Introduced in 1991, Leica Mini is a fully-automatic ultra compact point and shoot 35mm film camera, which claimed to provide superb snapshots and quality photographic notes. I got this camera from a small town called Tawau, which is located at the south east coast of Sabah, when I was working outstation around February 2012. I was walking around the town and saw a shop with some old compact point and shoot film cameras on the display case. Most of the cameras were produced in 1990s. After bargained with the owner, I bought this camera at RM250 (approx 82USD).
Leica Mini is an autofocus rangefinder camera with a fixed Leica Elmar 35mm f/3.5 lens. It has a built-in UVa protection filter, infra-red autofocus system, center-weighted integral metering, built-in flash with short flash intervals, automatic film advance and rewind, and automatic film speed setting based on DX-coding. The flash is automatically released in poor light condition, and manual flash override option is available, which enable the camera long time exposure up to 5 seconds (sounds good for night shooting and light painting). Only a 3 volt lithium battery is required to power this camera. Every function mentioned before is working in good condition for the unit I purchased, except that the UVa coating on the lens is wearing off. Anyway, without the UVa protection filter, the camera still able to capture nice images and most of the latest film is insensitive to UV wavelength, so not a big problem to me.
Simplicity is best to describe the Leica Mini. The center-weighted metering system works so well that correct exposure is unquestionable. Just aim, press the shutter button, and the camera will automatically focus on the subject and gives you a correct exposure. In other words, this camera is perfect for street photography and casual event where I don’t have to worry much on the camera settings every time I press the shutter button. The camera is small enough, almost having the same dimension with the best 35mm film compact camera, Ricoh GR1, only slightly thicker than the Ricoh. The only dissatisfaction I have is the combination of 35mm focal range and minimum focusing range of 65cm. Any wide-angle shooters shall understand the frustration I have with this limitation. Macro is impossible with this camera, and sometimes I have to make a few step back to fulfil the minimum focus range condition. Nevertheless, this camera will be my primary camera for any street photography or some casual events and party, until I own a Ricoh GR1.
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Developed and scanned by ColorDotCom
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Developed and scanned by BWFilmProcessing