First, I have said I didnt want this to end up as camera reviews and I always end up babbling on about this and that so I will try not to! So, the lubitel is from the USSR – Been around since the 50s, still made by Lomography as the 166, it is plastic and basic! Google is your friend.
They made millions of these bloody things and I had till now managed to dodge the huddle perching on Russells shelf but he got me this week. I dont mind a toy camera, they can be fun but everything I read insisted this TLR was not a toy, more a basic amateur camera…Lubitel translates to amateur apparently! No matter I had it now so I would make the best of it. I have recently dipped a toe into the darkroom and those in the know tell me I should be honing my skills on producing good negatives so I will be using a lot of FP4+ from here on in fine tuning my exposure and development…that is not to say there wont be the occasional transgression. Both rolls this week are FP4, developed in DDX at 1:6 for 10 minutes. I will be metering with a spot meter as usual.
Roll 1 – I didnt get the camera until the Wednesday and didnt load the 120 until Thursday due to a busy work schedule, even then I only managed an hour out at Radford Lake where many old wooden ships rest and rot. I kept everything simple with just a makeshift hood and the usual B&W filter glasses. I hand held or rested on flat spots for anything under 1/60, I tried a few Shallow DoF etc. and it wasnt too bad, I found the shutter release awkwardly too close to the cocking lever so used a cable release from then on. The big bright viewing glass is great for composure but the ground spot in the middle for focusing, even with the little pull out magnifier is just useless and I ended up using the distance scale on the viewing lens. Saturday I took 3 on the way to work then managed a clumsy double exposure and finished off exploring a couple of 7 minute long exposures that did not really come of that well. The rest? Well, not bad! Quite good actually, swirly bokeh, reasonably sharp and not bad exposures… I was surprised! Incidentally as a side note, the castle type folly you see in some is where wifelys Great Grandma was born, her family once owned the big house and surrounding parkland.
Roll 2 – Sunday morning, one roll to shoot! I packed the tripod and set off to Plymbridge woods, the River Plym runs through its deep valley lined with pine plantation with lots of abandoned quarry workings, railways, cottages etc. I started with a few simple shots to warm up then taking the advice of a wise man I tried some adventurous long exposures in the very shaded valley bottom, the longest up in the 20 seconds with a deep orange filter. These were using bulb mode, I much prefer these slow cameras when they have better low end shutter speeds, 1 1/15 just doesnt cut it for my preferences. I climbed the steep bank and finished the roll walking back on the old rail route. It went I think very well with a couple of exposures straying a bit, some of the results are a shade dark but then it was dark so a fair representation of conditions.
Thoughts – It wasnt nearly as bad as I thought it would be, I am really pleased with the results too. If I saw one in a flea market in the tens of pounds I might be tempted or NOT! I will not make comment on the new prices… A good medium format starter camera if you like plastic.
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