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According to this report, now is the time to buy a Minox TLS, best remembered as the spy camera that recorded thousands of secret documents. The subminature film cameras are no longer essential gear for undercover agents–no need to smuggle film from behind the Iron Curtain when both film and the Iron Curtain are essentially no longer with us. The only market for the camera now are collectors. The German camera manufacturer is wrapping up production of the camera all together and has halved the price of remaining units from L899 to L399.
The Minox was first introduced in 1937. The first model was made in Latvia and designed by Walter Zapp. (Yes, that’s Zapp. You can’t make something like that up.) The camera produces 8x11mm exposures, and it comes with a little chain so you can measure out the correct distance for its fixed lens.
After years of watching James Bond movies and absorbing enough 007 trivia to officially make me a nerd, I think I can state uncategorically that the British superspy used the Minox in only one film–“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” In that wonderful movie–really flawed but really great–Bond, played by George Lazenby, uses the camera to snap pictures of the beautiful inhabitants of Blofeld’s mountaintop lair, Piz Gloria. You thought I was kidding about being a nerd. I’m not. May the Minox rest in peace.–David Schonauer