Christopher J Osborne

Minox 35 EL

Minox 35 EL camera opened ready for use Minox 35 EL lens detail Minox 35 EL camera closed for storage and transportation

Rollei virtually invented the luxury 35mm ultra-compact segment with the launch the Rollei 35 in 1966, and it took competitors a little while to respond in force. But when they did this soon became quite a crowded sector. One example is the Minox 35 EL launched in 1974. In 8 years manufacturing technology had advanced considerably and by using advanced plastics the Minox 35 EL was almost half the weight of the Rollei 35 (at about 190 grams compared to 360 grams).

Of course Minox was already famous for tiny cameras as the maker of 8x11mm sub-miniature cameras, so I suppose they had a reputation to maintain! The Minox had a drop door in front of the lens ensure that no awkward and easy to loose lens caps were necessary. The 35 EL began a long lived series of ultra compact full-frame 35mm cameras from Minox that were never beaten in terms of size.

Like the Rollei 35 the Minox 35 EL (and all the subsequent cameras) had scale focusing with no focusing aids, but unlike the Rollei it had the convenience of automatic exposure (of the aperture priority type, so the photographer still had some control), and a more conventional and convenient arrangement of the controls.

It was around this time that half-frame cameras start to wane in popularity (except perhaps in Japan where they were still quite popular well into the 1980s). After all when you could get a full-frame camera as tiny as this, why bother with half-frame!

Technical specification: Minox 35 EL
Negative size:24x36mm
Film:Standard 35mm cartridges
Shutter:Automatic electronically operated prcision shutter. Speed range from 1/500 to approx 30 sec with ASA 25 / 15 DIN film, to approx. 1 second with ASA 800 / 30 DIN. Shutter automatically set to 1/30 sec when flash unit is inserted into flash shoe.
Shutter release:Soft action release, locked if front cover is closed or partially open. Cable release socket in release button.
Shutter speed indicator:CdS exposure meter with exposure indication in the view finder (1/30 to 1/500 sec); slow exposure warning (exposure longer than 1/30 sec); over exposure warning (exposure shorter than available 1/500 sec).
CdS measuring cells:One each for automatic shutter control and for shutter speed indicator, mounted in lens barrel.
F-stop setting:Stepless from f/2.8 to f/16.
Lens:Color-minotar 35mm f/2.8 for element objective; focusing from 0.9m to infinity. Depth of field scale. Lens automatically retracted when front cover is closed.
Finder:Luminous fram viewfinder with built-in exposure indicator.
Exposure counter:Aditive from 0 - 36. Resets automatically to starting position when back cover is removed.
Flash contact:Built into flash shoe. automatic shutter setting to 1/30 sec; X-syncronisation.
Tripod socket:1/4" thread
Battery:PX 27
Battery test:Test button; test result visible in viewfinder (needle must stand at 125).
Camera housing:Made of strong fiberglass re-enforced Makrolon.