Minox 110 camera

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Minox 110 description

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), December 16, 1999


-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), December 27, 1999.

The Minoctar 25mm f/2.8 lens of Minox 110S is one of the top ten best quality subminature lenses. Credit: Dr. William White's Subminiature Photography.

The ten best quality subminiature lenses are:

About the Minox 110S, Dr. William White wrote:

"Unlike many other expensive 110 format cameras, it delivered all of the required features in abundance, and the final proof was in the negatives it produced, which could not be exceeded, if even equalled, by any other camera of the format "

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), December 27, 1999.

The rangefinder/viewfinder of Minox 110s has continueous parallax correction, as you move the focusing scale, the bright frame line moves to the right or left contineously.

Other similar $200 plus 110 rangefinder cameras, for example Canon 110 has only a parallax mark, but no true parallax correction.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), December 29, 1999.

Using a slider to rotate a strong front element to focus a 110 camera is also quite common, for example, Rollei E110/A110 use such a method. I expect to see the same in Minox 110S. Wondering what kind of linkage mechanism was used in this camera to achieve lens focusing and rangefinding and viewfinder parallax correction all at the same time with a same slider switch, I expected to see the front element of its lens rotates. I am presently surpriced to find that instead the whole lens + shutter asssembly moves in tandem, in order word, I never expected this Minox 110S uses unit focusing.

And this camera even lets user select metric mode or ft mode. This is indeed a high quality little camera.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), December 29, 1999.

The Minox 110S I got from eBay looked fine, the shutter clicks, the shutter speed reacts to intensity of light, fast at bright light, slow to about 1 sec at dim light. But when I loaded a 110 film and tried to take some picture, ooops, the film advance mechanism is intermitten, When cock the film advance level, the film number at the back window did not move, only the shutter is tensioned. When the release shutter is pressed the shutter fired, cock the film advance lever again, the film did not move, shutter was tensioned.... I end up took multiple shoots on the same frame of film.

I called up Kindermann Canada Inc, wanted to get an estimate about how much and how long it takes to fix it. Kinderman fixed my Minox C and 35ML, I know they have good technicians.

But the answer I got was "Nope, we do not fix Minox 110S, there is no parts "

Now I know why a Minox 110S sold for about $200 when it first came out, now can be bought for less then $100 ! If it does not work, it cannot be fixed !!

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), January 21, 2000.

Buying camera from eBay is rather risky. My Rollei 16S does not function completely (the shutter fires at only one speed ). And now this Minox 110S which does not advance film.

After playing around for two weeks, and two drops of lubrication oils at the film advance gear, the Minox 110S seems alive again! I am loading a new roll of film and hope it will work this time.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), January 21, 2000.

Film Advance Mechanism

110 film is sproketless, it is driven by wheel gear at the bottom. But there is one hole per frame at the film edge. This hole is not used to move the film, but instead it is used to tell the film advance mechanism when to stop.

There is a tiny sensor pin at the bottom of camera, initially at \pop up position, when the cassette is loaded, this pin is pressed down by the film, thus signalling the camera to tension the shutter at first stroke of film lever, then advance the film as long as the user contineously cocking the lever, during which the camera gear wheel turns the spindle of 110 cassette and pull the film through, until the little control hole catches the sensor pin and pushes it to / position, the pin instantly retracts, the film advance gear lock up and the film stop.

When the user press the shutter release button, the shutter fires, the sensor pin resurface, but at \ position, missed the hole by 2 mm, and is depressed by the film. So when clock the film advance level, the shutter cocks, then film moves, until pin engaged the hole, film stop, the cycle repeats.

If there is no film in the camera, the sensor pin is always at \ position and never depressed by film. In this state, cocking the film advance lever only tensioning the shutter, the film drive gear never moves.

For the shutter tension and film advance mechansim to work, the sensor pin must be able to move freely in

  1. Pin at \ pop up position
  2. Pin at \ but depressed by film
  3. Pin pushed over to / position and tracts
  4. go to 1.

The sensor pin should never be retracted at \ position without being pressed by film. This malfunction state causes film advancing gear to lock up.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), January 21, 2000.


Minox 110S shutter can work without battery. In this case, the shutter works at only one speed ( about 1/125 or 1/60 ).

This is an interesting design. This works because Minox110S shutter is a combination of mechanical shutter and electromagnetic shutter. During the shutter tensioning cycle, the mechanic pushes a magnetic plate to the pole of an electromagnet. When the shutter is pressed, if there is no battery, the magnetic plate returns quickly by a spring and trips the shutter at "no current" condition. It is all mechanical.

On the other hand, if there is battery, then the current flowing through the electromagnet is proportional to the intensity of light as sensed by light sensor, resulting is stronger/ weaker/ pull on the magnetic plate, resulting in more or less retardation or perhaps acceleration of the release of the magnetic plate to achieve variable shutter speed.

Rollei 16/16s use similar shutter, therefore the selenium meter fails, the shutter still works, but only at one speed.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanaada.com), January 21, 2000.

This amazing Minox 110S camera even has a depth of field scale, which is rather different from any other DOF scale on any other camera. Usually DOF scale is made up of aperture numbers symmetrically placed on both side of focusing pointer. The Minox 110S DOF scale is made up of two red bars - -

which open up wider or close up narrow when you turn the aperture dial.

For example at F8, the hyperfocal distance = 6 meter, with near limit at 2.7M and far limit at infinity. If the aperture is f/16, the hyperfocal distance =2.6 M and depth of field from 1.1 M to infinity.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), January 26, 2000.

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