Minox B: starting from scratch

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Buzz Kimball, May 11, 2014.

  1. Buzz Kimball

    Buzz Kimball Member

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    I'm trying to contain my excitement at finally securing my father's 1963-64 Minox B. I want so much to start using it, and the steps to getting up and running are many and complex. That's fine, I'm a semi-patient man.

    It occurs to me that I need to keep things in perspective before I go racing off to buy a film slitter, retrofit a Jobo tank for 16mm reels, etc. The first step is to make certain I have a functioning camera. So I ask the wise men and women out there, only because I haven't successfully found the answer myself after days of searching: how do I determine if it's working (in particular, the selenium light metre, because the rest of the camera makes some lovely, high-precision sounds when I click the shutter and advance the frame) and if the light metre is NOT working, am I in trouble? Can I use the sunny 16 rule, or is that not possible with the Minox B? And if repair is in order first, to whom do you suggest I send it?

    Thanks, I'm delighted to be here. Australia is a tough place for an analogue photographer.

    Buzz Kimball
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    -) You can see the shutter work as it is located in front of the lens.
    Setting the shutter speed at "B" means that the shutter is open as long as you press the release button.
    One shutter blade has a marking.

    -) You can use the sunny-16 rule , but as you got only one aperture, f 3.5, you have to recalculate it respectively look the Speed up in the table for 3.5, or rather use the shutter Speeds given for 2.8 or 4.
    On sunny days rather use a slow speed film or that neutral density filter.

    -) A somewhat working meter should at least show a moving needle dependent on the light situation. You can do a rough check by comparing to the sunny-16 rule. Beter check against a good exposure meter. External or camera-meter. Use a homogeneous plane/area to measure on.


    -) Outside Australia you can always send it for service to Germany. Minox name their service partner in Germany here:
    http://www.minox.de/index.php?id=9329&L=2


    -) A Manual can be found here:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/minox/minox_b/minox_b-splash.htm
     
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  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I don't know if Minox film is commercially available now. You can check if this guy is still around and filling orders. I remember reading that for a while he was not responding to orders (illness?) but now back. But verify before sending any money. And I believe Blue Moon Camera in Portland, OR processes Minox film (not sure how you're splitting your time between AU and Seattle). They may know about film sources.

    You mention a 16mm reels. Minox film is 9.5mm wide (8x11 frame), so you need an 9.5mm reel. Stainless steel reels were made (have one), and they pop up reasonably frequently on ebay. If you google around, you'll see other options for processing Minox film that will work at least as a temporary solution. They are typically variants of rolling the film around a tube, which is essentially what the Minox daylight tank does.

    You can always tray develop to test the camera (assuming you have a darkroom). I've used a 1x35mm tank with my 1 8mm reel and a spacer cut from plastic pipe.

    There is a Yahoo Submini Group, but not a lot of activity there.

    Welcome to APUG.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Minox film is commercially available.
    No longer by Minox, but by Fotoimpex.

    16mm reels once were made by Jobo. They can be modified to take 9.5mm film, as can be done with the 35mm reels.
     
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  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have some 9.5mm Jobo reels. They were not made by Jobo but were aftermarket modified. If the emulsion touches the reel at all there will be no development in that area. To make it work I spring-load the end of the film by placing a cable-tie through a hole in the film. That forces the film to the outside of the spiral.
    An easier method would be to get a Minox tank.

    If you don't have any cassettes, buy some new film and save the cassettes. They are reusable.

    Related thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/68254-diy-minox-developing.html
     
  6. Buzz Kimball

    Buzz Kimball Member

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    My thanks to all who have replied! Your information has been helpful, and I look forward to making progress with getting my Minox B back in use!

    Buzz
     
  7. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Have fun! I have two, a black on that was my Dad's, and a silver one that was my Mother's. The light meters on both work fine. Selenium meters can easily go bad. There are a lot of how to repair articles on the internet.
    Minox promises to have film available by this Summer - but I'll believe it when I see it. They promised it would be available last Fall, then this Spring, so ... As said above, it's not hard to reload the cassettes.
    I use a Minox tank for developing most of the time. I do have a couple of 9.5mm reels if more than one roll is ready. The Minox tank if fully daylight - even loading the film. Very clever design, but keep pumping the thermometer.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Currently there is not the slightest hint at films at the Minox site. Only at processing (old) film.
    Only reference at the moment is by Fotoimpex. So it is not even clear if Minox themself are still in the game.
     
  9. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    After reading this thread, I took a look at the Photo Impex site and they say "Out if stock" on all their Minox listings.

    I have a Minox B myself, bought in the mid 1960s during a momentary surplus of disposable income. It's been gathering dust for a long time and when I see one of these threads I think I owe it to myself to run some more modern film through it. I suppose I could slit some larger stuff, but I don't have many cassettes and I also seem to recall the daylight tank dunks them in the chemicals. The latter I fear might shorten their useful lives.

    Film found on ePrey seems to be 30 years old and $20 a roll, Heck, if I'm going that far back, I still have a roll or two with expiration dates in the 70's around here somewhere!
     
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  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But Fotoimpex at least list those films and present a date of expected availability. That is better than nothing.

    (That date though may be a pro-forma date.)
     
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  11. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Ah, my German from high school days is rather rusty (50 some years ago and not very good when new!) so I went to the English side; there it just says "Sold out" with no further explanation. So I just looked at the Deutscher side and indeed, I think they are saying July 30th.

    I suppose it can be argued that summer doesn't end until September 21! :blink:

    Anyway, thanks, maybe I'll yet exercise the little bugger.
     
  13. Buzz Kimball

    Buzz Kimball Member

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    Blue Moon and Minox on the distant horizon?

    I contacted Blue Moon Camera and Machine (http://www.bluemooncamera.com) in Portland, OR about Minox film. They apologised for protracted negotiations (I suppose with Minox), but it sounds like they hope to get involved in the manufacture of fresh Minox cassettes by the end of 2014. It has taken them way longer than expected.
     
  14. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Meanwhile I found that hint at the Minox site too... It is (most probably it was there a few weeks ago too) in their shop-section, listed under accessories:
    Availibility expected in late summer of this year.
     
  15. scottyhoffo

    scottyhoffo Member

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    Minox repairs

    Hi, great to see some activity on the Minox front! :smile:

    I unfortunately don't get on these sites much any more - now I'll be sure to keep more active. I admit there's not much on the Yahoo! message list... any of them, for that matter. Shoot 'em a message and you'll be sure to get at least a response or two. :smile: There's also an active user group on Flickr.

    I'm not sure if he's still working on cameras, as I haven't contacted him in a while, but Don at DAG Camera up in Wisconsin, USA repairs (repaired?) Minox cameras. He did some work for me a while back and did excellent work. I don't have his number with me at the moment, unfortunately, but I know he has a website. As one of not many folks working on them, at least in the US, he can get busy quickly. I don't know if anyone closer to you still works on them.

    Best of luck to you and hope to stay in touch.
    Cheers!

    Scott