Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

MiniMinox film cutter

MiniMinox film cutter

I have found that a new 8×11 film cutter is present on the market, for a quite a while now it would seem. A simple no non-sense one, by its appearance.


There are two models, or product offering, if you will:

  1. The “basic 8×11 cutter” (I called it that), the device with a knob and a blade set for cutting 2 x 9mm film out of a length of 35mm film stock.
  2. A similar device, only you have the choice to “customize” it, as it were; you can buy different blade blocks (8×11, 16mm) and also a crank handle, spare knob, and whatnot.

I do have a few questions regarding this machine.

Width of the strip

While the 16mm strip is basically, well, an exact 16mm width, the 8×11 format is a bit different. The proper width of a 8×11 film negative is 9.2mm. I know, you may have read that a 8×11 film strip is either 9.0mm, or 9.3mm or even 9.5mm in width, but to be honest I have never encountered a width of other than 9.2mm. At least not one to work with, for this is how I cut my strips for the last 20 something odd years.

Now, I have bought some pre-cut strips from a seller a long time, and those strips were 9.0mm. They did worked in a 8×11 cassette, the difference in width was negligible. However, when it came to scanning those, my film holder failed to retain the strip margins, because of those 0.2mm missing.

So, the distance between blades should be exact. Is it? No idea, we’ll see, don’t we?

Dust traps

I can see that the blade block comprises two felt or dust traps. We all know how prone to clogging with dust particles are these, and we have the scans to show it (those telegraph lines, right?). So the quality of the said traps should be ok, and blades should be stainless steel so it don’t rust when washed every now and then. And of course, the retaining screws or whatever keeps the blades fix, they should be also protected against rust or pitting.


Can these be replaced by anyone? I would appear that yes, because the blade block is showing some modules which I presume are the blade retainers.

Quite neat if it is so, for after a dozen of films, the blades will become dull. So, they should be of the sort one can buy and install without much issues.

Spooling the strips

I have developed a habit of cutting my films in the darkroom, and spool each strip in its 8×11 cassette on the spot, there and then. My hands see in the dark perfectly, after all these years of cutting and spooling.

So, how do I use this cutter in my version of doing things? I do not spool my strips inside a film canister (never did), in order to reload cassettes in a black bag later one, so why would I want to use a 35mm take-up spool? For me at least, is not a solution. I appreciate that other 8×11-ers out there may choose to do this, but I do not.

Therefore, hence a possible issue for me using this; but I guess it can be modified to work in my manner: probably a cut-off of a portion of the take-up spool front side could be done, so I can grab those strips as they are exit the blades. This way, a take-up spool would not be necessary.

Length of strip

Seeing that the strip has to have a certain length, to accommodate the 15, 30, 36, 40 or (God forbid, 50) exposures, we need to know when to stop cutting. I know that each of us have developed our own system of cutting and rolling film; and anyways, we are not always exact when it comes to our lengths of film. Me, I usually cut my 8×11 films from a length of 35mm bulk film, I do not need to measure the strip, all I have to do is fit the 35mm length to the measuring board in my dark room

My films comprise of roughly 40 exposures each strip, but it does happen that after processing, my strips are not all of the same length. Which is not exactly a disaster, and if not exaggerating with the length, we do not force our cassettes or camera mechanics to break. That said, I have stopped long time ago to cut strips of 50 exposures, I have already ruined a Minox A, so no 50 exposures for me, thank you very much.

Right, so how does one measure the length of the strip, during the cutting? If there is no counter on this device (and it would be very unusual if it were), one has to develop a system of measuring the length. How? From the tip of your fingers to the ball of your elbow?

Well, a first thought would go towards counting the rotation of the knob (or of the crank handle), for otherwise how can we know when to stop? Obviously, once you have dealt with several tens of films, you will get the feeling when to stop cutting. A few cold runs with rolls of old or bad film will certainly be advised, if only to get the feeling of the thing and procedures.

OK, that said, let me say this: the text here is not a review, far from it. I do not have the device in my possession, and I have not tried it. All of the above are questions for me, and hopefully I will be able to confirm (or not) what’s what, when the cutter arrives here.

All images copuright @

OK, so it appears we have a contender for the latest film cutter in our (small) world of 8×11-ers. How does this work for us? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea, mainly because the one I have ordered has not arrived yet. When it appears on my doorstep, I’ll give it a go and report back. Until such time, this is basically all that I can come up with. Not a real review, eh?

And of course, as usual, I am waiting your comments and opinions on this matter.