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Leica Mini Zoom

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SummaryEdit

The Leica Mini Zoom is a 35mm compact point-and-shoot camera produced in the mid 1990s. It features a Vario Elmar 35 - 70mm f/4.0 - 7.6 zoom lens and several basic, common "program modes" including bulb, infinity focus, exposure override, and the like.

Tips on Exposure SettingsEdit

Understanding the exposure values of the Mini Zoom takes some practice. Aside from bulb mode, the longest exposure automatically attainable (according to the manual -- the camera displays no indication of specific exposure values) is 1/4 second at f/4.0. Long automatic exposure can be done if you use the modes manual flash-on, manual flash-on with pre-flash, and manual flash-off. According to the Leica guide other settings will result in shutter speed at least 1/30 of a second and a minimum of EV 9. Note: according to the user guide using the exposure override (+2 EV) will not result in an exposure longer than 1/30 of second. The range of shutter speed is from 1/4 to 1/300 second. Important: if you shoot in limited light in manual modes (above) and if the mini zoom cannot use its longest exposure value, the camera simply simply gives up and resorts to bulb mode. Thus one might be shooting in manual flash-off mode in limited light, press the shutter, and the shutter will stay open as long as one presses down. The best course of action for shooting in limited light in manual flash-off mode is to prop or hold the camera very steady and use the timer. In that case the camera appears to drop to longest automatic 1/4 second and f/4.0 setting or whatever is appropriate. This makes it possible to take sunset shots and the like.

MiscellaneousEdit

Original advertising for the camera touted its ability to produce candid images, however there is a significant shutter lag making truly candid people shots problematic.

The Nikon One-Touch Zoom AF produced in this era appears to have used the essential chassis design of the Mini Zoom.

Except for the imprints the Mini Zoom appears to be identical to Vivitar Series 1 500PZ Data Back Power Zoom model, which I own.  The lens may be different, but maybe not as the Vivitar's lens is not branded but has the same specifications as the Leica's.  An interesting note:  A brocure for the Mini Zoom claims that it is "the only mini zoom with Leica optics" and that it is "made by Leica."  One wonders.  The camera was made in the Philippines.

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