History of VEF Minox Accessories


This information may not be complete or fully accurate, I hope we can expand on it and fill in some of the pieces over time. Please send me your input under minoxriga@yahoo.com


The Camera Sale box

The sale box. The sale box was made out of cardboard and has a leather imitate appearance. Inside the box is a small sheet glued to the inner lid describing all the different patents which were granted to VEF for the Minox. Originally all sale boxes for cameras, enlargers, development tanks, had this leather-like appearance. When the russians took over, the Riga on all sale boxes was dropped. There is considerable confusion about sale boxes with velvet-like appearance. Assuming they are original "VEF", they may have been produced during the german occupation, late in the war when maybe material such as the leather-imitation paper was difficult to obtain? After the War, Minox in Germany did produce the same velvet Minox Riga sale boxes. These are labelled with the Minox only logo, as are the two confirmed ultra rare German Minox Rigas (in Martys collection).  

Status Today: The original boxes are frequently lost and now disintegrate at an alarming rate. They are rare! Many many, infact hundreds of blank german Minox Riga sale boxes exist too which some scrupelous sellers have subsequently modified with VEF logos to achieve higher prices. Therefore there is some confusion if velvet-style Minox Riga sale boxes were ever sold by VEF. I personally think there is a logic transition as shown above but I may be wrong and all velvet-style boxes are not true VEF. 

The User Manual. The manuals were printed in several languages (Latvian, German, Russian, French and Italian languages). Originally the manuals were ordered from the German supplier Ernst Hedrich Nachf. in Leipzig. These early manuals have a thick white-ish wax-paper like binding and glossy pages and are generally of high quality. Later during the russian occupation, manuals were printed locally. These manuals do not have the same quality. In Riga Latvia they were printed by many different Contractors like for example ROTA A/S located in Blaumana Street No.38-40. They still tried to print on glossy paper but the binding is of thin paper. Other manuals were printed on normal paper e.g. by Latvju Kultura located in Terbatas Street No.15-17. Later on esp. CCCP manuals were printed by the State Paper Mill in Blaumana Street No.10, and Public Printing Press in Lielgabulu Street No.2. They are not on glossy paper and are just printed on lower grade thin paper. During the war at least in the US. also some replacement manuals were printed which have no VEF logo.

Status Today: The manuals are rare and usually are lost or found in a rolled up state (due to their storage within the box). Russian, French and Italian versions are extremely rare. One french manual is in Duncans posession (see picture above) and one and maybe only Italian manual is in Huberts collection. Made in CCCP manuals are also extremely rare (only printed for 1 year).

The guarantee card (certificate). The card itself is out of rough cardbord-like paper. It always carries the initials of the Quality control officer and is stamped with the cameras serial number. Inside the card the camera shop can enter the customers name and the date when he or she purchased it. From then on the owner was covered for 12month by guarantee. The guarantee was outlined in four languages (Latvian/English/German/French) but not Italian! On the back the camera shop would usually place its own stamp.

Status Today: Blank guarantee cards or certificates came onto the market in the 1990s and were used by some sellers to replace the original lost one. Some sellers however sometimes conveniently forget to tell you that they are selling you a camera with a replica certificate. Be aware! Having a camera with a certuificate is very precious indeed.




         The Film. This true essential was sold exclusively by VEF itself. They re-cut normal film and spooled them into minox sized brass cassettes. The brass cassettes were then wrapped in black paper and sold mainly in pairs in a small tin box. VEF sold PAN film (panachromatic film) in 10/10DIN, 13/10DIN and 17/10 DIN film speeds which corresponds to an amazingly slow 8 ASA, 16ASA and a more useable 40 ASA film. VEF also sold individual films which were then packaged in a small brown cardboard envelope. There is photographic evidence of a such a singly wrapped VEF Minox film with a film speed of  20/10DIN or "80" ASA. This film was not marked as PAN and may thus be an orthochrome film.


Status Today: Empty film tin boxes have survived in numbers but ones complete with its two films are very rare. Luckily Minox still exist today and thus modern film is still available for the Riga user.



        The VEF Minox Film Manual (translated from Latvian): Film and paper selection and characteristics

Film Storage

Film must be stored in original tin box in a cool dry area, and certainly be protected from dust and sun. Never knowingly carry the film cassettes in the pocket without bulk cartons.


One of the characterizing features are the film sensitivity. The more sensitive the film, the shorter the time it (jagaismo?), resp. (Sadu?) the film you can work under less. DIN degrees is adopted the sign photo materials sensitivity increase / eg if one film 10/10 DIN, and the other 13 / 10 DIN, the latter is twice as sensitive to the one before, it will be resp (jagaismo?) twice in less time. / previously used by the so-called Seiner degrees, by the nature / size / DIN plus degrees in the scale of 1 units. eg. 17/10 din will be about 27 Seiner degrees.

Grain and (atakirtspeja?)

would benefit from consensus seems to work only with (augstjutigo?) film, because it can take pictures in almost all light conditions and even ...

filmu.jpgFOTO 105b.jpg

Status Today: Sadly I could only find a photograph of the first page of this manual.          Do you have the complete original manual? Would you be so kind to send me a photocopy? Thank you!

        The camera purse. Regularly sold in tandem with the camera, it comes in various styles. It was made out of pig skin. Numerous versions exist, I  describe here a few (many more may yet exist). They main categories are 1) Clip, 2) Zip and 3) Press-Button cases/purses. Each category may in turn have many more variations. 

Status Today: Minox Riga purses are not rare and survived well together with the cameras. The leather however shrunk over the years giving the Riga a very tight fit. The Riga User can today choose from a new retro-purse by Luigi (Leicatime) or buy a modern Minox III/-s purse.



         The tripod attachment. The Minox lacked a tripod screw and thus VEF designed and sold Minox tripod adapters. Three versions are known to exist. One allowing no movement, one allowing 2 dimensional movement, and one allowing 3-dimensional movement. The first version resembles very much the modern day Minox tripod adapter. It does not allow any extra movement and still has the design flaw of having no counter pressure point on the cable release arm. The second version allowed through 2 dimensional rotation to adjust the camera better on the tripod. The more common version with the ball-joint was a further improvement and was sold in large numbers.

3283.jpg3283c.jpg1st version !CCmrVD!EGk~$(KGrHqN,!i0E0GwGU4)oBNLryKDsJ!~~_12.JPG2nd version riga_tripod_adapter_boxed.jpg3rd version

Status Today: The tripod adapter without movement (similar to the modern adapter, but with the design flaw) and the 2-dimensional joint are very very rare. The 3-dimensional joint adapter is more common and sometimes is spotted on ebay for reasonable prices.



        The manual extinction (light) meter.  These manual aides (also called Leudi after their inventor) were popular at the time and VEF also produced one both as a metric and imperial version. It came with a little booklet. Here an excert (translated from latvian) regarding schooting with electical light: Apply to electrical light: "Judge the relative light availability for 1:3.5 film - panchromatic 10/10 DIN bulb - 200 watt light bulbs Distance from the object - 1.5 meter, give 1 sec average object, for example portreit exposures. If it is the case to revolves around the air - objects, such as reproductions, in particular the surrounding technical drawings or writings, it is done with 1 / 2 sec..."

Status Today: They are rare. However, the plastic inserts are frequently found as many were left over in VEF factory and came on the market in the 1990s