Minolta 16 Ps sub miniature viewfinder camera

The Minolta 16Ps is one of a series of cameras made by Minolta which took 16mm film cartriges and were small, lightweight but well made and able to produce good results. The range started with the Minolta 16 in 1960 and the 16Ps was introduced in 1965.

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My Camera

I bought this camera because it came up as I was browsing cameras on eBay and I’d never seen a Minolta 16mm film camera before. Since it looked sleek and neat and was in an auction which started at only ¬£0.99 I tried a bid and won it for only a couple of pounds.

When the camera turned up I found it was in pretty good condition for its 50 odd years old with only a few marks on its exterior case. When I tried the shutter it was a bit sticky at first, but with a few actuations is sorted itself out and is now working well.

I suspect if I ever find a film to try the camera out I would need to replace the light seals because they look a bit worn, but every other control works well, so overall the camera is in fine shape.

Minolta 16Ps Description

The 16Ps is a fairly simple camera with only a couple of shutter speeds and no light meter, but it is of solid construction and and quite sturdy. The outer case is made from solid aluminium and certainly looks like it could survive normal wear and tear (as mine has).

On the top of the camera the inscription simply says ‘Minolta-16’ and on the bottom it says ‘Minolta-16 Model-P’, the only indication it is actually the later model Ps is the presence of the shutter speed selector.

There are only limited controls available, in keeping with its simple design, but the tiny body means that everything necessary is easy to get to.

For the majority of the time the shutter speed will be left set to the faster speed of 1/100 but a flash setting of 1/30 is also available. The two speeds are switchable with a simple switch on the front of the camera between the lens and the viewfinder.

The aperture settings are changeable with a thumb wheel on the back of the camera which moves a pointer against a dial showing the f-stop numbers. There is also a neat display of sunshine conditions on this scale which is linked to the film speed adjustment dial. This arrangement somewhat compensates for not having a light meter build into the camera, because it acts as a Sunny 16 system instead. The film speed control, which is on the top of the camera, moves the sunshine scale left and right dependant on the speed of the film fitted, and the aperture pointer can then be set to the relevant symbol for the weather, automatically selecting the correct f-stop number.

The remaining two controls are the film advance thumb wheel which cocks the shutter, moves the film and decrements the frame counter and the shutter release button on the top of the camera.

On the bottom of the camera is a tripod bush and there is a flash sync socket on the side.

Between the two thumb wheels on the back of the camera is a little sprung loaded lever which opens the film chamber to load a new film cartridge. The film was supplied in tiny cartridges  which consisted of a reel of 16mm film in a light tight canister on one side which was pulled into a light tight canister on the other side as the advance thumb wheel was turned. On the door of the film chamber is a pressure plate which is pressed down on the film to make sure it is held flat.

Unfortunately, my camera didn’t have a film fitted and they are obviously not still made, so I’m on the look out for a roll on eBay which I can refill with some fresh film made by slitting 35mm film. I’m not sure of the number of exposures which the film was originally offered in, but the frame counter decrements from 20 so I assume that was the maximum number of frames available.

Overall a nice interesting little camera and one which I suspect has started a new ‘sub miniature’ section of my camera collection.

Minolta 16Ps Specifications

  • Minolta 16Ps 16mm miniature still camera
  • Accepts Minolta 16mm film cartridge
  • Two shutter speeds 1/100 & 1/30
  • Rokkor 25mm f/3.5 lens
  • Aperture f/3.5 to f/16
  • Sunny 16 exposure estimation built in
  • Film speeds 10 to 160 selectable
  • Decrementing frame counter
  • Flash sync socket
  • Tripod bush
  • Strap hook built in
  • Manual available here
  • Ser No: 469968

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