I adore good photographs. So when I was old enough to appreciate that photography was all about the size of the negative, I began looking for a ‘medium doesn’t camera. The problem was, price. I didn’t have £500 to spare.
Somewhere, I read a review on an obscure Russian camera called a Lubitel 166. It was dual lenses, and everything appeared upside down and reversed in the viewing screen. But it had a massive plus; it was cheap. It was dirt cheap in fact. About £19 pounds or so in the 80s. And it was took 6cm by 6cm negative or side film.
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting much, when I bought it. At a fraction of the price of a Bronica (the Rolls Royce of Medium Formats back then) it was both chunk and heavy to handle. However, I thought what-the-heck, if it takes a decent picture – like the SLR I was using then – I’ve lost nothing.
As it turned out, the pictures weren’t half bad. (I’ve scanned in 3 from some of my first shots taken on my Lubitel.)
I took the above shot in Chesterfield around mid 80s.
This shot (above) was using a tripod.
And lastly, this shot (above), taken at the River Trent as autumn began. All these images have a feeling that my digital camera can’t touch. Of course, I no longer shoot on film, and my Lubitel 166 has long since disappeared from my life. But I think of it affectionately – but not as often as I should. These days photography doesn’t hold the obsession it did in the past.
Funny thing is, when I sat down to write this piece, I had a quick scout through the blogs that mention Lubitel and came across this reference that seems apt.
When I think about my youth, photography is a major part – with my cheap, clunky, Russian medium format camera a gem at the heart of it. 😀 Oh, such happy days!