The top 10 best lenses in subminiature cameras, according to William White, author of Subminiature Photography are list below. The list is in chronological order, not by quality and refers to the quality of lens and not of results.
The size of the negative and grain of film add significantly to the quality of results when enlarged to the same size print and judgment by results would produce a different list.
Six element TLR lens stopping down to f11 and focusing down to 12 inches. "This is one of the top three subminiature cameras; it is a precision instrument of high optical and mechanical quality, capable of outstanding results."
Six element, rangefinder-coupled lens stopping down to f11 and focusing down to 13 inches. "The best subminiature camera ever made, and the all-time favourite of subminiature photographers."
Four element, fixed aperture lens focusing down to 8 inches.
Four element, fixed-focus lens stopping down to f16. The point of focus is about nine feet from the camera. Focusing to 21 inches with add-on close-up lens, or at infinity with a add-on distance lenses. "This model is one of the premier subminiatures ever designed. Its simplicity and durability have rarely been matched, and it has every feature really required for good quality still photography of any format."
Six element TLR lens stopping down to f22 and focusing down to 10 inches. "The camera is well-made like the proverbial 'fine Swiss watch'."
Multi-element lens stopping down to f22 and focusing down to 15 inches with additional close-up, wide-angle and telephoto adapters. "Let us confess here our unabashed prejudice that this was, and still is, the best German-made 16mm format camera of them all."
Multi-element lens stopping down to f16 and focusing down to 24". "The best all-around camera in its format in the early 1980s."
Multi-element SLR zoom lens focusing down to 3 inches!. "This was without a doubt the finest integrated SLR 110 manufactured. This camera achieves as fine a result as any other Japanese 110 camera."
Multi-element, interchangeable, focusing SLR lens with various close-up lenses. "It was a breakthrough design and for the general photographer, all the subminiature he or she would need in a lifetime. In fact, even the sophisticated viewer cannot tell whether the enlargement was from a 35mm or a 110."
Fixed aperture lens stopping focusing down to 31 inches. "The Robot SC was tested under a variety of conditions and with a number of different emulsions and found to be a star performer."
The Minox A is not listed, but should be as the AIII and AIIIs both use the same Complan lens of the later Minox B which is included. Cameras with the Minox lens are not included. Walter Zapp is reported to have said that the complan lens is sharper for black and white photograph but the coated Minox lens is preferable for colour photography.
Among those that may be considered to be on this list, and among the best subminiature cameras are:-
Last Updated on 12th