First Hand Review of Lomography's Light Weight Medium Format Camera - The Belair X 6-12

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The Belair X 6-12 is finally available at the Lomography Gallery Store and can be given a hands-on review. For those who have pre-ordered the camera, this article can be help you familiarize yourself with the camera and understand how it works so as to minimize burning some shots on your first rolls.

Jetsetter’s color tones are similar to LC-A+Silver Lake?

This year’s May, August, and October saw Lomography's launching of brand new cameras The 110 cameras are based on the original Fisheye and Diana+ cameras designs but are instead “110 sized”.

An ideal gift (especially for ladies). The small format size, expensive development, and scanning costs are slightly prohibitive to me, who has been used to shooting in 135 format. Fortunately, October saw the launch of the Belair X 6-12 camera which didn’’t come with a launch party and ready samples – a rare event. But based on its bellows camera design and LC-A+ Silver Lake color schemes, rare auto exposure 6×12 format, interchangeable lenses, and pre-launch discounts, it’s well received. Even photographers who had never used Analogue cameras previously made the pre-order.

1) When closed, it’s light and portable 2) There are 2 red windows for 6×9 & 6×6/6×12 formats, when shooting 6×6/6×9, wind till you see each frame number; when shooting 6×12, wind till you see the even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) before stopping 3) On the bottom of the camera, there is a tripod socket

When the Belair X 6-12 was officially launched there were 2 models: an all black plastic body (City Slicker), and a silver metal body with brown PVC leather (Jetsetter); the 300 pieces of faux snake skin limited editions had already been sold out, hence not being discussed here. The model available for pre-order at the stores is the Belair Jetsetter model with a metal body.

According to Camera R&D staff RON you can transform a Jetsetter into a City Slicker by changing all the Silver parts(hotshoe, strap hook, bellow frame, viewfinder facade, shutter release) into black plastic and change to black PVC.

1) The length is narrower than the Lomo LC-A and Lomo LC-Wide 2) In the closed position, excluding the lens, the body thickness is similar to the LOMO Compact cameras; in the open position, its thickness is about that of 3 LOMO Compact cameras.

Weight

It’s not mentioned in the Microsite, and I don’t have a weighing scale, so using the subjective hand weighing method, it’s considered light for a metal edition 6×12 camera. It is much lighter than the plastic body, steel frame Horizon but heavier than the plastic Lubitel 166+.

It can be handheld easily by a lady but can be slightly uncomfortable for guys with big hands as the shutter lever is not on the top plate. Though it doesn’t affect the usage experience.

Bellows

Different from most bellows cameras the Belair uses a layer of rubber material, but the disadvantage is that it attracts a lot of dust. The rough folding design minimizes folding errors after long usage.

To open the camera, press the lock button below the bellows, and lightly open it with both hands. When closing, press it with both hands cautiously, loosen the metal frames and close it on a level position to prevent misfolding or damage.

Shutter and light meter

The shutter has a 5 blade ring shaped design. The fastest speed is 1/125s under Aperture priority mode. The fastest shutter speed is like the Lomo LC-A+ – once the light meter detects enough light, the shutter will close (there is a bulb mode). There is no link between the shutter and film advance mechanism. The ISO can be set higher for MX and stitching and is comparatively easier than a Holga, Diana 120 camera. The auto exposure system gives better exposure accuracy.

The exposure adjustment dial is located behind the lens board. You can set anything from ISO 50 to 1600, plus Bulb mode.
The shutter release is located to the side of the lens board, there is no shutter release screw thread. As such, there might be a possibility that a cable release adapter might be launched.

Lens

For the time being Belair X 6-12 comes with 2 lenses: 58mm 1:8 (90degrees) and 90mm 1:8 (65 degrees) made up of 1 set with 2 pieces (58mm) or 3 pieces (90mm) of plastic lens group. The apertures are F8 & F16.

58mm (1:8 on a 135 format)

  • 21mm (6 × 12)
  • 26mm (6 × 9)
  • 35mm (6 × 6)

90mm (1:8 on a 135 format)

  • 32mm (6 × 12)
  • 40mm (6 × 9)
  • 52mm (6 × 6)

Limited by the larger film format (easy to get out of focus with larger apertures) and the 2 slots joint design, these 2 lenses and any future lenses, including glass lenses, would have only 2 apertures. Focusing is similar to LC-A+'s Zone Focus. The distance marking on the lens body are 1M, 1.5M, 3M, and infinity. Don’t expect any rangefinder mechanism such as automatic 250 on Lomography cameras.

1) Every lens comes with its own viewfinder 2) Distance markers and aperture ring 3) F/8.0 4) Changing aperture 5) F/16.0
Similar to most traditional cameras, with a standard hot shoe, front curtain sync. Hot shoe is on the back plate connected by the 2 halves of the camera body.
There are 3 formats: 6×6 (12 frames), 6×9 (9 frames), 6×12 (6 frames). You can also easily DIY 6×7/6×8 formats with black tape.
1) 58mm finder 2) 90mm finder 3) Detachable finder, can be tightened with a slight twist.

Film

A lot of 120 negatives and slides have stopped production. But Lomography revived the trend and launched many types of 120 films for instance 120 Rescale and 120 ASA 800, which are unique in today’s market.

In addition, people are wondering if an instant back will be launched. Based on the format and back cover design, I think it is possible (but I had forgotten to check with camera designer Ron, after Friday’s (23/11) Lomography 20th Anniversary party). I will publish new articles and share with everyone.

Summary

In the last 2 years I only bought the LC-Wide among Lomography’s newly released cameras. I am used to cameras with AE function and am less interested in new toys. But the launch of Belair X 6-12 has provided me with a bigger surprise than in recent years. Finally, Lomography developed a more serious and less toy-like 120 camera to help bring the serious photographers back to using film. I expect the Belair X 6-12 to liven up the dying 120 film market. Regardless if you are interested in this camera, do let more people know about 120 cameras no matter what. Medium format cameras are not popular, costing approximately 6 digits. Even the basic Pentax 645D costs 45k. 120 film cameras are still the cheapest and best way to get into medium format photography.

written by cwyeung on 2012-11-26 in #reviews #belair-x-6-12 #cwyeung #review #hk #coolsigg #hong-kong #belair #medium-format #user-review #preview #hongkong
translated by coolsigg

8 Comments

  1. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    great review! thanks for sharing!

  2. aanum
    aanum ·

    How Can it be avaliable when my pre- order is not here? But great review :)

  3. hobbyfossi
    hobbyfossi ·

    Thanks for this great article. Still expecting mine to come.

  4. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Wonderful article!! I've already got my order in, and I'm waiting! I like 6x9, too. I was at a tool and machine auction, (mostly for entertainment) and a Fuji GW690III came up, and I bid and got it for US$300. I thought I paid too much (wanted it, badly) until a few years later I saw what they go for on eBay. For fine arts types, these Belair X 6-12's are glorious bargains!!

  5. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Great and deep

  6. keefmarshall
    keefmarshall ·

    Nice, comprehensive review. Just annoyed that they have it in the shops but my pre-order (from the first batch!) has not arrived!

  7. pubb
    pubb ·

    I got mine today. Shame that I can't play with it as it is a gift for the better half...

  8. placidcasua1
    placidcasua1 ·

    Not sure about bringing 'serious' photographers back. It is still a plastic lens with some very cheap feeling adjustments and fittings. I'm yet to run a film through mine, but from the preview images, the only good ones I've seen are with a studio flash set-up. I really hope I prove myself wrong...

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