Universal Minute 16

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The Minute 16 is a sub-miniature camera for 16mm perforated film in re-loadable cartridges. It was introduced 1949 by the Universal Camera Corp. of New York, NY, USA, a company perhaps best known for the Univex cameras of the 1930s. The introduction of the Minute 16 did not prevent the Corporation from going bankrupt 1952.

The tiny chromed metal camera looks like a cine camera with the traditional foldable frame finder at the top. It has a meniscus lens set deep in an aluminium lens barrel with a small aperture selector lever marked f6.3 - 11 - 16 next to it. The lever on the right-hand side winds the camera, and the release push button is situated just above it. A manually reset frame-counter is just below the lever. A 1/60sec. single-speed semi-cylinder guillotine shutter is placed behind the lens.

A remarkable feature is the tripod-socket at the camera base, which doubles as a flash synch-contact; a rare feature also found on the 35mm SLR Contax S introduced the same year as the Minute-16. For the especially interested collector the camera must be in its original box and with its huge flashlight in the style of a professional strobe with side bracket. The simple, but quite solidly made camera, is very common on its own.


  • Type: sub-miniature viewfinder camera
  • Manufacturer: Universal Camera Corp. of New York, NY.
  • Year of launch: 1949
  • Film/frame-size: 16mm film cassette/10×14mm
  • Shutter: Guillotine shutter with speed 1/60 sec.
  • Lens: meniscus lens
  • Aperture: f6.3, f11 and f16
  • Viewfinder: two-piece foldable sports finder
  • Film advance: lever
  • Flashlight