I shot my first roll ever with a Lubitel and my second roll using my Rolleiflex . I used a Lomo Redscale roll on both camera's.
Yesterday I got a Lubitel 166B by mail. Someone sent it to me, I know nothing, I told my wife. (she was quite suspicious because a few minutes later a Kiev 60 arrived. It must have been the same joker who sent it.) I wanted to try it immediately and all I had was a pack of 120 lomography redscale film. So I decided to put the redscale in and to shoot back to back with my Rolleiflex (which I have for more than a year and only used once.)
First a word on the Redscale film. In my opinion it works best when you overexpose it by two to three stops. So I overexposed my film two stops, setings on both camera’s were equal. But my beloved Rollei’s shutter had become slow, so the Flexes are overexposed three to four, even five stops. When you don’t overexpose you just get dark reddish pics. When you overexpose a hint of blue comes through and you get a nice yellowish pic. When you overexpose too much some parts get burnt out. You have to find the right balance.
The Lubitel 166B
The weight. It is said to be a light weight. Mine weighs 610 grams, without a strap and without a film (the Rollei weighs 860 grams). On the almighty internet I found that lomography’s 166+ weighs 451 grams and the Russian 166B weighs 540 grams. So why does mine weighs 610 ? I am really a freak when it comes down to numbers so would all of you owning a 166+ or 166B post the weight of it in a comment??
The handling. Honestly, the handling is crappy. When I cock the shutter, I accidently hit the release button giving me funny but unwanted doubles or a stupid shot. Anyway it’s good you can do multiple expposures. The aperture and speed controls are not exactly in handy place and you have to turn the camera to check your settings. It is not a sports camera :). The waistlevel viewfinder is very bright but annoying, I get dizzy from it and you have to keep it level or you get tunnel vision. But focussing is easy if you use the magnifying loupe. Some people complain that the 166B is dificult to focus and that you’d better use the distance scales instead of the viewfinder. Mine focusses well. Focussing a waist level is not that easy and because the two lenses are connected they can get out of line. So the image in the viewfinder can appear sharp through the foccusing lens, while the image lens is not in focus. I guess you have to be a bit lucky with your 166B specimen. I’ve also read that the 166+ has a better focussing screen.
The best part is the price. You find a 166B on ebay between 15 and 80 euros. I always go for the cheap ones. I paid mine 40 euros including shipment. compared to the 300 euros Lubitel 166+… I know which one to buy. The real Russian deal for 40 euros or a remanufactured Chinese lookalike for 300… You find a Hasselblad 500C for that price (I will keep repeating that one forever).
The Rolleiflex New Standard (1938)
Leaving out that you can’t do doubles with the rolleiflex, it is superior to the Lubitel in every possible way. Still you don’t want it and I don’t recommend it. I tell you why. Even after 74 years this camera is to good for lomographic ends and way not good enough for high end results. Even though the New Standerd is the cheapest Rolleiflex on the block, it still goes 250 to 350 euros. When I have the choice between a 40 euro Lubitel and 300 euro New Standard I know which one to buy ( you can get a hasselblad….). If you ever find a sixties or seventies Rolleiflex for 300 euros: don’t hesitate and buy it. Let’s be clear, I am talking here about a 74 year old beauty that was top class in it’s days, but you can’t compare its quality to the superior seventies models.
What I like most about it is the lens. It is slightly soft, the resolution is not that high as newer professional lenses. This gives a nice effect in many situations.
What I like also is its easyness to handle. The focussing screen is dim but it works, you can read the settings without turning around the cam, the two lenses are not connected, they move in one block, so they can never get out of line. The focussing knob is on the side, so you don’t have to turn the lens.
My model overexposes by two stops, I did not take that into account and used tha same setting as I did on the Lubitel (which I overexposed by two stops), so the pics are four stops overexposed. I hope you see what I mean with the gentle softness of the lens :)
If you are really bored watch this for more and the same info. All the info is in the first 15 minutes, after that I just start talking to myself.