A Timeless Classic: Belair X 6-12 in Basic Black

2

Everything looks great in black; especially cameras. Try the Belair X 6-12 City Slicker on for size and you just might leave all of your other cameras at home.

Credits: themindseye

Medium format is a great film choice. Unlike its more common 35mm format cassette-encased sister, medium format film is generally supplied on a spool with an opaque paper backing. Although you can still find extended length “paperless” spools of 220 film (i.e., you get 24 6- x 6-cm exposures on a 220 roll versus 12 exposures on a 120 roll), or even single exposure cut film negative material, the 120 film roll is the King of Medium Format.

It’s easy to see why the 120 roll is so dominant in medium format photography when you review how many different negative dimensions can be exposed on this film. The 120 roll can be used in film cameras that support at least four different dimensions: 6- x 4.5-cm, 6- x 6-cm, 6- x 7-cm, and 6- x 9-cm. Those dimensions are so last century, however. Today there is a new format that can be added to the 120 roll’s repertoire: 6- x 12-cm. Whoa! That’s B-I-G! And this remarkable panoramic format is due to the magical powers of those Lomographic Society International kids.

But those clever guys and gals didn’t stop there; no they bundled this new panoramic 120 format into a medium format camera that is also capable of hitting the 6- x 6-cm and 6- x 9-cm marks, too. All of this medium format goodness is squeezed into a gorgeous black metal, nylon, and plastic package. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the Lomography Belair X 6-12 City Slicker.

Why the all-black City Slicker model in lieu of the bright silver metal Jet Setter or Trailblazer models? It’s all about black, baby.

Do you want to know a fashion secret? Black is always in style. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, cars, or cameras, black is a timeless classic. Plus black makes you look thinner, too. And nobody wants to be caught with a “heavy set,” “large boned,” “rotund” camera, do they? Nope. We Lomos shoot from the hip, right? So, black it is.

Regardless of the Belair model you choose, however, the specifications remain the same:

Specifications

  • Film – 120 roll film
  • Picture Size – 6-x6-cm, 6-x9-cm, 6-x12-cm
  • Focus Range – 1m – infinity
  • Shutter Speed – 1/125
  • Exposure Control – Aperture priority; f/8 & f/16
  • Flash – X-synchronization hot shoe
  • Battery – 2xLR44
  • Lens – 58mm (90-degree angle of view) & 90mm (65-degree angle of view)

Opening the Belair box could give you a pause, a gasp, and a chuckle. Unlike most gadgets today, the Lomography packaging is devoid of foam, plastics, and bubble wraps. Underneath the top sheet of foam (OK, there is one small, thin, tiny sheet of packaging foam on top of all the cool goodies), the camera body and two viewfinders are ensconced in a black fabric shroud. Right, shroud does sound kinda morbid, but it’s not a bag or slipcase, rather it’s a large piece of black fabric that has been wrapped around each item. And don’t you dare throw these wraps away. Be sure to keep these bits of fabric for cleaning your Belair.

Two odd omissions from the Belair box are no strap for the camera and no batteries. While the former is excusable, the lack of batteries, especially such oddball sized batteries that are required for this camera, is a very unfortunate absence. In order to right this second wrong, you will have to go to a shop that sells unique batteries (e.g., RadioShack in the USA) and purchase two LR44 batteries. Once purchased, you install these batteries with a peculiar orientation (i.e., one positive pole is “up” and the other’s negative pole is “up”), so study the polarity symbols very carefully before snapping the battery chamber door closed.

You are now ready to load a roll of 120 film into the camera.

When the Belair is finally loaded with film and ready for use, you might want to keep an eye on the lens cap—that’s both lens caps; for either lens, because they will become loose after only a couple of removals and replacements. Once they get loose, watch out! During use, mine fell off repeatedly when opening the camera for operation. In one case, the lens cap hit the ground of a 7-storey parking garage and started rolling towards the building’s edge. A quick grab saved my lens cap. Whew, that was close!

Then, less than one hour later, I was standing on a dock getting ready to shoot the Natchez paddle-wheeler leaving its New Orleans dock when the other lens cap dropped off as I was switching lenses. Lucky for me, this cap landed on a nearby pier, just missing a dunk in the muddy Mississippi River.

Credits: themindseye

Two close calls in one day. That’s two too many. Therefore, you might want to add a short length of plastic tape to the inside of each lens cap. This simple trick should help hold the cap more tightly against the lens barrel.

Even though the Belair is a very well made camera, you should still “handle” it with care. Unbelievably, it’s your fingernails that are the culprits that can do the most damage to this stylish camera. Unlike the pricier leather-covered models, the City Slicker is wrapped with a leatherette or, as I prefer to call it, Lomography “leather,” finish. This material can dent very easily from a bump, jab, or grab from your fingernails or jewelry. So watch it.

Another area where you should avoid rough handling is around the rubber bellows. Even though Lomography Society International designed the Belair X 6-12 with a rugged rubber bellows, you should avoid poking it during opening and closing the camera. Furthermore, you shouldn’t rest your fingers against the bellows during picture taking, either. This lazy “finger rest” practice can cause the bellows to bulge into the light chamber and obscure a portion of your film. Keep an eye on how you hold your Belair and you should get extremely satisfying images.

Credits: themindseye

There have been some complaints about the Belair delivering poorly focused photographs. Some reviewers have blamed the camera, the bellows, the lenses, and, even, the film for these supposedly bad results. Using a variety of films from both Ilford and Lomography Society International and operating in a wide range of lighting conditions, I always received very good, crisp, and tonally balanced results. In fact, my results have been so good, that I have decided not to purchase either of the new all-glass Belairgon lenses. I’m afraid that the weight and sharpness of these new lenses would compromise the attributes of my Belair prints that I now love.

