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Subminiature espionage camera
The Minox LX is a
subminiature photo camera
for 8 x 11 film,
developed my Minox GmbH
in Germany towards the end of the Cold War. It is fully electronically
controlled and has 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
PX-27 battery, without which it can not be used.
Despite the more advanced electronics however, the LX is about 10 mm shorter
than the Minox C making it even more suitable for
With its outer dimensions of 110 x 27 x 15 mm it is still a lot bigger than
the earlier subminiature cameras like the
the Minox A and
The image on the right shows a typical Minox LX. As with the other cameras,
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 dial for setting the film speed is available
at the bottom.
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.
As the camera was produced in the 'electronics 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
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
longest lived Minox subminiature camera. In total, approx. 42,000 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 simple.
First extend the camera in the usual manner, as if you want to take pictures.
Then turn the camera around
so that the bottom is up (1).
Next, extend the camera a somewhat further until a
recessed rig becomes visible
Use the nail of your thumb to
press down the recessed rig
This should unlock the camera.
Whilst pressing down the rig, slide away the body of the camera to
reveal the film cartridge
If a film is present, turn the camera upside down until the
film cartridge falls out
Take a new film
(6) from its
place it in the camera
Then close the camera. 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 taking pictures. In the images below, the camera is
loaded with a 36 exposure colour film.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 30 April 2010. Last changed: Sunday, 02 July 2017 - 06:21 CET.