The Mini is a Japanese subminiature camera using 17.5mm paper backed rollfilm, reportedly taking 17×17mm pictures and ostensibly made by Minica OL, perhaps in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
The Mini has a vertical shape, like a miniature movie camera. The front and back have a shiny metal finish. There is a frame finder swinging at the top. The film is advanced by a knob on the photographer's right. The back is removable for film loading, contains a single uncovered red window, and is retained by a spring-loaded latch at the top.
The lens has a fixed focus and aperture, and has no marking. The everset shutter is tripped by a button visible on the right side, near the bottom. The speeds (25, 50, 100, 150, B) are selected by a small knob under the lens. The adjustable shutter speed is the only "advanced" feature of the camera, which is otherwise crudely made.
The camera is identified by the name MINI prominently inscribed on the front plate above the lens. The back is inscribed MINICA OL and MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN in small letters at the bottom.
Surviving examples of the Mini are known in chrome with black covering, or in gold with red covering.
- ↑ Frame size: Pritchard, p.72, repeated in this page at Submin.com. However Sugiyama, item 5068, says 14×14mm (the nominal size for most cameras using 17.5mm film).
- ↑ Chrome and black: examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 5068, in Pritchard, p.72, and in this page at Submin.com. Gold and red: example pictured in this page at Submin.com.
- Pritchard, Michael and St. Denny, Douglas. Spy Cameras — A century of detective and subminiature cameras. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-874485-00-3. P.72.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 5068.
The Mini is not listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi.
- Mini at Submin.com
- Brief mention among 17.5mm film cameras at Subclub.org