Recently i;ve got a nice Minox 35GL with the Flash. Always wanted to get one of these and try it out, since it all so small and tiny it would be easy to take it around.
It weighs about 200grams and comes with a nice 35mm F2.8 lens. Exposure is Aperture priority with shutter speeds from about 1/15s to 1/500s. With ISO 400 film you should be ok, with 800 there might be overexposure on a bright and sunny day. You can only scale focus it but no problem, the scale focusing aid starts from F4 and since the focal length is 35mm you do get a bit of range when scale focusing with it. Scale Focusing its not as hard as it seems and you will get better with time. My trick is to take my height and just so of imagine where i would be if i was lying down and then just estimtate from there.
Some problems you might have with the older Minox is that it uses an old 5.6v PX27 which can be replaced using 4LR44, 4SR44 or 2 CR 1/3N batteries. The problem with all those options are that the voltage is increased to 6volts which impacts the exposure meter.
I compared it with my light meter and found the exposure increased by about 1 to 2 stops . That is to say if you set the camera to ISO 100 you are getting readings for ISO400.
If you still see the meter stuck at the bottom (at the 1/30s) mark after giving it 2 strokes, maybe you did not wind the film properly. Give it another slight push on the film advance and the meter should kick in.
There are also some reports of the shutter becoming stuck or unresponsive. someone on flickr posted some pictures and how to fix it. http://www.flickr.com/groups/minox35/discuss/72157612937954151/
I had quite a bit of fun just bringing the camera around and just snapping away, the camera is so small and discrete that no one takes a look at you (besides they are all looking at their smart phones to notice you anyway). The shutter is so quiet that i couldn’t hear it sometimes when i pressed it. I have to confirm by trying to advance the film lever.
I got it together with the Minox FC35 auto flash which fits nicely on top of the camera but takes about 8-10 seconds to charge it up. The flash itself is almost as big as the camera and looks abit unbalance on top of it. But in practical use it actually feels ok, not too heavy topside. The above was a shot taken with the flash at lunch. You can see how shy my colleague is about having his picture taken.
Comparing it to the Olympus XA i find the XA more userfriendly with the rangefinder and you just need to slide to use, much easier than the Minox flip open design which looks fragile to me. But i have been bringing the Minox out everywhere I go, as somehow i find more “fun” in shooting with such a simple camera, compare with my Leica or the XA .
All the above was taken with the Minox 35GL, Delta 400 @ ISO 800 in Ilford DDX