Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

Lubitel 166B

Lubitel 166B

I bought this russian TLR back in 2003, at a car boot sale near Redhill, W. Sussex, together with a number of 120 film rolls, expired. To be honest, I wasn’t shooting much medium format film at the time, but when I opened up this Lubitel, I was impressed by the clarity and brightness of the screen, one of the clearest I’ve ever seen. And so I thought what the heck, 4 quid is not a fortune, so mine it became.

Went home and put a roll of Ilford Delta 100 in it, after I checked the speeds and whatnot. All worked well, as far as I could see, so I went next day for a stroll in the nearby nature. Shot all 12 images and processed them. They were as expected: soft corners, vignette in some cases, and out focus a couple (forgot to properly focus with the distance dial). But an overall satisfactory result, I’d say, considering the camera and its specifications.

So, this Lubitel 166B camera has been produced by the LOMO factory in what was then the Soviet Union, starting 1980. It was an iteration of the older Lubitel 166, shown here (yes, I do have that one too). Plastic al over, but well made, if you manage to get over the somewhat crude design of some features of this camera.

The film it takes is of regular 120 format, and it shoots 12 frames of 6×6 each. The screen is of condenser type, not of a ground glass type, although it does have a small circle of ground glass in the middle of the screen.

The lens is a clean LOMO T22, with 4.5/75 (apparently) coated. Shutter speeds are set manually, from B to 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250s, aperture ranging from 4.5 to 22. I find the taking lens housing is a bit cluttered, because all the levers are installed here: aperture lever, shutter tripping lever, arming the shutter lever, shutter speed lever, self timer lever, cable release socket and the flash sync socket. Quite a number of features in a very small space.

Both the viewing and taking lens are interlocked by means of a toothed mechanism, and this helps to deal with the focus, which is completely manual at distance. No meter or batteries in this camera, which makes it a very good learning item, if you are so inclined. Film advance is by a wheel on the right lateral plate, and you have to be careful to watch the numbers going up on the red window to stop for the frame. It does not lock the film when next frame is scrolled.

The red window has a button which covers the window if turned clockwise. A cold shoe is on the left side plate, together with the film disengaging push/pull buttons. Two strap eyelets, mobile, are available. The viewfinder is extremely bright, but it does not have a close up lens inside, you know, that small lens one can bring over the screen to view detail of a scene.

Haven’t used it since, although I do not have a good reason for it. It just sat on my shelves, dusted every now and then, and keeping memories of a time when I thought I could anything, if I put my mind to it. Good times!

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