The Spy (camera) Who Loved Me

On Saturday I spent a splendid evening in the company of fellow snapper and long-time chum Nic Kirley, who like us has recently moved to Hampshire. After dinner we were reminiscing about the old days and the sheer technical finesse of our Sinars and Hassleblads, when Nic produced his late father’s Minox spy camera. Known throughout the world as the sub-miniature camera to have, the Minox spy camera was in the hands of almost all intelligence agencies and spies during the Cold War period from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. The camera was very good at close up document photography and starred in numerous films undertaking the task of copying enemy plans, normally by the light of the equally ubiquitous anglepoise lamp! The camera was so small – and so good – for it’s day that it had restricted sales to government and military intelligence agencies in many parts of the world such as the USA.  They were also veryexpensive. Like a Rolex watch, the Minox Spy Camera was the status symbol of successful private investigators in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Putting this marvellous piece of technology on the table alongside a mobile phone and a compact digital camera, we mused over how desirable this tiny piece of engineering would be fitted with a 10 megapixel chip – rather than the specially made 16mm film cassettes it relies on. Who knows, maybe one day someone will have the same idea and a new digital Minox will be born. I’m putting my order in now…

Footnote:  Nic’s son – stuntman Adam Kirley -currently holds the Guinness World Record for rolling a car seven times in the 2006 Bond movie “Casino Royale”