|Walter Zapp, inventor of the MINOX sub-miniature|
camera, born on September 4, 1905 in Riga (Latvia),
died on July 17,
2003 in Switzerland.
camera that has ambitions to become a classic has to feature an
ingenious design which will enthuse photographers for years to come.
The first product to carry the MINOX name was a subminiature camera
conceived in 1922 and finally invented and produced in 1936 by the
German-Latvian Walter Zapp - the legendary designer who wrote
photographic history with his revolutionary invention of the first
"Ur-MINOX" (first-generation MINOX) in 1936. The ingenious idea was to
be seen in its dimensions. A camera smaller than a cigar and weighing
less than a cigarette lighter. And featuring an excellent lens. This
was a stroke of lasting genius - as the MINOX ECX and the MINOX CLX
Special Edition still proves today.
factory VEF (Valsts Elektrotehniskā Fabrika) manufactured the camera
from 1937 to 1943. After World War II, the camera was redesigned and
production resumed in Germany in 1948. Originally envisioned as a
luxury item, the original MINOX camera gained wide notoriety as a spy
From 1936 to 1974 the history of the MINOX
brand is essentially that of the MINOX subminiature camera. From 1974
the MINOX name also became associated with other photographic products,
most notably the MINOX 35mm compact cameras produced from 1974 until
2004. The MINOX GT-E and GT-S are almost as equally famous as the 8x11
predecessor: with nearly 2 million sold, they were one of the world's
smallest 35 mm viewfinder cameras. Classic cameras with more than just
excellent design and offering enough possibilities for the creative
imagination of any photographer.
MINOX was acquired
by Leica in 1996, but a management buyout in 2001 left MINOX an
independent company again, making Thorsten Kortemeier the new CEO.
Systematically increasing its flexibility and product development, the
new MINOX GmbH completely separated from its co-partner Leica Camera AG
Although still primarily reknown as the
manufacturer of the world famous spy camera, MINOX now primarily
focuses on new product lines such as sport optics and miniaturised
digital cameras. Continued and innovative development of MINOX sport
optics has won the company several prestigious national and
international design awards, steadily increasing and further
establishing the tradition-rich company as an innovative and