Go to the main index Quotes from Subminiature Camera Users

Published in Photo Technique August 1976

"I have just read the special April issue of Photo technique, and give thanks to all those concerned with producing the camera guide. I should like to add some comments.

The editorials are fair, so don't get me wrong when I say that 16mm films are more remarkable than appears in your article.

In my collection I have a Minolta 16P (long out of date), a Minox BL (God save me from the Monday morning worker who messed it up) and Minox C and very soon (being a poor student it takes months to buy another camera) a Minolta MGS 16.

Why do I like small cameras? Basically because I am never without one. Still I have never been at the right place for a front page picture, but I can always hope. And each camera has different uses. The Minox takes really good pictures in the most rotten conditions (stage photograph from the 6th row without flash, dark winter afternoon of the Natural History museum hand held for longer than 1/15 second, photocopying letters from Archives- it is not easy setting up 35mm cameras to do a good job) and  all the Minox equipment will fit in my inside jacket pocket. I use it for inside photographs of subjects who just will not pose. However, with 27 DIN film its use is restricted to about 4m, after which grain starts to be a problem.

The Minolta is good for more distant pictures as well as close-ups, since the linear size is in the ratio of 1:1.52 - nearly 2.5 times the area of the Minox negative - and it's ideal for action pictures while skiing, for example, where a bigger camera (including some 110) would not withstand a fall.

My only complaint (other than trouble I had with my faulty Minox BL) is that projecting the transparencies is very hard, with the additional problems of trying to mount different formats in the same size frame. [The Minox projector is the best on the market (even for 110) but the 10x14 and 12x17 negative size of the Minoltas are only possible to mount on 50x50 mm mounts (the Minox being 30x30mm). Using a full size 35mm projector looses out on performance (except possibly for the Leitz equipment which is much more expensive than the Minox) and it is bulky, well compared to the Minox HP24. So I haven't got a projector and use the lab microscope. Nor will I until I can mount all the different formats on the same size frame, hopefully 30x30mm. But it doesn't look as if Gepe will ever produce any. Since Minox have stopped making glass slides in favour of the cheaper Agfa type I may mount the lot on 50x50mm frames and buy, in many years time, the Leitz projector with a 35mm lens.

I don't like 110 because processing at home is difficult, the cameras have no arrangements to adjust for different film types, the cartridge is about twice as big as the Minolta cartridge for the same width film, and also (except for the Rollei 110) the good 110 cameras are bigger than the Rollei 35s and give no better performance. If you have read this far, thank you!

My last point is that if so many people buy 110 and other submin formats there might be a market for a quarterly about this size camera and the unique problems of their use. About a dozen of my friends own small cameras, and would be interested in such a specialized magazine."

Gerald McMullon, Lightfoot Hall, Manresa Road, Chelsea [now in Cambridge]

Submini-List Quotable Quotes

"To recognize that one has eccentricities for which no apology is needed is simple good sense.

To take pride in the symbols of being out of the mainstream, and thereby superior to it, is a manifestation of selfishness, vainglory, and envy." David Foy

"Accepting one's own individually without having to be overly concerned about being like everyone else in society is not necessarily a bad thing." Art Grant

"One of the many things that always impressed me about the Minox is that when closed it doesn't look anything like a camera. And when examined closely, there is almost no clue as to how it is held together. On the early models, the rivet locations could be seen, but unless you know what you're looking for, they are hard to find on the later models. And even when I open up my Minox B, there is not a screw head to be found. I don't recall ever seeing another metal camera that didn't have some fasteners showing somewhere, except for a few that hide them under a piece of leatherette. The Leica was designed as a quick and easy way to test exposure of a short length of movie film stock. It was built to do that simple task, not designed to be a work of art. Even though it was very small for its day, it was easily recognized as some kind of camera from a distance. The smooth simple lines of the Minox made it hard to tell what it was even at arm's length. It was designed to be a work of art that works!" James A. Jones

"You don't have one YET! Although a few on the list have been able to resist the urge... Minox mania strikes most new members rather early on. You can easily justify the cost of a Minolta or Kiev or whatever to get started, but it is hard to stop there. The urge to go smaller becomes overwhelming and then you get 1, 2 or more Minox cameras... there isn't a perfect Minox so you end up needing a few." Mark Hahn

"I suspect the people arguing that this lens or that -- Rollei or Olympus XA -- is superior are neglecting one important point: I have noticed, over the decades, that some people and some cameras just seem to fit together. The camera suits not only the user's hands, but the user's eye and mind. In this situation, I mean this seriously, i am convinced the cameras perform better -- images are sharper, focus is more accurate, lens resolution is better.

