lomo lubitel 166B


I decided to do a lomo on lomo session again and loaded my Lomo Lubitel 166B with a Lomography CN 400/120.  The Lubitel, which is handsomely pictured above by the Zenit-e, was a gift from someone very special.  It sat on my shelf for a while before getting some use because I didn't have any 120 film handy at the time.

The very attractive medium format TLR is not as old as it looks.  It is in fact a 1980's camera, even though it was apparently fashioned after something from the 30's.  So in it's day, it was a faux vintage camera - which ironically makes Lomography's version a faux faux vintage camera.  This one is an original faux from the 80's, yet is completely immaculate.  Here it is again looking good on the carpet, again snapped by it's Russian elder.

Naturally I got a few looks from people every time I pulled out the box to take a photo - some gave me a nod of approval but it was mostly curiosity.  The thing is, I'm not that great with TLRs.  I like the look of them, but I find them a little hard to use.  This one especially is quirky as heck.  Once you get used to the flipped image in the viewfinder, you have to then make sure you don't change the focus when trying to press the shutter release.  This is because all the controls are on the lens.  As a result I got a lot of wonky photos and my composition was mostly terrible.

I suppose this isn't a camera for people taking pictures in a hurry.  Certainly not for 'street photographers'.  It is a camera for the patient, careful photographer.  I can also imagine a tripod was probably mostly used with this camera even though it is light enough to be, and is often suspended from the neck using strap.

Another issue I experienced with this was with winding the film.  I'm so used to the rangefinders that will not allow you to wind the film past the next frame.  With the Lubitel, it is up to you to make sure you are winding it correctly.  You can end up winding the whole film right through and  wasting the whole thing.  Of course I wasted a few frames by winding right past the indicated number at the back that I was supposed to be keeping an eye on. 


I read somewhere that the Lubitel 166B is pretty on the outside, but not the best on the inside.  In fact, some people go as far as to call it a trash can.  For me, I found the whole experience a little disappointing.  It's more expensive to 'run' than my 35mm cameras, and the results are not as great.  To be fair, the results are probably more to do with me not being used to TLRs than with the camera, but still, I have too much fun with my small rangefinders to use the Lubitel more often.


I can see the photos are of a higher 'resolution', obviously - being medium format, and the camera itself looks gorgeous. Those are it's two strong points.  I'd chose it over an Olympus rangefinder to a vintage fancy dress party, but I wouldn't take it on holiday.

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