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-- Walter Zapp

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THE MODEL C

D. Scott Young

Model C

Minox has always made a point of creating "firsts" in the introduction of most of their subminiature cameras, a constant process of refining the original brilliant engineering design of inventor Walter Zapp. While it is a testimony to his genius that most of the mechanical workings of all Minox subminiature cameras remain virtually unchanged over 60 years after the original Riga was introduced, each model has produced changes that either offered a significant benefit to the user or a significant difference to the historical collector. The Model C series of 8 x 11 Minox cameras offer both.

The differences to the historical collector are several: the Model C was the longest Minox subminiature ever produced, making it the largest they ever made. It was also the first, and the only Minox subminiature with all three of it's main control knobs mounted on the top deck (shutter speed selector, focus knob, and film speed selector). It may also be the heaviest as well, being the first model to require a battery to function. It was also the last Minox subminiature to have a filtre set designed specifically for it.

The differences to the user are even more significant: as mentioned, for the first time the Minox enthusiast had to think about getting a PX27 (or equivalent) battery to power their camera. This is because the Model C incorporated an extremely accurate, electronically timed shutter (another first in Minox subminiatures) with user selectable shutter speeds of 1/15th of a second up to the traditional 1/1000th of a second. In addition, the shutter speed dial offered an "A" for automatic setting, and when selected, the built in, fully coupled CdS (Cadmium Sulfide) exposure meter provided fully automatic selection of shutter speeds from the top 1/1000th of a second all the way down to 10 full seconds. The battery powered CdS meter offered a great improvement over the self powered selenium cell meter of the previous Model B, being faster, more reliable, far more sensitive, more accurate and, as time has proven, more long lasting: selenium cell metres degrade over time naturally as a result of exposure to light, while the CdS cell meters continue to function reliably and accurately today, years after they were first built.



The Model C discontinued the practice of providing two filtres that slid into place over the lens; instead, it was outfitted with a single, sliding Neutral Density filtre, a practice that continued with the remaining metal bodied cameras in the Minox line. Another distinct benefit to the user was the addition of a completely computer redesigned lens marked simply "Minox" to distinguish it from the earlier, venerable ComPlan design of previous models. This newly redesigned lens provided a flat focal plane, allowing Minox to drop the curved pressure plate of previous models.

The Model C also incorporated a count down film counter showing the number of shots left to be taken on a roll, but this counter was now marked for the more modern 36 and 15 shot rolls that Minox was then producing.

The Model C was introduced in 1969, with the standard brushed satin silver coloured finish and the matte black finish being the only production finishes available; approximately 169,863 of these cameras were produced in the 7 years of its manufacturing cycle, which ended in 1976.

 

 

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Copyright 2001 by the Minox Historical Society. Reproduction in whole, or in part without express written permission is prohibited. "Minox" is a trademark of Minox, GmbH.
Last updated March 20, 2003. minox club society organization historical history museum group company association