Ken Smith  fine art photography  

MIOM Photax II


 ·  Produced: 1938 - 1939 by M.I.O.M, Vitry-sur-Seine, France
·  Film:  620 rollfilm
·  Negative Size: 6X9cm
 ·  Lens: Boyer Paris Série VIII
 ·  Aperture: f8, f11
·  Focal Range: 2.75 meter to infinity
·  Shutter: Simple spring, self-cocking shutter - 1/25 sec (INST),
      plus B (POSE) 
·  Viewfinder: Eye-level finder

This is one of those amazing cameras that you fall in love with immediately. Its smooth black airfoil shape is what did it for me. Compared to the Brownie Hawkeye, this camera is way ahead of it's time, though both were made from bakelite. A French company that made electrical insulators from bakelite got into the business, molding the camera bodies and then adding the Boyer lense. The lense screws into the body on its helical tube when not in use, and the later Photax Blindè model had a form-fitted cap that covered the shutter release, so one wouldn't accidentally make an exposure. It makes large 6X9cm negatives on 620 film, but is kind of soft focus at the edges, even at f11. It's fun to use, but needs a neck feels slippery and would break into tiny bits if dropped. Also, the shutter release, way out in front, is designed to be actuated with the middle finger which takes some practice. But, it has a tripod mount (3/8") and will take a shutter cable....voila! 

Alas, I have sold this beautiful camera. I found I wasn't using it much, maybe because I didn't have a case and was afraid of dropping it. A friend now has it and enjoys using it, so there is a bright side. A camera should be used, not set on a shelf. Still, it feels like a lost love...

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