Are 35mm Minoxes reliable? : LUSENET : Minox Photography : One Thread

While shopping around for the 35mm Minoxes in Hong Kong very few camera stores had them in stock. The shops that didn`t have them in stock generally had something negative to say. They told me that the shutter and advancing mechanism tends to break while the shops that carries the Minoxes mentions that these cameras are for the dead serious users and they are fine exquisite tools. The shops that knocked down these cameras also mentioned they could order one for me from the dealer and so maybe there is a grain of truth to what they say since they could sell me a Minox and they didn`t try to sway me to another brand of camera. Are these gems reliable? I particularly intersted on the Minox GT-E.

-- Binghum (, December 28, 1998


Minox 35ML indeed had shutter problems, due to unreliable parts supplier for the electronics shutter; this problem was resolved with latter models. I myself have a 35ML, it shutter failed. This shutter of GTE is quite good. I am quite happy with it. Earlier this year, B&H has a sale on Minox GTE for about $199 ( if I recall correctly ), in anticipation of newer model GTS. IMO, GTE is a better buy than GTS. There is one added advantage of Minox GTE-- it has a built in UV filter to protect the lens. a feature not even available to may top of the line compact, such as my Contax T2. Minox GTE is really a very nice design. I recommened it to members of Subminiature lists, many bought it, and likes GTE very much.

-- martin tai (, December 28, 1998.

I've had a Minox 35 GL for 10 years. I finally broke it when it fell down on the floor. I think the Minox is a great camera. I love its silence. Its lense' quality is amazing at 5,6/8 and you can trust its meter. It is true that the advancing mechanism is ackward but you can still use it if it's damaged. You can even change its speed buy hiding the meter on the lense with a finger ! I miss my Minox and I think it's the best way to learn photography !

-- Emmanuel Renaud (, January 06, 1999.

Emanual is right. Minox 35mm camera is indeed very quiet, a silent camera. I checked a GTE side by side with Leica M6, which is well known for its quietness, Minox GT-E is quieter. Many times when I use GT-E or 35ML to take pictures of my wife, she often wonder whether picture was taken. Minox 35mm cameras are the quietest full frame 35mm cameras.

-- mt (, January 06, 1999.

No problem with my Minox 35 (I use every models from EL to GT, today I have a ML with me). I've done a lot of films with the GT. some with the ML and only a few ones with each others. About the noise, some years ago a girl was showing to me the Minox 35 GT her father bought for her at Christmas. While chatting, I took a picture and she noticed that only after processing...

-- Daniel Leygnat (, January 22, 1999.

I have owned, and used heavily, a Minox 35GL I bought new in 1980. I have read reports from other owners that its electronics and shutter are troublesome.

I've never had any trouble at all with electronics or shutter. The one actual failure I have experienced was that the original metal winder handle broke off when the camera was about eight years old. Don Goldberg, America's best Minox repair expert, put on a partly plastic winder handle made for a later model of the Minox 35. It has worked fine ever since (for 10 years).

-- Ernest Murphy (, February 05, 1999.

I've had quite a lot of shutter problems, first with a GT, and then with an ML. The ML is fixed now (expensive, as we now have to pay Leica prices for parts) but I haven't used it since I got it back. I got a Ricoh GR1 to replace it when it broke, and whilst the GR1 is noisy compared to the Minox, optically it is on a par, it is more foolproof, and feels more solid. In general I'm still a Minox 35 fan, but you really really do need to keep your wits about you when using them!

-- David Mantripp (, September 18, 1999.

Well after using my GTE for over half a year I can say it`s a pretty good camera. Sharp lense and strong body.

The plastic casing is fantastic and very scratch resistant and impact resistant. This little camera is so tiny that I must state that I have dropped this camera a couple of times on hard concrete cement. It was direct impact. The initial scratches and dents almost disappeared due to the resilience of this plastic material. I only have one little dent around the corner from the direct impact and the dent shrunk in size with a little time.

I also want to say that the Hong Kong dealer Schmidt Photo has an impeccable service and has met all my requests and satisfied all my picky needs. When I first bought my camera I found that my GTE had a little film spacing problem and they gave me a new camera. Then recently due to my fault I dropped my camera a couple of times the skylight filter was loose and my focusing ring was out and they fixed my camera within half an hour and no questions asked. I also complained that I found my camera under exposed about one stop under bright lighting situations and he tweaked the exposure meter to my liking. Now that is fantastic service. My camera technician is Mr.W.K.Tam and a pleasant person to deal with. After this experience I plan to buy a Leica system because I know this dealer really stands behind their products.

