You are currently browsing the minox tag archives.

Compact Camera Quest (Part 3)

Posted 2011.07.18 12.31 in Photography

In Part 1 of my quest, I started to identify what I was looking for in a classic compact film camera. In Part 2, I found a camera that was very easy to love – except that you can’t get film for it any more and the batteries it uses have been banned.

The third camera I came across on this journey was the Minox 35GT. Minox is mostly known for their sub-miniature ‘spy’ cameras – tiny little things you’d expect to see in a James Bond movie. Their 35mm line is not as well-known, but seem to be quite popular among the sub-compact enthusiast crowd.

Unlike the two Rolleis I looked at earlier, the Minox is a real lightweight – it’s made of a dense plastic, possibly ABS. Like the Rollei 35B, the Minox lens collapses into the camera body when not in use. Unlike the 35B, the Minox has a fold-up door which covers and protects the lens (and the front of the viewfinder) while the camera is closed.

One of the features that attracted me to the Minox 35 series was that they use aperture-priority AE. This was the mode with which I first learned about automatic exposure, and it remains my favorite kind of AE. With aperture priority, you select your desired aperture and the camera sets the appropriate shutter speed. This allows you to control the depth-of-field of your shot.

Minox 35GT

Read more »

Comparisons

Posted 2011.07.15 20.47 in Photography

One subject, two films, three cameras, seven shots.

Last weekend I decided to go shoot some film at a local historical site – Bovaird House. Primarily, I wanted to test two cameras to see how they were working. I brought along a third that was almost out of film, figuring to finish that one off too.

When I got there, the thought occured that in addition to testing the cameras, I could also compare them. So for almost every shot, I shot twice, with two different cameras. This was not a scientific test or anything, it was mainly just done for curiosity – the pictures aren’t framed exactly alike, the cameras were very different in some respects, with different film and so on.

Still, the results are interesting, even if they aren’t exactly meaningful.

The first camera was the Olympus XA-3, which was loaded with ProMax 400, an inexpensive black and white film that I substitute for Ilford HP5. This was a new acquisition and was the first roll I’d put in the camera, and was primarily what I was testing. The XA-3 has fully-automatic exposure, and zone-focusing, with a 35mm focal-length lens.

The second camera was the Minox 35GT, which was loaded with a store-brand colour film, also ISO 400. I’ve run some rolls through the Minox before but had not used it in some time and wanted to have another go with it. The 35GT has aperture-priority automatic exposure, and distance-guess focusing with a 35mm focal-length lens. I tend to set the aperture for “sunny-16” and the focus either at the hyperfocal distance for wide shots, or for closer shots I try to ensure enough depth-of-field to compensate for my bad guessing at distances.

The final camera was a store-brand single-use / disposable, loaded with ISO 400 colour film. I’d recently re-discovered this camera as it had been forgotten in the glove-box of my car, and consequently spent 2 winters and 1 summer in there. There were a few shots left on it, so I figured I’d use it up and see if it was any good. The disposable has a single fixed aperture and speed – probably f/11 and 1/125 or thereabouts. It has a wider lens than the other two, roughly around a 28mm focal length.

Read more »