Credits: themindseye

Therefore, without any hesitancy I can justifiably claim that the Belair X 6-12 City Slicker is a pro-quality medium format camera that can deliver impressive results. Couple this remarkable camera with the two lenses that are included in the package (along with the future option of adding a high-quality 114mm interchangeable lens) and you have a terrific “can’t miss” scenic or portrait camera that will leave Instagram users gasping for air.

Just remember, always bet on black.

written by themindseye on 2013-08-21 in #reviews #belair-x-6-12 #120-film #city-slicker #black #belair #medium-format

2 Comments

  1. cherub38
    cherub38 ·

    For sure a great review for a great camera ! BRAVO !

  2. nigell
    nigell ·

    Great review, and a very enjoyable read. I have to agree about the 'omissions' too, the exclusion of a strap and batteries for a camera in this price band is, in my opinion, inexcusable. Glad it's not just me having troubles with the lens caps, I'll be adding tape to mine sometime very soon :-)

More Interesting Articles

  • 18 Brilliant Belair X 6-12 Shots In 6x9 Format

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-13 in #gear
    18 Brilliant Belair X 6-12 Shots In 6x9 Format

    The Belair X 6-12 is not an ordinary medium format camera. Besides classic square shots, it's also capable of shooting outstanding photos in 6x9 format! Have a look at some stunning examples below.

    6
  • 18 Awesome Belair X 6-12 Squares

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-13 in #gear #news
    18 Awesome Belair X 6-12 Squares

    Having a Belair X 6-12 feels like owning more than just one camera. It's a medium-format camera, but paired with its special accessories you can shoot 35mm or instant photos with it, too! The versatility of its 3 photo formats also offers more options to suit your shooting needs. Here, we present to you some of the most gorgeous Belair X 6-12 photos in classic 6x6 format. Enjoy!

    11
  • Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything Part 1

    written by simonesavo on 2014-07-24 in #reviews
    Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything Part 1

    The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact and is capable of shooting photos in 3 different sizes: 6x12, 6x9 and 6x6. Equipped with high-quality interchangeable lenses and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots with every roll. It can also take 3 different film formats: 120 film, 35mm and instant film. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.

  • Shop News

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    Enjoy a truly analogue moviemaking experience with Lomography's 35mm movie camera and an accompanying accessory to watch your films with. View your masterpieces in the most analogue way possible with the LomoKinoscope. Get it now 20% off the regular price!

  • 18 Sensational 6x12 Scenes From The Belair X 6-12

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-13 in #gear
    18 Sensational 6x12 Scenes From The Belair X 6-12

    Think the Belair X 6-12 medium-format camera is only limited to snapping square shots? Nope! It also gives you the option to shoot other photo formats, such as 6x12. We compiled some of the most impressive photos in this format for your inspiration!

    2
  • Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything (Part 2)

    written by simonesavo on 2014-08-05 in #reviews
    Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything (Part 2)

    The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact, and capable of shooting photos in three different sizes: 6x12, 6x9, and 6x6. Equipped with a high quality interchangeable lens system and and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots in every roll. It can also take three different film formats: 120mm, 35mm, and instant. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.

  • Captivating Belair Landscapes From the Nixon Surf Team

    written by shhquiet on 2014-07-02 in #news
    Captivating Belair Landscapes From the Nixon Surf Team

    What happens when the Lomography Belair X 6-12 camera lands in the hands of the Nixon surf team? A series of gorgeous panoramic photos is born! Have a look at what these adventurers came up with after the cut.

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • A Political Rally in Como

    written by sirio174 on 2014-08-18 in #lifestyle
    A Political Rally in Como

    In the week preceding the elections for the European Parliament, several political rallies were held in Como. As with all other public events in my city I documented one of these rallies, this time using a Russian film camera Zorki 6 loaded with a black and white film roll. Take a look!

    1
  • Cozy up to Black Friday with 30 Classy Black & White Pics from the LC-Wide

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-28 in #news
    Cozy up to Black Friday with 30 Classy Black & White Pics from the LC-Wide

    You probably don't feel like leaving your comfy sofa to go out and fight the cold and the crowds for a great deal, do you? We don't blame you! Instead, grab a plate of leftover turkey with all the fixin's and check out these gorgeous black and white photos from the classic LC-Wide camera. When you're done, scoot on over to the Online Shop to save a sweet 30% on it and other choice analogue deals!

    2
  • Awesome Albums: Tri-X by Ccwu

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-05-22 in #world #lifestyle
    Awesome Albums: Tri-X by Ccwu

    In this stunning collection, night lights are a form of movement.

    2
  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Now Available for Pre-Order: The New Petzval Art Lens in Black

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-05-22 in #gear #news
    Now Available for Pre-Order: The New Petzval Art Lens in Black

    Add a touch of elegance to your gear with the New Petzval Art Lens in black, now available for pre-order on the Online Shop with an estimated delivery date of August 2015.

  • All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the Petzval Lens

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-22 in #people #lomoamigos
    All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the Petzval Lens

    A wedding photographer based in New Jersey, Michelle Lange is all about weddings and engagements. After her own wedding and spending years on wedding research, she decided to take the plunge, pursue her passion and create a dream career. In this interview, she talks about her passion and her work, and showcases a series of photographs she shot with a Petzval Lens.

  • When the Soul Speaks Through Images: an Interview with Suji Park

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-21 in #people #lifestyle
    When the Soul Speaks Through Images: an Interview with Suji Park

    When a truly fascinating photograph hits you, it’s powerful enough to transport you to the story that is being told in that image. Such is what happens when one sees Suji Park's work for the first time. It’s as if you can actually hear and feel the details of each snapshot — the warmth of a late afternoon sun, the complex silence of nature or a dry and nostalgic solitude.

    2