The 80s and 90s: we finally arrived to modern Lubitels. How did the old analog Lubitel project managed to survive against the rising digital technology? The most modern models have something really romantic, considering that they reflect a part of the history of USSR, during the last decades of the Cold War.
We all know that Lomo is not only a camera business, so they finally decided to dismiss the camera’s production.
LUBITEL 166B [1980 – 1990]
This is the amazing simplification of the previous model: the Lubitel 166.
- Features lost: film counter and coupled shutter & advance.
- Features gained: very basic and amateur feature is surely the weather symbols to guide the user during the choosing of exposure settings.
The rest of features are the same as always: two objective lenses of the same focal length. The first lens is the main one (is the photographic objective lens, the lower one) and the second is used for viewfinder system (linked with a top viewfinder). The two objectives are connected, so that the focused image present on the focusing screen will be exactly the same as on the film.
- Shutter speeds from 1/250 to 1/15 and a bulb setting.
- Aperture from f/4.5 to f/22.
- Focuses close at just over a meter.
LUBITEL 166 UNIVERSAL [1983 – 1993]
LOMO in St. Petersburg closed the production of the Lubitel series with this model. The 166B and the Universal are more or less identical, but the 166 Universal has two formats capability: 6×6cm and 6×4.5cm. It was actively manufactured until 1993.
The entire Lubitel series of cameras is the poor man’s TLR. Being made of plastic, it is sometimes lumped into the toy camera category: the only big problem is the general quality of the product, compared to the times in which it was produced and the society in which it was manufactured.
Things to improve were surely the viewfinder, because it’s really hard to focus with it. It has only the central 80% part of the image visible and (even though there is a small magnifying glass to focus better) the difficulty of focusing is still a problem. It’s quite better to zone-focus in a Holga-style (or LC-A style). If we don’t consider these negative aspects, it is capable of taking pretty cool photos.
Alessandro Panelli (aka yo.panic or .panic) is a Medicine and Surgery student, a photographer and a writer from Padova (Italy, near Venice). Read more about Alessandro’s work and life here or add him on Facebook or Google+.