Over the weekend I went to my local film photography store… It’s nice to have one! They also sell a lot of stuff from Lomography which I’m a big fan of. Anyway, one of the cameras I’d had my eye on for a quite a while now is the Lubitel 166+ from Lomography. Ever since I took my first shots with the Diana, I was in love with medium format and realyl wanted a glass lens to get a little more sharpness out of it. With the Lubitel, I have that in spades.
I went for a photo walk on Saturday afternoon. I picked two places, The first was Iolani Palace and the second part of the walk was Chinatown in Honolulu. I love the simplicity of the camera and the fact that there is no light meter, might throw some people off, but for me I love it. I did use the Fotometer Pro app for iOs. and felt that it got me quite close to a good exposure. The camera has an exposure diagram which will also get you very close if you don’t have a light meter.
I found the camera easy to use. And my typical flow of set the exposure settings, compose, set focus, re-compose, shoot, worked well for the camera. So I didn’t notice the camera slowing me down too much from any other of my fully manual film cameras. The one thing I noticed was that the film advance would get stuck from time to time and really needed some elbow grease to get the film to move. but only sometimes. It happened on both rolls I shot that day, the second one, didn’t get stuck as much or as severely as the first. I’m not sure why that is or what I did differently. Maybe I’ll sacrifice a roll of film to figure out what’s going on and see if it can be resolved.
One of the quirks of the waist level viewfinder camera is that the view is flipped horizontally. What’s on the left side of your eye’s view ends up being on the right side of the viewfinder. This is the reality with many of the look down/waist level finder cameras out there. And is simply of matter of learning how to work with it rather than being a problem. I have a 1953 german camera which is an SLR that uses a look down finder and it’s the same thing. It can be weird when using it for the first time but not impossible to figure out how to compose with it. Other than that, the camera was great operationally. Very easy to set the aperture and shutter speeds. And focusing is pretty simple as well.
Of course shooting with a camera for the first time, you don’t know what you’re really getting until you pull the film out of the developing tank. And sure enough, All but one or two were exposed perfectly. And those two weren’t off by much. Great contrast, great detail and sharpness. I have no complaints except the film getting stuck once or twice. Now that I have seen what it can do, I’m excited to shoot more with it. I’ve said this to many friends already, but I think this became my “go to” film camera!