The scientists out there are now tearing their hair out, insisting that no such correlation can occur, but I am convinced it does. Maybe the sense of harmony between man and machine projects itself into a firmer grip, a better eye, a tighter composition, or whatever, who knows?

But buy cameras strictly on their specifications, you may or may not get a good one. Find a camera that fits you, you're home clear." C. Trentelman

On the observation of the difference in length between manuals in different languages that are not just translations of the original Wolfgang remarked on the Submini-L list:-

I think it's more a national philosophy issue. When three writers were chosen to write a book about elephants (each one in his style), the result was the following:

The American writer produced a 32 page brochure called "Everything about Elephants"

The English writer wrote a 300 page volume entitled "Elephants"

The German made a 12 volume collection called "Some aspects of the life of elephants"

I had business down in Monterey this morning and hoped to have some time to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since this was business business, I didn't want to carry my belt pack and such ... so I only carried my Minox B. It fits in my pocket in its belt case right next to my wallet and doesn't even make a bulge. Business concluded much faster than I thought so I had a couple of hours to wander the Aquarium, one of my favorite places. I surprised myself and shot an entire roll of 36 pics!

A security guard saw me photographing something with the Minox and was entranced by it ... he'd never seen a camera so small and was extremely impressed when I let him hold it and take my picture with the feel and quality of it. I hope the shot of took of him and his boss come out well as they had very interesting faces. Neat folks.

Everyone loves the Minox, everyone who sees it wants to be photographed with it. It may have to become my "standard" camera because of this. ;) Godfrey DiGiorgi Submini-L February 1997

Given free choice and no restrictions, I'll put an M6 under my jacket -- but it's a rare occasion in Washington where that's the case. The Secret Service tends to frown on bulges under the coat, even if you show them what's bulging.

Twice in the last 4+ years I have had a chance to attend gatherings where I shook hands with President Clinton (see article http://www.minoxlab.com/PZ051897/peterd.htm ) . I can tell you that both times I relied on a Minox LX with a fresh battery and a new roll of film. I took my wife's ELPH as well the last time, but actually got better shots with the Minox. His face lit up a bit when he saw the tiny camera working without a flash!

The Minox is the only camera I have which makes almost everyone smile when they see it. Even, in one case, the very hardboiled security types in front of the White House (it's 6 blocks from one of my clients; I walk in that park at least once a week) who don't like anything with a lens pointed at them for the most part. Two of them even decided to mug for me last month! Peter Zimmerman Submini-L February 1997

Two weeks ago I was showing off my "new" Minox to friends in a restaurant. I noticed that several people several tables away were watching and smiling. I nodded and one of them yelled "Nice spy camera!" At that point my little camera became the focus of the entire restaurant. So much for subtlety. Dave Hicks Submini-L February 1997

Kasemeier's "Small Minox, Big Pictures" plus Joe Cooper's 3rd revised edition of Minox Manual should be in every serious Minox user's collection. The SubClub's library will send you a copy of a xerox of my 3rd Rev Minox Manual. The photos probably won't come through too well, but the text is what is most important.

Fair use of copyrighted material is permitted, e.g. making one copy of a section of a book or one article from a magazine, without problems. Distributing dozens of copies usually is not. The real question is whether or not the copyrights on, for example, Cooper's last book, were renewed by his widow or children or estate when they expired. And expire they would have because the last edition is dated around '67 or 68.

There is the flip side: if the publisher won't keep the book in print and one has made a good faith effort to buy it used, then they have little standing to tell you not to make a copy. Peter Zimmerman Submini-L March 1997

There is some variation in copyright law from country to country. If the publisher creases trading then the rights may revert to the author. e.g. in USA

Even though a publisher has no interest in reprinting material there may be a residue in the asset should some enterprising person go to the trouble of getting the rights and make a lawful reprint, as Hove did with Leica material. Photocopies of out of print books, instruction handbooks and service manuals are found from many source mail order and via the internet. It is unlikely that these enterprises are making any profit, even at the prices charged, as the cost and effort to supply is high and demand limited. Editor

I talked to one of the better camera salesmen in the DC area on Thursday evening (he's been in the business > 30 years). He tells me that it is his opinion that a mid-price hi-quality Minox would sell very well to the same people who buy Mont Blanc pens. He says those people have the money and would love to have the novelty. From MPL's point of view that should be good news because it would generate more rolls processed. And more film sold. Pete Zimmerman Submini-L March 1997

This is exactly what Minox did in the LX 2000 Millennium Edition - include a Mont Blanc fountain pen. Editor

Go to the main index Last updated 26th December 2005