Tiny 35mm cameras: The Minox 35GT, 05 May 2023

Tiny 35mm cameras: The Minox 35GT, 05 May 2023

Although I have a good number of 120 roll film cameras, I don't have many 35mm cameras to fall back on. There's my precious Ikkosha Start 35k, and the malfunctioning Canon Epoca, and the Lomo LC-A,  but that's about it. 

I've always had a hankering for a Minox, those little miniature cameras that just fold into a pocket, but the price of those little beasties have always been outside my budget. Until now. 

Just lately, loads of cameras have been popping up on the Kamerastore website that fail their quality control criteria. One of these 'not passed' cameras was a nifty little Minox 35GT for 35€. Described as functioning perfectly (sometimes these older ones can underexpose quite dramatically, I'm told) but having a slightly slow aperture I thought it would be worth a try.

When it arrived it was in really nice condition and I couldn't see much of a problem with it. But these dinky little cameras used to use PX27 batteries, which were mercury based and are now banned. First I tried a 4LR44 battery, which was recommended ad a suitable replacement, but this was too long and I could not close the battery chamber. Then I saw an article on the Lomography website where someone had wrapped four LR44s in electrical tape, which didn't work either. Then finally I found a supplier of alkaline PX27A batteries in Spain, which worked! Now I just had to test it with a film.

I still have a couple of expired (c.2002) Konica VX100 films in the fridge which I have used but have never really got good results from. I've always put that down to the shitty cameras, but I figured that if I set the film speed to 50ASA I should get something worthwhile. 

I took the Minox 35GT to Aveiro and used the 12 exposure film around the city. After popping the film into the 1h film lab (Forever Blue, they always do a grand job) the image files were waiting for me when I got home.

Again the images were awful, with a dreadful orange cast and full of grain. I reckon when I get the films back they'll be very thin. After this attempt I have decided that the films are most likely no good, and in future I will use some cheap black and white film to test new film cameras.

However, the images that the lab could scan were pin sharp and looked really nice. The Minox is certainly one camera that I can't wait to take out again.

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