First Minox A/IIIs that came in my possession was a bit tarnished, but in excellent working condition; being bought from a collector in the UK (somewhere near Cambridge, if I remember it right), it had been serviced and CLA’d properly. I remember how enthralled I was with this little jewel of a camera. And I still have it, it’s this one here:
Admittedly, it has been repaired twice by my friend Don at DAG Camera in Portland. Both times, shutter blades broke, and he replaced them, did a marvellous job. Although I have acquired another 4 or 5 of these cameras, I always am drawn to the first one, like an old man to the house of his first love. Ahem.
So, Minox A/IIIs, right. By the way, the “A” is the name under it was known in the US when it was imported n that country, whereas IIIs is simply the model code (III) with an S for sync (flash sync). Simple, no batteries, clear viewfinder, shutter speeds purred; the COMPLAN lens was doing justice to the films I loaded it with, mainly slow speed films at that time. This was a time when one could’ve step into a Jessops and buy a couple of APX 25 or Techpan without any fuss. There were plenty of them.
Being a completely mechanical camera, Minox A/IIIs is bereft of the predicaments a battery may pose, mainly leaking in or leaving you high and dry at a most important moment. It happened to all of us I believe, and it certainly happened to me, like when my Minox EC broke the plate contact and ate the entire Varta V27PX 5.6V in 5 minutes.
Or it was that moment when I went for the first time to see the Acropolis in Athens and my Minox LX died on me, on grounds of no battery left. True, there was some 40*C outside. Lucky for me, I always pack a mechanical camera with me, no matter where I travel, no matter the weather forecast. Also true is that I always put in that baggage a spare 5.6V, AND a pack of Varta cells, just to be certain I am not going to go through moments like those aforementioned.
Some people do accompany their Minox A/IIIs with the Minox meter, but I have been leaving it at home most of the times nowadays. Sunny 16 rule serves me well, and after all these years I have used a mechanical camera (Minox or other format, like my Kodak Retina 1a), I have grew accustomed to read the light pretty well.
Flash photography is not a problem, just choose from a multitude of good flash units made by Minox (not necessarily for this model). A flash sync cord can be used with the sync nipple of the camera and make sure you set your shutter speed (1/30 for bulb or cube), 1/125 for the Minox 8×11 electronic flash unit. By thw way, you may want to get an electronic flash adapter which transforms your Minox 8×11 electronic flash into a thing that attached to the camera, connected to the sync nipple without any cables.
Not a beginner camera, I guess; a Minox B or C would be much appropriate for starting with Minox. Not complicated to operate, but due to its lack of a meter, the camera may not yield the images expected of it for the first films, unless of course you are experienced in reading the light and shadows and highlights and such.