Subminiature espionage camera
The Minox LX is a
subminiature photo camera
developed my Minox GmbH
in Germany during the last stages of the Cold War. It is a fully electronic
photo camera with a built-in Silicon Blue Cell (SBC)
exposure meter, coupled to an electronic shutter mechanism.
Like its predecessor, the Minox C, it is powered by a
small PX-27 battery. Without the battery, this camera won't work.
Despite the more advanced electronics however, the LX is about 10 mm shorter
than the Minox C making it a more suitable for espionage use.
With its outer dimensions of 110 x 27 x 15 mm it is still a lot bigger than
the earlier cameras like the Minox B and the
The image on the right shows a typical Minox LX. As usual, the speed dial
and the focussing dial are on the top of the body. The exposure counter
is visible through a small window close to the focussing dial.
A small dial for setting the film speed is available at the bottom.
As the camera was produced in the modern 'electronic' era, a number of
indicator LEDs are present on the body. A slide switch, next to the speed
dial, can be activated to read the current status of the battery and the
Unfortunately, the shutter release button is mounted in a different position
than on earlier models, making the Minox LX unsuitable for some existing
accessories, such as the Binocular Attachment.
Special versions of these accessories are available for the Minox LX.
As the LX is a fully electronic camera, the shutter can only be operated
when a full PX-27 battery is present.
The Minox LX was produced from 1978 to 1995 and a special version of it,
the Minox TLX,
was in production from 1996 to 2003, making it the most
long-lived Minox subminiature camera. In total, approx. 42000 units were
produced, which is a fairly small number compared to the
Minox B of which 384,328 units were built.
At the upper side of the camera are two dials. When holding the camera as
indicated in the image below, the leftmost dial is used to set the shutter
speed, between 1/30 and 1/2000 sec. Setting the dail to A enables automatic
exposure by using the built-in light sensor.
The rightmost dial is the distance setting (focussing).
The high-quality macro lens allows objects to be focussed as close as 20 cm.
Like with the other Minox spy cameras, the viewfinder moves
slightly when the speed dial is rotated, in order to compensate for parallax
errors. This makes the camera ideally suited for document photography.
To the left of the speed dial is a slide switch that can be moved up and down.
When released, it always returns to the centre position. This test-switch is
used in combination with the three status LEDs at the left (green, red and
yellow). Sliding the test-switch up activates the battery test. When the
green LED is lit, the battery is OK.
Sliding the switch down activates the exposure test (exposure set to A).
To avoid motion blur caused by slow shutter speeds, the yellow LED will be lit
when shutter speeds below 1/30 sec. are to be used. It is advisable to use
a tripod under these circumstances.
At the same time, the red LED will warn for over-exposure caused by extremely
bright ambient light. If the LED is lit, the grey filter should be placed
before the lens.
Opening the camera in order to replace the film cartridge is rather easy.
First open the camera in the usual manner, as if you want to take pictures.
Then turn the camera around so that the underside becomes visible
(image #1) and stretch the camera a little bit
This should reveal a small recessed rig
Use the nail of your thumb to press down the recessed rig
(image #3). This should unlock the camera.
Whilst pressing down the rig, slide away the body of the camera to reveal
the film cartridge compartment (image #4).
If there is a film present, turn the camera upside down until the film
cartridge falls out. Take a new film from its protective container and place
it in the camera. Then close the camera. Please note that the first image is
lost as it is already exposed. Release the shutter and close/open the camera
to advance to the next position. Then release the shutter again.
The camera is now ready for use. In the pictures below, the camera is
loaded with a 36 exposure colour film.
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© Crypto Museum. Last changed: Friday, 04 September 2015 - 15:58 CET.