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Scale Focus 35's Though not rangefinders, scale focus 35's are 1st cousins. This forum includes such popular gems as the Rollei 35's, Petri 35's, and the Olympus XA-4.

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minox-lens-style cameras
Old 02-05-2012   #1
pinkarmy
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minox-lens-style cameras

(since someone said the scale focus section has low traffic earlier and suggested that it should be merged with something else...)

i bought my Minox GT almost 30 years ago when it was still a new-on-the-market product.
it is my first Rangefinder-style camera, it is so handsome, easy to use and
i have some good times with it even i am still weak at guessing focus (in meter especially)

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Old 02-06-2012   #2
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Unfortunately I've had some bad luck with three failing Minox 35s. When they did work however, they were indeed great cameras. I'm currently using an XA2.. slightly slower lens, and only 3 distance settings instead of continuous, but same overall principle: small, silent, fast to operate.

As far as focus guesstimation goes in meters, there's a rule of thumb that I use when shooting 'from the hip'. I set the distance to 100 times focal length. So for a 35mm I set it to 3.5 meters. There's two reasons for that: a full body portrait fits in the frame, and DOF has turned from shallow to deep, covering distance guesstimation errors well.
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Old 02-06-2012   #3
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I hear Ricoh FF-1 and 1s are more reliable, of course, if Ricoh is acceptable for Minox users. Only drawback I see - there is Minox model with Av mode while FF-1 is fully AE only, unfortunately. I have not checked neither of them as I'm put off by ferry-style lens cover which probably isn't as weird in real use as it looks.

I think this are scale focus cameras, not rangefinders? Even not RF-style as RF's have DOF scale. But I'm just a nerd
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Old 02-06-2012   #4
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I wouldn't call it RF style, either, but of course the manual Minox 35 versions do have DOF scales.

I find guess-focus with a 35/2.8 lens really easy, actually. My problem tends to be that I simply forget to focus when I haven't used it in a while.
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Old 02-06-2012   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batterytypehah! View Post
I wouldn't call it RF style, either, but of course the manual Minox 35 versions do have DOF scales.

I find guess-focus with a 35/2.8 lens really easy, actually. My problem tends to be that I simply forget to focus when I haven't used it in a while.
That's why I've taped a DOF scale on the back of my XA2 right under the viewfinder; serves as a reminder to set focus.
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Old 02-06-2012   #6
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I don't think there is less traffic here than on some other forums. It just goes in cycles.

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Old 02-06-2012   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvdhaar View Post
...As far as focus guesstimation goes in meters, there's a rule of thumb that I use...
thanks for the tips
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Old 02-06-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batterytypehah! View Post
I wouldn't call it RF style...
well that was 30 years ago when i was young and innocent and there was no such thing called internet and 35mm SLR was in its golden era and a black Nikon F3-something is THE camera... the Minox was the closest thing to a true rangefinder camera...
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Old 02-06-2012   #9
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Also in the stable of Minox-lens-style cameras there is the Balda CA 35 which has the same body contour as the Minox 35 ML. The Balda has an f2.8 38mm lens and exposure is completely program dependent. There is also a Voigtlander which appears to be the same camera with an f5.6 lens.
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Old 02-06-2012   #10
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I love the mechanical aspects of cameras especially when you find some quirky little feature you've never seen before and you think "How clever". Looking at my Balda CA 35, I noticed a little window on the top plate near the shutter button. It is about 3mm long and half as wide. There is a little arrow inside. Guess what. When you need to wind the film it points toward the wind lever, and once you have wound the film and are ready to take a picture it points toward the shutter button. Clever! I don't know whether this is Balda's original idea or whether they copied someone else, but I've never seen it before. Cool!
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Old 02-06-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btgc View Post
I hear Ricoh FF-1 and 1s are more reliable...

my FF-1

it is good, the AE mode is convenience,
but i have a feeling it is not as good as Minox...never actually compared the two so it may be just prejudice.
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Old 02-07-2012   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Also in the stable of Minox-lens-style cameras there is the Balda CA 35...
i have a Revue 35XE which i believe is a Balda CA35 rebadged. (and is Balda CA35 a rebadged of something else?)
bought it just for the novelty reason (ie. my like for Minox),
haven't put a roll in it because it is a bit too "plastic" for me.
is the lens any good?

i confess i did not notice the "arrow" mark.
i played with mine after i read Spavinaw's post, it really is a clever design.
thanks for reminding me!
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Old 02-08-2012   #13
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these two are simply dead...
">

i believe they were great, it's just sad...
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Old 02-09-2012   #14
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this thread is so lonely...anyway...

