I was quite thrilled when Lomography announced the Belair X 6-12. The 6X12 format in a compact, lightweight body, with automatic exposure! What more can I ask for? Without any hesitation, I pre-ordered the Globetrotter Edition and started my long and agonizing wait for the camera.
As there are quite a few steps to unboxing and introduction articles, I won’t be repeating those details here.
Here’s what I wished the whole package would be:
1. A wooden box like for the LC-A+ and La Sardina Metal editions.
2. Include a lens and viewfinder pouch.
3. Include batteries & a strap like for the LC-A+.
Well, these are good-to-have items but the real reasons I bought the Belair are the multiple formats, lightweight portability, and the automatic exposure – all at a very reasonable price. Even my friend who is a serious medium and large format user is tempted to buy one after being pleasantly “poisoned” by my Belair.
Without further ado, here are some sample photos taken with my Belair:
Black & White 100
These photos are blurred due to slow shutter speed under low light conditions and poor holding technique.
After shooting in all 3 formats, I feel that it’s easiest to shoot in 6X12 format as one only needs to take care of the vertical parallex error. Just remember to aim slightly higher as the lens is below the viewfinder. Otherwise, the head of the subject might be “chopped” off!
When shooting 6X9 format, somehow there seems to be a lot of “empty” space to the left of the photo. For example, in the following photo, I am very sure that the staircase was right in the middle of my composition. But it ended up skewed to one side.
This was a similar case for the following photo of a temple:
As for 6X6, try to position the subject right in the middle of the viewfinder. The film will capture much less horizontally than what one can see in the viewfinder.
Lastly, the highest shutter speed of 1/125s means that one must be careful not to use too high an ASA film (e.g. 400 & above) during daylight conditions. Even if the light meter is set to the right film speed, the film will definitely be overexposed in bright/sunny daylight conditions.
In sum, the Belair is definitely one great camera and I am still learning how to fully utilize its full potential. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of venturing into medium format cameras.