The Lubitel 166+ is surely on almost every Lomographer's wonder list. Someone could say that it's expensive, but it is certainly one of the best cameras in the Lomography store and it offers you the chance to try a really different new kind of shooting approach, in particular because of its viewfinder.
My opinion about the Lubitel 166+ is based not only on the pictures I made thanks to this camera, but also on the user experience, because of the amazing analog freedom you have with it, thanks to the completely manual controls of focusing, aperture, shutter speed and depth of field.
There are some really cool features that give the Lubitel 166+ a halo of magic. One of these features is surely the amazing viewfinder, which can be very helpful.
You can control everything and be really precise in projecting your images. In fact, you can really learn to create images just as they are in your mind: the viewfinder is really big, if you compare it to a standard 35mm camera’s viewfinder. This feature gives you the opportunity to really know what’s going to be impressed in your film frame. This is particularly important, because the viewfinder’s image has the same dimensions of the film’s image: you have the real idea of how much “density of information” (i.e. the proportion and relationship between the subject and the back panorama) is going to be fixed on your film frame.
The big difference between the original Lubitel (the 166U – Universal) is that in the new one the viewfinder is completely renewed and really improved. The original viewfinder was made by a curved glass, so it was a little difficult to understand what was inside the frame and what was not in the frame: the viewfinder covered only the 80% of the real image. The Lubitel 166+ viewfinder is made by a perfectly flat glass, which covers completely the real image (100%).
All the TLRs (Twin Lens Reflex cameras) have the problem of the parallax error, just as in all cameras that have a separate viewfinder (rangefinder cameras and normal viewfinder cameras): According to Wikipedia:
“in such cameras, the eye sees the subject through different optics (the viewfinder, or a second lens) than the one through which the photo is taken. As the viewfinder is often found above the lens of the camera, photos with parallax error are often slightly lower than intended, the classic example being the image of person with his or her head cropped off. This problem is addressed in single-lens reflex cameras, in which the viewfinder sees through the same lens through which the photo is taken (with the aid of a movable mirror), thus avoiding parallax error.”
So in the Lubitel 166+ you will reduce your errors in composing the picture, thanks to the better lens and the better viewfinder. I think that this is a very important point in favor of the choice of this really amazing camera.
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+.