic flash units have always been larger than the camera and renown among users to bring laughter at  the expense of the photographer.

Minox introduced the Minox A with flash nipple PC socket in 1954 but where very slow in making any flash unit for the camera. With Minox GmbH support Minox USA marketed a bulb unit in 1955. The following year they advertised the "world's smallest, lightest and easiest to use electronic flash ... weighs a mere 24 oz". It sold for 82.50USD.

Minox did not market it's own flash unit until 1960s, the B-C AG1 and the first electronic flash, ME1 came in October 1967.

The ME1 consists of a light weight strobe, similar in size to the B-C AG1 flash bulb unit, but is attached by a long cable to a heavy power pack fixed to photographer's belt or held by it's strap in the hand. A switch selects between full power and partial power, with and without neutral density filter. With new batteries fully charged the capacity is between 100 and 150 flashes. The batteries are nickel cadmium, soldered to the circuit board and not user changeable. Early units have smooth upper surface and are shinier than later version with a matt finish. Connector cables are grey, changed to black with later serial numbers. The hand strap is either light grey or dark grey. The distance scale is either metric (in metres) with DIN or imperial (in feet) with ASA selection. The NiCads do leak and wear with age. Finding a working unit is now difficult although if the flash charges from the mains then the circuit is good and replacing the batteries is sufficient. The flash head can be operated away from the camera by an accessory flash extension cord, thus avoiding over exposure at close range.

1/100 sec. with Minox B

A version with a matt black head has been sold. This product does not appear on prices lists and is possibly an after market modification.

A case was made for the ME1, but it was not mentioned in the brochures.

The ME2 was introduced in 1971 and had a short period of sales of 3 years. It was reported that the entire production was made in the morning, parts boxed for the next 10 years and all shipped to Minox in the afternoon. The rechargeable NiCads are built into the unit, making it larger then the ME1 head but overall much smaller. The ME2 is thyristor controlled and compensates for film speed sensitivity. It also has a manual mode for full power. The camera is pushed into a hole to connect. This means that a Minox A can not be used with it, the flash end is too short and the flash would block out the view finder. The charger is plug, two pins (continent Europe style or US flat pins) with a small screw that can be used to select 110, 127, 220, 240 volts. It can be used about 50 times before needing to be recharged. An adapter hot shoe and PC cable allow the ME2 to be used with cameras from other manufacturers. It also allows the ME2 to be used as a bounce flash although there are no brackets to assist in holding this arrangement steady.

In use the ME2 is held, not the camera as it is significantly larger than a Minox C. It is flexible and reliable, more so that the flash cube unit C4. Black ME2 have been offered for sale. The origin of these is not clear. All black ME2 with silver dials do not appear on the prices lists and may have been an after market modification.

1/100 sec. with Minox B

1/125 sec with Minox C (1/250 sec. in C manual)

1/250 sec. with Minox BL (in BL manual)

Flash photography is possible up to 1/250 sec with the Minox C, but not at 1/500 sec. or 1/1000 sec. and then only with a camera in full serviced condition.

In the late 1970s Minox introduced a hot shoe enabling other flash units to be used with the Minox. It has an opening for the meter of the Minox B and so can be used with Minox B, BL, C and the later LX cameras. The long support jaws, similar to the Minox B version of the B-C AG1 flash bulb unit, make this adapter unsuitable for use with the Minox AIIIs.

The ME2 remains the best flash unit Minox made, but it's advantages where lost on it's size to the 1990 8x11 electronic flash. At only 35 g and with a fresh AA battery delivering over 200 flashes the 8x11 electronic flash was designed as the perfect companion to the Minox EC camera. It has a propriety connector that couples to the camera. An adapter was marketed at the same time, allowing it to be used with the LX and previous cameras with flash synchronization including the Minox AIIIs.

1/100 sec with Minox A and B

1/125 sec with Minox BL, C and LX

In 1998 the ECX camera was sold with optional ECX electronic flash unit. The same adapter for the 8x11 electronic flash enables the ECX flash to be used with other Minox cameras. This flash however is larger than the 8x11 electronic flash. It has a faster recharging cycle and uses a lithium CR2 battery.

1/50 sec. with Minox A and B

1/60 sec. with Minox BL

1/125 sec. with Minox C and LX

In 2001 Minox introduced the Minox MX with flash unit. Some MX flash units have a sensor, like the Acmel MDX strobe, others have this window covered over. Minox recommend that this flash is not used with other Minox cameras. The connector is similar to that of the 8x11 electronic flash and the LX adapter for it will fit the MX strobe. Some owners have found no problem in using this arrangement, others find that their Minox B or C does not synchronise with it.

In testing the electronic flash units with Minox C, LX, EC and MX cameras:-

The 8x11 flash fires universally - that is it fired correctly and could not find a fault at any speed on the C and LX.

The ECX electronic flash also fires at all speeds on the C and LX.

The MX flash fired with the LX until 1/500 sec. when it would only work some of the time. 1/1000 sec. would not fire it. It fires with one Minox C (fully serviced in 2000) to 1/250 sec. but most fail at anything faster than 1/125 sec.

The MX does not operate to 1/500th (only to 1/125th) , so the flash could not expect to be designed to. The EC/ECX work to 1/500th so the 8x11 electronic flash firing on any Minox (with adaptor) to 1/500th may be expected.

A Minox C connected to a ME2 was being use to photograph a hummingbird feeding at about arms length. The wings where frozen at 1/1000 sec, but the slide under exposed.

The flash units do not work faster than 1/250th, they fire, the subject was frozen but under exposed. The fact that the camera will fire the flash at a given speed does not mean that flash photography will work with the camera at that speed. Set the cameras to 1/125 sec or slower as given in the guides for the flash unit.

Last Updated on 20th October 2005