Minox 8x11 - enlargers

introduction | Riga bakelite | Riga canter post | Model I | Model II 2201 | Model II 2201color | Model II microdot | Model II 2202 Color | Model II 2203 | Model II 25401 | Model II 25501 Color | Dust Covers | Easels | Fischer Bulbs | Extension Post | Mirror | Model II masks | Red filter | Spanners

Enlarging the tiny Minox negatives has always been a challenge. During the 1970s and 1980s there where many laboratories who enlarged negatives manually. This was many times the cost of standard 35mm but results where usually excellent. Economics in the early 1990s forced many of these laboratories to close.

Minox was also struggling with a reduced market for luxury products now competing with small well built compact 35mm cameras.

The remaining laboratories became more automated but serviced suffered. These machines need bulk loads to keep the cost down.

One of Walter Zapp's earliest inventions was an enlarger. From the start of production of the Minox Riga there was an accompanying Riga Enlarger made of bakelite, as diminutive as the camera itself. Minox made two versions of the Riga enlarger; the small bakelite enlarger with external power supply and a second type with a canted post. One version has the lens coupled to the knob that adjusts the height of the lamp housing and so is kept in focus. The other has manual focus. During the Russian occupation the inscription "VEF MINOX Made in Latvia" was changed to "VEF MINOX Made in USSR".

After the Second World War Minox GmbH manufactured enlargers from 1951 until 1987 and a short production run from parts an additional 30 where made in 1990.

The choices for enlarging Minox negatives today are:-

For black and white prints the Minox enlargers remain the prime choice. For colour printing the few Minox color enlargers usually need all the filters changing and a longer learning curve to utilise them than with a modern colour enlarger.

The Minox enlarger's f3.5 15mm lens enables the Model II enlargers to print up to 11x14 inches  (28x35.6cm) which is easily obtained with modern films with out the grain of older films.

If a general purpose enlarger is used and a shorter than 50mm lens found a negative carrier for 8x11 negatives is still needed. The Omega D carrier dates back to the late 1960s. A common recommendation in the 1970s was for the Russian Zenith UPA5M enlarger which was inexpensive, has a good lens and packs away into it's base board as an attaché case. A mask was made out of thin plastic sheets.

The Model I enlarger was manufactured from 1950 until 1951 with serial numbers 100 to 791. The Model II enlarger went through many variations. As the manual only refers to Model II or Modell II (as in the German spelling) the changes are better listed by Minox Type numbers which are found on the base of the enlarger.

Model II Enlargers
Type 2201 June 1951 - March 1963 s/n 1000-10088, canted post, dome holding the bulb tilts back (after 4604), lens fitted by a bayonet mount, the film is curved as in the Minox Complan camera as a Complan lens is used in this version. Metal band around the bulb housing. Later serial numbers have a flip-flop diffusion filter, early versions (at least to 4604) have a place to put such a piece of glass above the lens. Several masks were available for printing 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm movie film.
Type 2201 color Color version with Complan lens, tilting bulb housing and a metal band around it.
Type 2202 color Color version of 2203. This version has a removable lens board making it easier to clean the condenser and lens. The metal band around the bulb housing was dispensed with.. 
Type 2203 May 1963 - March 1971, s/n 11001-17290. This version has a removable lens board making it easier to clean the condenser and lens. The metal band around the bulb housing was dispensed with
Type 25401 1971 - 1987 17291-20334. The negative holder lost the winged ends to hold the negative strip. The holes and screw socket for the copying arm were not put on and the Minox eye log was replaced by the new MINOX logo. The lens is now a MINOX and the film holder flat.
Type 25501 Color version of 25401
  Late 1990, 30 enlargers completed from parts

Lens for the enlargers are often found with dust and dirt. These can be serviced for about 40USD by Don Goldberg.

Last Updated on 14th January 2008