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Classic Camera Review: The Minox 35

In the early and mid-1970s, I often prowled the various neighborhoods of my native Brooklyn with my camera in tow. Coney Island was one of my favorite haunts and, despite the fact Coney wasn’t the safest of places at the time, I managed to wander the boardwalk and alleyways with a 4 x 5 field camera and a bag of Nikons slung over my shoulder without incident.

In a bid to lower my visual profile—and maybe shake up my shooting habits in the process—I started looking for a camera that was smaller and stealthier than the gear I was currently using. I wanted a camera that offered some degree of exposure control, a camera that took good pictures, and equally important—a camera that didn’t look in any way threatening. And that’s when the Minox 35 caught my eye.

Photographs © Allan Weitz 2020

From 1974 to 1996, the Minox 35 was the world’s smallest full-frame 35mm camera. It features a foldaway 35mm f/2.8 lens, aperture-priority exposure with exposure override, and the stealthiest street profile you’ll ever find in a camera.
From 1974 to 1996, the Minox 35 was the world’s smallest full-frame 35mm camera. It features a foldaway 35mm f/2.8 lens, aperture-priority exposure with exposure override, and the stealthiest street profile you’ll ever find in a camera.

The Minox brand is most commonly associated with the tiny 8mm still cameras that showed up in James Bond spy thrillers. Unlike the Minox spy camera, which had a form factor similar to a dwarfed Pez dispenser, the Minox 35 was quite unlike any compact camera available at the time. And yes, the Minox 35 took very good pictures.

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