-- Binghum (, September 19, 1999.

I just bought a Minox GT-E (after reading all your comments), used it over the weekend and got back my slides two days ago. The results were fantastic - lens was sharp, good resolution and close focusing was'nt much of a problem (you do need to have a sense of distance though). The metering was good although there is a risk of underexposure if the background is bright or if a ray of sunlight happens to be shinning on the lens where the meter is located. It is a small, wonderful camera - for its quality, size and price, I don't think anything else comes close.

-- Michael SP Tan (, September 30, 1999.

I've had a GT-E for 1 month now. After I broke my 35GL, I wanted to go back to the Minox. I'll soon post new pictures on my site, and you'll be able to see how great it is to work with a 35 GT.

> Discussion in French and English : >

-- Emmanuel Renaud (, February 29, 2000.

I've been using Minox 35s since the first EL, and have had 1 El, 2 GLs, and 2GTs.

I find that all of the above comments match my experience. I've used the cameras heavily - I use no others, and when on vacation, I shoot up to 60 rolls in 3 to 6 weeks. My personal notion is that these are well designed and well built cameras that are simply not designed for heavy duty, even though they will often work well under the heaviest duty. Inevitably, some units will come out of the factory ready to freeze up because they are slightly out of spec in some way, but I have been lucky enough not to have had such a unit.

Every Minox I've owned has eventually had the shutter freeze. I expect this to happen at the worst possible time, and I compensate by having 2 cameras. As I usually shoot both KR and a fast film, the 2 cameras are not strictly a backup, but when I do get a failure, I can fall back on one. To me this is simply a cost of operation - if the cameras were made for truly heavy duty, I couldn't afford them, but by having two, I get medium duty performance at a medium duty price (well, it used to be a medium duty price). I also check the shutter whenever I have the time when changing rolls - just dry-fire with the back off. I have had mixed results with repairs when the shutter freezes or the film advance is off, and I've come to the conclusion that it the camera has seen heavy duty, it may not be worth fixing it when it breaks.

In spite of the relatively low duty cycle, I think they are without peer, and I cannot imagine not using a Minox - at least as long as there is a model with manual ASA control and a meter that can go 30 minutes or more for a starlight exposure.

I shoot a lot in locations where people are not always keen on having pictures taken. Invariably, it's easier with a Minox, which is very non-threatening, and is often seen as a toy.

I've become very adept at guessing distances, twiddling the film speed dial, and holding the back with my third hand while reloading in a crowd. I carry it in a shirt pocket, with room to spare for a pen. Image quality is all one could ask for of a good lens at an afordable price - not the ultimate, but more than sharp enough.

It's NOT a camera for everybody, but if you want complete ccontrol, sharp pictures, ultra-long auto exposures (don't forget to allow for reciprocity failure!), sharp pictures, small size and light weight, there really is no other choice that I am aware of.

-- Spiro (, March 06, 2000.

Spiro, you seem to enjoy long exposure --- up to 30 minutes ! with your Minoxs !

But I must remind you that that is not what Minox is designed for, I am afraid you are using you camera beyond its stress limit

A long exposure, the current flowing throught the retarder solenoid is at its maximum strength. The longest exposure time is designed to be only a few seconds-- longer than that you are toasting the solenoid.

A one minute shot is equivalent to six thousand pictures taken at 1/100 sec.

I must say, the Minox camera is extremely reliable, it can even stood such massive overload !

-- martin tai (, March 06, 2000.

Minox User Experiences

The following posts are from, Leica User Group, Rollei User Group and Usenet.


I've been thinking of getting a Minox , after hearing what my boss had to say about the optics compared to his Contax T, and after owning an Olympus XA2.

Which model should I own if I only wanted ONE ? The consensus seems to be the GT-E ... what about the other older models? How's the PE? No one talks about it.

-- Kelvin (, February 27, 2002.


Earlier Minox 35 had shutter problem. Later models are better. GT-E and 35ML are good choices

-- martin tai (, February 27, 2002.

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