Chinon Bellamy
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Old 02-11-2012   #15
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vivitar EM
features the best impersonation of a Minox-style lens

OPEN


CLOSED
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Old 02-11-2012   #16
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I wish these things worked better. Web images from the Minox cameras look great, but my one attempt at getting a working one failed, like it did for many others. Mine worked for about 10 minutes, then the aperture decided it wouldn't stop down past f8, AND the AE lock went south. Fortunately I was able to return it, but it convinced me that the Minox just isn't reliable, to put it mildly. Something a little web research could have confirmed, but I wanted to see myself.

On my other scale focus camera (Retina, utterly reliable) I trained myself to get better distance estimates by always carrying a small Ideal rangefinder. When I wanted to take a shot I'd guess the distance, then ck it w/ the rangefinder. At first I was always way off, but after a while I learned to nail it. The Ideal stays at home now.
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Old 02-11-2012   #17
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May I ask which model, Steve? Which batteries did you use?
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Old 02-11-2012   #18
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pinkarmy--I did some research and found that your Revue 35XE is a rebadged Bald CS-35 not CA-35. I also found that some CA-35's have a smooth body, and some have a textured body like the later CS-35's do. Also the front door design is different with the later ones being like the CS-35.
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Old 02-11-2012   #19
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I see pinkarmy is a fellow charter member of the "Sub Club"...

http://www.subclub.org/shop/aps.htm

Chris
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Old 02-11-2012   #20
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Nice camera the Minox. Bought one for my daughters years ago. She loved but now uses her iPhone!

I used a Rollei35 as my main camera for some time. Great for family stuff+non-threatening for street candids. No one took it seriously.
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Old 02-11-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
I see pinkarmy is a fellow charter member of the "Sub Club"...

http://www.subclub.org/shop/aps.htm

Chris
wish i am that resourceful...

BTW thanks for the link
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Old 02-16-2012   #22
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I had a Minox 35PL. It looked nice, but the shutter only worked on slow speeds. Maybe I will get luckier next time.
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Old 02-21-2012   #23
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I have a Minox 35GT, which I had to send to DAG for repair. Something with the shutter, the details of which I have forgotten. Since he fixed it ($80), it's been working flawlessly. My favorite camera, ever.
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Old 02-21-2012   #24
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haha..thanks for this thread. over the past week, i got myself a GSE and a GTE... i think i am going to have problems looking for a GSE battery, a px27. Would a minox convert to LR44 worth it ?

thanks
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Old 02-21-2012   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
...GSE battery, a px27. Would a minox convert to LR44 worth it ?

thanks
i believe you can just try DIY first: wrapping 4 x LR44 with electrician tape (just leave the +/- contacts at both ends open) might do the job.

Last edited by pinkarmy : 02-21-2012 at 21:05. Reason: typo
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Old 02-27-2012   #26
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I am looking for a pair of Minox BL 13x56 BR. If interested, I have a few high quality clothing items to include in a partial trade (Filson Double Mackinaw, ASAT Elite Ultimate, etc.).
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Old 02-28-2012   #27
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The Balda CE35 was made by one of Minoxes engineers, who left the company
and created this camera, which runs on readily available batteries.


Balda CE35 von oliverleschke auf Flickr


And it has one hell of a lens!


A walk in the fields von oliverleschke auf Flickr


Hamburg von oliverleschke auf Flickr



A walk in the fields von oliverleschke auf Flickr
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Old 02-28-2012   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlliL View Post
The Balda CE35 was made by one of Minoxes engineers, who left the company
and created this camera, which runs on readily available batteries.


