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Nick's Classic Corner - No 26 - Minox EC and Rollei A110

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It was great to read Tony Kempen's recent article in AP about the Rollei A110, and to be honest, he said almost exactly what I would. It's a terrific little camera - by far the best-made 110 format camera I've ever used, tiny, with excellent metering and a really nice 23mm f2.8 Tessar, with zone focusing. The beauty of it is the feel - it's just wonderful.

    Anyway, Tony having done such a good job, I thought I would compare it to a camera with which it shares a lot, but somehow manages to make the Rollei look massive - the Minox EC.

    So, both are made in Germany. Both need to be pulled open, and pushed shut then opened to advance the film. Both have orange plastic shutter buttons. Both have brightline finders. Both have programmed exposure. Both take separate flashcube holders. Both use tiny subminiature film cartridges. Both are even pretty much the same width and depth - but the Rollei is about 2.5 times the height. They both come in similar boxes,, and have similar metal chains.
    Differences? Format size - 110 is actually a lot bigger than the Minox. The Minox has manual film speed setting, but a fixed-focus 15mm f5.6 lens. The Minox has a frame counter on the base, the Rollei a window to see the frame number on the backing paper of the film cartridge. The Minox has a flash/on/battery check switch, the Rollei a battery check button. The Minox shell is plastic, against the metal Rollei.

    So what are they like to use? Still not finished the first Minox film, so I can't really say - but it's very, very, very small. The Rollei produces decent prints and is a real delight to use - for a fully auto camera using a ridiculous format. It remains every inch a Rollei despite the dumbing down - the Minox is incredible, but somehow never quite feels like the real thing, the genuine spy camera - I guess because of the plastic and the automation.

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