History of VEF Minox Camera alterations & modifications
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
· The chain attachment. Collectors have suggested that this was done on request by the VEF factory for Minox USA. Indeed nearly all surviving examples are “imperial” versions and so far only start with the 3000 series and end with 5403. This is exactly the Serial number range that was sold in the USA. However the small eyelet comes in -many different- shapes and sizes and "metric” versions exist too, which undermines a little bit this theory. The eyelet would have allowed the user either to attach the camera to a purse or belt or to attach a small cotton string with knots to measure the close-up distance. In addition you find even more "home-made" solutions such as with camera No.04043 where the owner boldly put a screw into the bottom cap of the Minox camera (see picture on the right).
A) ”Metric” example; B) Home-made solution, C) Postwar Minox chain attached
Status Today: They are rare. We currently have 7 known surviving examples. No.03086, 03882, 04209, 04626, 04988, and 05403.
· The Flash sync. Synchronised Flash photography had been around for a while but the Minox was not originally designed for that purpose. It is likely the VEF experimented with this. The two known cameras which were flash synced are quite different (see below). The early camera has the flash connection on the top right, the later USSR camera on the top left.
Status Today: Only two cameras are known to have survived. One of which is No.02434, likely to be an imperial “UK” version. The other one is a much later camera from the russian occupation period (re-engraved USSR, Riga crossed out).
· The unknown modification. This camera appeared very recently on eBay. The modification is external only and we can only guess what its purpose might have been. An eyelet attachment gone wrong? An attachment that was later removed? Who knows?
Status Today: I think only one exist (11786).
· Distance dial (conversion?). VEF Minox cameras were made in Imperial or Metric versions. However recently a camera appeared on ebay which had its distance dial fixed using a clearly visible screw in the middle. The camer also featured a quite high Serial number which made me wonder if this camera was retrospectively fitted with an imperial distance dial? I do not know but appears rather odd to me.
Status Today: Seen only once so far (No.08917)