Balda CE35 von oliverleschke auf Flickr
And it has one hell of a lens!
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Old 02-28-2012   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlliL View Post
The Balda CE35 was made by one of Minoxes engineers, who left the company
and created this camera,
No - it is not even the other way around. The entire Minox 35 series was designed and made by Balda. Minox were their biggest re-branding customer and got "their" Balda designs exclusively, but Balda also made related cameras with modified looks under their own and for a variety of other brands, and sold old production lines (and rights to produce the cameras made on them) to China and the USSR.
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Old 02-28-2012   #30
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Are you shure?

AFAIK Balda only produced parts for the Minox (the housing i.e.) and not the whole camera.

Nevertheless there was a very strong connection between both companies.

And in the end it doesn't matter who copied from theother, when the outcome is something that good!
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Old 02-28-2012   #31
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Quote:
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AFAIK Balda only produced parts for the Minox (the housing i.e.) and not the whole camera.
No, they were entirely made by Balda (that is, Will may have contributed the optics). If any, Braun (Frankfurt) might be said to have been at the roots of it. The whole history is complex - the inventor (Ernst Krull) had his own consultant company, had been working with Balda over Braun/Nizo Super 8 cameras and flashes, and was eventually hired by Minox as their design head. Krull supposedly had already been pregnant with that idea back in the preceding Braun days (but trade mark conflicts kept Braun from expanding into still cameras as there already was another camera maker, Braun Nürnberg), so he probably brought the camera with him, or was even hired for it. The Minox (and less so the Balda) certainly has a strong Braun look to it - and everybody involved came straight from the D.Rams team at Braun rather than having a longer association with Minox or Zapp.
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Old 02-28-2012   #32
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Thanks for clarification!
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Old 02-28-2012   #33
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...everybody involved came straight from the D.Rams team at Braun rather than having a longer association with Minox or Zapp.
wow...great information! this thread is sure getting better...

BTW i believe Braun (THAT Dieter Ram related Braun) did make one camera, but i cannot find any info on the internet, anyone knows, or even better, has one?
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Old 02-28-2012   #34
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I had the one w/ AE Lock. Is that the EL? It sure was a neat little thing, just didn't work. Can't see how you can use one of these w/o exposure lock on the other models.
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Old 02-28-2012   #35
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As far as I know, none of the "classic" Minox 35s have exposure lock ("EL" is simply a name). This was only added with the ML line, which looks different.

You can indeed use them without exposure lock, and quite well, too. I used a Kiev 35 (exact copy of the EL) for years, with slide film. Proper exposure was never an issue, but the damn thing was a portable light leak.

The EL doesn't have the 2x backlight switch, though, so you're forced to fiddle with the ASA dial to compensate. For that reason, I would recommend at least a GL, but really you might as well go for the GT which also has a self timer.

Neat trick with all Minox 35s: Make sure you have the hotshoe cover. If it's lost, DAG sells them for a buck. When you slide it in the wrong way around, the camera goes to the fixed flash sync speed (which depends on the model), giving you full manual exposure control with the aperture ring.
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Old 02-28-2012   #36
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Quote:
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Neat trick with all Minox 35s: Make sure you have the hotshoe cover. If it's lost, DAG sells them for a buck. When you slide it in the wrong way around, the camera goes to the fixed flash sync speed (which depends on the model), giving you full manual exposure control with the aperture ring.
d_mn lost it years ago...thanks anyway.
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Old 02-28-2012   #37
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So does everybody. Which is why it's the first item on Don's list:
http://www.dagcamera.com/minox35.htm

EDIT: "Fits all" is not quite right. The EL and GL need a different shape; the flash switch is at the front rather than the side. Better tell Don which model you have.
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Old 02-28-2012   #38
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Did you say minox-style-lens cameras ??

Both working. One of them had a frozen shutter and I had the privilege of having it repaired at the Arsenal factory in Kiev (a few yers ago, the factory is closed now). Small, pocketable, reliable (so far...).
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Old 02-28-2012   #39
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Another neat trick with all Minox 35s:

If you've got a spare flash lying around, file off a bit of the front left of the flahses mount, same shape as the hot shoe cover so that it doesn't push the micro switch in the camera's mount. The camera will not go into its fixed 1/60th, but still strobe the flash at every shutter speed. This way you've got perfect daytime fill possibilities.
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Old 02-29-2012   #40
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...Kiev...
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