Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

I confess: my main interest lies with Minox cameras. I am just a hobbyist, an amateur in photography. I do enjoy 35mm photography, usually with my Nikon FM3A, Nikon F4 or OM1. I am no stranger to medium format, which is something else that I get busy with every now and then, but with no greater effects other than average results. So, you have been forewarned 🙂 .

I have met photography while a student in the high school, ages ago. Nothing fancy, just the usual Russian camera and film, the (almost) only stuff you’d find in a communist country in the early 80’s. A Smena for a camera and Svema FN64 for film, this was what the lab had, and this was what we had to make do with. I remember the lab, somewhere in the basement of the dorm building, cold and humid. But how can the poor conditions be a deterrent, when you’re 15 yrs old and you dream to take the best photographs ever? I barely noticed the lack of everything, the cold, the smells, and enjoyed the time spent there, every bit of it.

My first 35mm camera was a Smena 5 (JTP collection)

After a year or so, my parents bought me a Etyud 6×9 camera, produced by BelOMO in Minsk (former SSR of Belarus), which was supposed to teach me better photography. To some extent, it did, mainly in understanding the limitations of cheap equipment, what with the 1/60 shutter speed (and B), a meniscus lens of F11/60mm.

That said, it was a good run, for it acquainted me with the 120 format, which in those days was very much alive. Most of the pictures I took were either out of focus, or overexposed, or in some way not usable. But there were a few which made me go ahead with this bug. I still have it, but I haven’t run a roll through it in the last 40 yrs.

Etiud 6×9 camera, my first 120 format. (JTP collection)

By the time I graduated, the lab had improved: it had a Praktica camera, with a couple of lenses, enough film to shoot (produced in the Romanian chemical factory Azopan), and I believe the enlargers were either East German-made or Russian, but I do not remember exactly which or where from. The chemicals and the photographic paper were both Romanian-made. I would say that it was a step ahead.

A couple of other cameras are still with me from that period: a Kiev 4AM, Fed 5B. Some others were acquired during the years, for the sake of memories mainly. Oh, and a rather interesting Russian half-frame, a Belomo Agat 18K. I particularly recall using this camera in the high school (early 80’s), loaded with Russian film (Svema 64).

Agat 18K BelOMO, from my high school days (JTP collection)

And of course, how could I forget the (in)famous Vega 16mm Russian camera, who was destined to transform me into a real international spy. Well, it miserably failed at that, trust me on this. Anyways, now all these old cameras from my youth are in good order, professionally repaired, and they are used very rarely, which is a pity. They are sometimes quirky and certainly Nikon quality they are not, but I do enjoy taking them out every now and then. Good memories.

During my youth days, there was a scarcity of Western cameras or films, and one could not procure these in any other way but either buying them abroad, or gifted by someone. While the first was almost impossible, seeing that the regular citizens were not traveling outside the country, the latter was conceivable, if you knew the right people.

Romanian-made film negative AZOPAN, JTP collection

Anyways, at the beginning of the 90’s after the communist regime fell, I went to the UK to study and learn things. So it was during my first years in the UK that I discovered Minox photography, and rediscovered film photography in the good old 35mm format and also other cameras and formats of which I was not aware at the time. I was taken quite a bit by the 16mm bw photography, having been gifted an Edixa 16 by a friend photographer, who was the manager of the local Jessops shop, Good man, good memories!

My first Minox camera was this B (JTP collection)

Shooting Minox film is indeed fun, but it also can be frustrating, annoying but rewarding; using a film negative so tiny (only 9.2mm) is many times a challenge, and processing it properly is truly no mean feat. As with everything else in the regular photography (be that 35mm, 120, etc), it is a matter of experimenting and of passion. I believe these two to be the main ingredients to make a good hobby working, at least in my case.

“I find it easier to express myself through the lens of a Minox camera. I take a photograph and am certain that the camera is there to assist my vision of that certain image. It frees me from anything which could affect composing, no thought of failure. It is a way of expressing yourself in a certain manner, it is freedom, it is who and what one needs it to be at a given moment in time. In the world of film cameras, Minox is singular and offers a singular experience.”

I even had a website made (my very first), in 1999, which I thought it was the bee’s knees, which obviously was not. But to see my negatives scanned and put online for people to see, was something of a wonder to me. Remember this was the  beginning of the 90’s, the internet was but a little something, compared to what is now.

I sold 8×11 films and run a service of processing Minox films for clients, and when I remember the types of films which are not available anymore, I get sad. I especially miss the APX 25, Techpan, old Agfapan, good old PX 125 and Pan F50. To a certain extent, I really do miss the Jessops Pan 100, which I used to shoot a lot in those days.

Film cut and rolled by me, sold online for Minoxers in the UK, and prices.

The website is still on, after all these years ( However, I do not maintain it anymore. Some of my first photographs taken with Minox camera do exist, and here they are:

In the very early 2000’s I developed and run Minoxit.Com, a website that was a bit more organized, more focused onto the Minox cameras, accessories and photographs. That went all right for some years, and I decided that if I am to have a personal website, it should have my name on it. Hence this website here.

My main interest lies with the 8×11 film format, the Minox format as we all know it. I have gathered a number of Minox cameras and accessories over the time, and I try to put many of them to good use. I do not process colour film anymore these days, too finnicky for me. So, a Minox camera is always living in my pocket, loaded with BW film. Or, very rarely, with color film (usually 200), which I send to be processed.

That said, I enjoy very much shooting BW film with old cameras, beyond the 8×11 format. Cameras that I really like and use: Nikon FM3A, Olympus OM1, Nikon F4, OM10, XA2, Zorki 1c, Kodak Retina 1a, Retinette 1b, Canon AV1, Seagull TLR, Voigtländer Vito CLR, and some other old timers. Although my collection is rather small, I do acquire every now and then one or two that catch my fancy.

I shoot BW film, which I buy in bulk, roll it myself (for 35mm) and process it. For Minox, I cut my own films, and process these myself in the usual way, Minox tank. I do have in my collection most of the Minox accessories, but I do not use these very often. I always keep it simple, though sometimes I do attach an angle viewer, just for the fun of it. For the sake of the past, I sometime take out a Minox meter to check it, but usually when I need metering something I just pack a Lunasix 3 or my newly refurbished Weston Master III (courtesy to Ian Partridge, whom I highly recommend).

I am a long time member of Flickr and Photo,net, and I dab into writing my first articles on, nothing major, mind. Other than that, not much to say really. Just an amateur with a passion for Minox and BW photography. Finally, as I cannot help myself, I am showing you my small town, as it was in the early 80’s, when I was in high school.

Bacau 1980 – Tricolor Square

I hope you’ll enjoy the articles and materials posted here. If you feel the need to contact me, do not hesitate!

Best regards,