Marvelously Minuscule Minolta Mini-35 Slide Projector
LCD projectors are getting smaller and smaller. There are even some that are darn near pocket sized. While the diminutive units don't always have the throw of their larger brothers, there's a lot to be said for portable projection. Instead of everyone crowding around the tiny screen of your portable video player, you can just whip out one of these tiny LCD projectors out of your backpack so all your friends can see the show.
But what if you're a retro kook like me, and have a pocket full of 35mm slides to share? The Minolta Mini-35 is here to prove that there are no new ideas under the sun. Check out the Mini-35, a highly miniaturized jet-age slide projector, along with its femme-y little carrying bag.
Hinging open the steel cover telescopes the lens unit out. Snap on the slide exchanger, and you're ready to do a slideshow just about anywhere there's an outlet. Obviously the Mini-35 requires a little more manual jiggery-pokery than a more automated slide projector, though I should point out that there were plenty of slide projectors that operated with a slide exchanger type device. It gives you random access to your slides instead of having to pre-arrange them into a carousel.
For even more flexibility, there's even a socket in the bottom to mount the mini-35 on a tripod (though it's more likely for interfacing with the snickeringly named "Minolta Blower" for long term operation).
I was rather amazed how well the mini-35 worked. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when one considers the relative simplicity of any slide projector: wicked bright bulb + high quality film image + decent optics. The Mini-35 yielded a good quality four foot wide picture. You can still find the $5-10 bulb today, which beats the heck out of $200 LCD projector bulbs. When not doing impromptu shows, it's also a good little projector to help you sort through your slide collection.
Of course I know that we're in a digital world now, but it's important to remember that a 35mm slide is going to yield a better resolution still image than what a video player + LCD projector can pump out. Nevertheless. don't throw out your mp4 player yet... you can always use it to play nice music to lull your audience to sleep while watching the slides you took on your last vacation.