The Lubitel 166B TLR is the medium-format predecessor to the equally iconic LOMO LC-A compact camera, prized for its simplicity and ability to produce professional-looking images.
It was post-WWII when the respected LOMO factory of St. Petersburg started creating a twin-lens reflex camera called “Komosomolets” (meaning “Young Communist.”), which was especially marketed towards amateur photographers. It was a copy of the 1938 German Voightlander “Brilliant” camera, so the design wasn’t really fresh. Come 1949, the original Lubitel (literally meaning “Amateur”) was presented – an enhanced and improved concept of the “Young Communist” cam. With its better features and quality, the Lubitel sales shot to over a million units sold worldwide, and was followed by the equally successful Lubitel-2, raking in two million units from its 1955 launch, to its demise in 1980.
The Lubitel 166B steps in 1980 and lasts until ‘89. Preserving the best features of its predecessor – the 75mm “Triplet 22” lens (which yields very sharp and high-contrast images), and the “ZT-8” shutter with a 1/250 speed, the 166B was crafted in a thermoplastic body, which makes it lightweight and convenient to tote around. Manual aperture and shutter controls provide flexibility in composing images, while the ground glass top-down viewer ensures perfect focusing. For extra resolution detail, a flip-down magnifying glass is available.
A roll of 120 gives you 12 6×6 images. There’s an option to not cock the shutter after making your first shot, should you wish to experiment with overlaps or multiple exposures – thanks to its manual shutter cock and advance.
janisthewanis confessed that he has dropped his Lubitel over a dozen times! “Does this affect the camera in any way? Nope. I really love how lightweight and durable the Lubitel is. I can carry it everywhere with me and not have the camera strap digging into my shoulder. I can throw it into my car or bag and not have to worry about something getting knocked loose because the thing is a tank. I really like looking down into the viewfinder and shooting from my pelvis, it seems to throw people off, they wonder what the hell you are doing.”
Lightweight and easy to use, the Lubitel 166B makes a perfect TLR camera for the beginner, and a fun camera for the professional.
Photos 1-12 by: janisthewanis