Minolta 16 II

Considering I stated I wasn’t going to buy any cameras this year, I seem to be gaining quite a few. These gains have been through charity donations, swaps, gifts, or selling and reusing the money. This camera was achieved through the latter, I sold a camera and used the money to buy this one. I wanted this one as I enjoyed the last 16mm camera so much and this one looked way cooler. Plus it came with filters and a manual. I saw it on Facebook Marketplace for a cheap price and the seller agreed to post it to me.

It didn’t come with a cartridge, but I had one of those and I had gained another. The second one I received didn’t quite fit this camera, it is a few millimetres too big. I will either sand that one down a little or try it in the other camera once I figure out where I put it…they are tiny things.

I wanted to use my Yashica 44 again to keep it working smoothly, use it or lose it. The cut off from the 120 film would be perfect for this little beauty. Plus this time I knew I would be using it this way so I would be extra careful during the cutting process. I decided to cut an expired Ilford Delta 100. I have found Ilford film is less likely to scratch during the cutting process, which is important for 16mm as it is so small.

This camera feels so much more luxurious than the previous sub-miniature camera I tried. This one is all metal and has the ratchety film advance system. As there are no sprockets on the cut film, it advances on every movement, so you have to take a shot and then close the camera. Otherwise, you will lose a shot when you put it away. I found the system sometimes trapped my skin on advancement which made me wince. You don’t see that in the old spy movies, the actors saying ouch and sucking their thumb when taking photos of secret papers. Actually, the next time I have a film to try, I am going to attempt that…take photos of papers, plans or maps as I don’t think it can do it. There were some closeup filters, but I still don’t think you can get close enough or the detail is sharp enough for it to be viable. Oh and when you do advance the film and the camera is ready to shoot, there is a blue dot in the window.

This version was released around 1960 and has manual selectors on the side for speed and aperture. I set mine to sunny 16 and rarely changed it, or even forgot to at times.

You can read more about this camera and its history at this wonderful website.

I took mine on a trip to Blackpool to see some friends, a detour on my way to Scotland. Here are my results. I got 25 photos from the cut-off. There was plenty of film left in the feed section of the cartridge at this point, but I stopped when the counter went a little past 20. From previous experience, I knew the cartridge would jam if I went much further. If I get the other cartridge to fit I think I will split the roll as there seems to be enough cut off for two full rolls from one cut 120 film.

I am thinking of investing in a 3D printed 110 mask holder for my scanner. I am curious to see if that would make the results any sharper, I don’t think so as the negs are tiny.

I did try a couple of street style photos, but as you can see they show camera shake. The camera is small enough to be quite inconspicuous, but I will have to cut a faster speed of film and take advantage of the 1/500th available speed.

What an awesome little camera though, I will be using it each time I cut a roll for a 127 camera.

11 thoughts on “Minolta 16 II

  1. Kurt Ingham says:

    Camera shake is a big problem with sub minis-even when it isn’t immediately apparent the image can be degraded. Some of the best Minox pictures I have ever seen were made with the camera mounted on a very large Linhof tripod. I was pretty surprised when it became clear that the photographer saw no irony in that set up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Darrell Meekcom says:

    Kurt that has made me chuckle thank you 🙂 I have a lovely old Miranda tripod for you Peggy..it could well be a great match for this beautiful Minolta 😉 seriously tho having dragged a huge lump of a Nikon D70s around on holiday all last week this Minolta looks like a breath of fresh air!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      I got the 110 scanning mask, it is much easier to use. I think the scans are better, but due to the size they are not super sharp. Definitely an improvement though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim Grey says:

    I’m so pleased to see images from this camera. I used to own one. When I was a teenager, a neighbor had a yard sale and I bought an old camera from him. He said, “Oh, you like old cameras! Wait here for a minute.” He went inside for a good long time and then came out with this Minolta 16 II and just gave it to me. It even had a film cartridge with it. I was surprised how well built this little camera was. There was nobody who could develop this film in those days (early 80s) so I never shot the camera. None of my original camera collection survived my divorce so I’ve not seen that camera in 20 years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peggy says:

      They are not so expensive, I got this for £20. Now you are a wiz at developing and scanning, you could use one yourself. The camerahack people do a cutter for 120 to 4 110, or do what I do 120 to 127 + 110. It feels like free film.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kurt Ingham says:

    I sent mine to to a Minolta-sponsored lab in the 90’s. Got 3×5 prints which were quite nice (from a Minolta QT)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      I was lucky to spot a 110 spool on ebay that had been mislabelled. So developing is just the same as 35mm, just the scanning is a bit tricky without the mask. But Mike Eckman, showed me how to use two pieces of glass.

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