The original Riga Ur included two filters and set the style for all later models. Walter Zapp wanted to include a light meter but in 1936 technology was not advanced enough to fit a meter into the 16x27mm cross section provided by the camera. The Minox B was therefore the camera that Walter Zapp had been aiming for. The reduced cost and popularity of colour film in the 1950s meant that the camera could no longer hold all the filter options.
The addition of the chain with it's twist and lock and measuring nodes was in keeping with the original design intention. The numerous accessories however where not. Walter Zapp wanted a camera that would be carried at all times, taking so little space that it would never be left at home and that it would be in itself a complete system. For some, a camera that has many accessories is not a so much a system camera but a design that is lacking.
To others the range of accessories extend the usefulness of the camera. None the less the pencil tube tripod with the legs being stored inside each other. Filters, binocular attachment and copy stand all proved very popular with Minox owners. How many used 8x40mm binoculars with their Minox or used the copy stand for copying documents is not known.
It is surprising that the accessories that share the need to have a cable release; tripod adapter, copy stand head and binocular attachment, where not designed to share a common part - the cradle and tripod bush. It would have taken very little to provide parts that locked together when needed. Owners of the tripod and copy stand appreciated the clever way these pack away. With appropriate ball and socket arrangement the copy stand legs make excellent tripod legs with a 40-46 cm height!
Minox never offered a timer. Rivals Yashica made a small timer for the the Atoron Electro. The Autoknips range of five models are made of stainless steel and can be used with the tripod attachment, binocular attachment or the head of the copy stand.
One of Walter Zapp's early inventions was an enlarger, Both enlarger and day light loading developing tank where made in the VEF factory in Riga before the Second World War. The first post war enlarger has a vertical column and small dome. The base for prints is also smaller than that used on the Model II and Modell II later.
The developing tank for the Riga is made of bakelite. The last production tanks made from the last remaining cast are also bakelite. Very little had changed over the 62 years of production.
Minox also manufactured slide projectors, hand held viewing and slide cutting tools and microfiche reader.
The projectors went through rapid design improvements until the HP24 autofocus in September 1970. Production ceased in 1988. Minox projectors use 30x30mm mounts. All the Minox projectors will project a slide up to 15x15mm and so are suitable for 10x14mm slides but may crop 12x17 and 13x17mm (110 format) slides. 110 slide mounts can be used, but the HP24 prefers thicker Minox slides and the very thick Kodak 110 slides do jam. Cut down cardboard 50x50mm for Minolta slides work better.
The microfiche readers where possibly made upon request from the German military, but versions where made for commercial sales. These can be used to view Minox negative strips but are not designed to view slides or to use the standard wallet that negatives where returned in. Special very thin and very flat plastic holders were made.
Dealer's price list dated 1979- including the whole sale price of the camera and accessories (Ebay 2006/01/27 22USD).
Price list from 1982 (below) Ebay 2006/01/22 53USD.
Last updated 22nd January 2006