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Meet the BeLomo Vilia, a cheap, sweet looking camera with a surprisingly good lens.

The Vilia is a camera very similar to the Russian Smenas, but it was built in Belarus and it’s actually an individual design. It looks somewhat bulky and it’s certainly not the most compact or light weight camera out there, but still I find that it holds a charm of its own.

They must have made quite a few of these cameras because they’re still readily available – for little money! In my case shipping was more expensive than the actual camera.

The Vilia takes regular 35mm film. It’s equipped with a hot shoe for flash use. Unfortunately shutter cocking and film advance are coupled, so it doesn’t allow for multiple exposures. However with this tipster multiple exposures are possible.

Photo by cornborn

Let’s now have a look at the camera’s heart – its lens. The Vilia uses a Triplet 4/40mm lens, and this lens is much better than expected. Actually, I’m surprised that such a crappy looking camera would come with such a nice lens. At 40mm it isn’t particularly wide and I find myself using the viewfinder more frequently than with my other cameras. Even at F4 the Triplet shows almost no vignetting and it’s exceedingly sharp. This only gets better as you stop down! So if you’re into dark corners and mysteriously blurred images, the Vilia is probably not the camera for you

Choose a shutter speed of 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, or 1/250, and an aperture of F4, F5.6, F8, F11, or F16, and you’re good for almost any lighting situation. Aditionally, the Vilia offers a ‘B’ bulb setting for those looooong exposures.

There’s one more thing I’d like to mention: the viewfinder. As you look through, you’ll notice a series of weather symbols at the bottom. Each weather symbol stands for an aperture value and as you set your aperture, a white dot underneath the weather symbols indicates where you’re at accordingly. So if you set the aperture at F16, the dot will appear underneath the “very sunny” symbol in the viewfinder. This is not only cute, but actually quite handy in practical use.

So overall the BeLomo Vilia is a very capable camera at a very low price, and a true alternative to a Smena.

written by cornborn and translated by cornborn

27 comments

  1. superlighter

    superlighter

    not bad! very nice pictures!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. mephisto19

    mephisto19

    i just found one in my camera board and started using it... but i think i tend to overexpose.... i will see... i know i did it to the first film as i did not know what was in.... very nice gallery

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. acaprahman

    acaprahman

    super nice!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. romullolima

    romullolima

    nice. i want this!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. kdstevens

    kdstevens

    Nice job!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. ra

    Vilia is really good machine=) and i feel pride that its popular in other counties! easy to use, unusually sees, through the lens, amenable to experimentation!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. kvboyle

    kvboyle

    Lovely pictures and an interesting review - thansk!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. maelstrom

    maelstrom

    Great review!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. lakandula

    lakandula

    Awesome shots. Very informative review.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. nadinadu

    nadinadu

    wow! those are some really nice shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. koalasve

    koalasve

    the symbols in the viewfinder are adorable...If I'll have some money to spend, this could be an option! thanks for the review!!!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. holydarkyfied

    holydarkyfied

    nice camera :D I seriously like the design

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. paramir

    paramir

    great shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. chroniczny

    chroniczny

    Everything in this article is TRUE! Vilia gave me more than I expected looking at it! I totally recommend this camera. Try and enjoy!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. vandal

    vandal

    ia have the Vilia Auto and it's really cool...too bad you can't shoot in B mode

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. gatokinetik-o

    gatokinetik-o

    I love the vilia. It's almost my favourite 35mm camera!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. bernardocople

    bernardocople

    Yeah, I got my hands in one recently, but haven't use it yet.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. so_r3tro

    so_r3tro

    I WANTTTTTTTTTT ONE!!!!!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. abhoan

    abhoan

    I like the look and feel of it

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. hanke

    hanke

    lovely pictures! I am curious how colors would turn out though...
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  21. rio

    rio

    very nice pictures

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  22. cornborn

    cornborn

    Thank you everyone for the amazing feedback!
    @hanke I added some pictures with cross processed slide film, I know this doesn't represent what a regular color negative film would give you, but maybe it helps: http://www.lomograph(…)vilia-x-pro

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  23. trw

    trw

    Great article and very informative. I had never heard of this camera before, but now I think I need one!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  24. martin-hantabal

    hi, does anybody know what is for strange dial with symbols "sun, black/white, semi bulb,..." on the back of the top plate of the camera? unfortunately I have no user manual to check it, thank you for advice.
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  25. martin-hantabal

    Does anybody know what is the upper dial with strange symbols used for (that is VILIA, the original one)? The lower dial is to remember what film is used, I think, but the upper one is a mystery for me. https://plus.google.com/photos/117858287202604056752/albums/5768424442918763601?authkey=CI_36fX8w-qiIA
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. vovka1981

    Dear martin-hantabal this syblos are to set the type of film you've loaded to camera, b/w, color, for natural light or artificial as far as iso type in circle lower :)
    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  27. naderghanja

    naderghanja

    belomo vilia was my first camera, i love it!!
    about 1 year ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

The original version of this article is written in: Deutsch. It is also available in: Português.