Sugaya Minimax 110 EE
Haste makes waste. I was working on the Pentax 110 SLR cameras when I noted a remark about an obscure (to me) camera, the Sugaya Minimax 110 EE, being the forerunner of the Pentax 110 cameras. Before long, I had one on my desk. Besides physical size and format, the Minimax has nothing in common with the Pentax. Upon further reading, the 110 SLR is based upon an idea and probably a prototype by Sugaya, which had never reached production, so the result is another obscure camera on the shelf. Nevertheless, waste and all, I am pleased with it.
This model has little online presence. What is there looks suspiciously copy and paste. There are a few companies named Sugaya, in several variations. The company that made the Minimax was of a 1970’s crop and made this model only; later prospects are unknown. It is deemed that the company had merged with Nikoh, makers of other cameras named Minimax, but those are sub-miny, combined with lighters.
There are several production figure estimates from 200 units to 400 to 5,000. I hardly believe that a production model will cease at 200 or 400; I am inclined to take the 5,000. Also, if there were 400 only available, collectors’ appetite would drive the value way higher.
There are mentions of a sister camera named Mitty or Mighty. I have not seen any reference to such a camera so it could be a carried-forward typo.
The camera is well-designed, well-made, beautiful to look at, and a pleasure to hold. The only downside is that my unit has a dead shutter, which, from what I read, is common. Perhaps this is the reason that operating cameras fetch sky-high prices.
The Minimax 110 has a few controls to fiddle with. Winding knob klicks to a stop after each exposure, so no double exposure as is common with the 110 format. The trigger button, positioned next to it turns to a lock position, clearly marked and easily set. The viewer is large with crop marks. On top, on the left side, are the flash connectors, two ports I am unsure how they connect or operate.
At front, a focusing ring marked metric and imperial and an ASA selector dial. I would take the Minimax as an auto/program operation, stepless shutter. The lens is large compared to the body, a 2:0 / 32mm. There is little room between the glass and the outer lens barrel, so I am not sure where they hid the aperture blates, if any. There are no DOF marks, which is another telltale.
The ASA dial has varying lenses. Each lens allows so much light to the meter, which controls the shutter speed and aperture (if any).
An attached flash gun overshadows the tiny camera. As in many models of that era, it hooks at the side. It slides into a dovetail grove, whereas most other cameras use a thumb screw to secure it.
The camera could have been a trailblazer with its size and automatic operation, but tiny 35mm cameras appeared on the scene, almost the same size, feature-loaded. For that reason, the other high-end #110 format saw little success, other than becoming a curiosity.
If you are into mini cameras, the Minimax should added to your collection. They come up at random, either operating or not. Best to grab one when offered; I think it would be easy to offload.
Spoiler, some of the above links are the exact copy. I also omitted several other links, clearly copy-and-paste, and are overloaded with annoying ads.
|Minimax 110 EE
|215 gr, Body with lens
|Class average weight
|215 gr, Body with lens
|CdS, external coupled