I feel privileged to have in my hands the new jewel of Lomography and to experiment and to take my first lomographies with it.
The Belair is a camera which lets itself be loved, which lets itself to be carried away for a walk and can be used in a professional level, yet very easy to use.
Let me begin by saying that the most attractive aspect for me is to work with a camera which allows me to frame on a format as interesting as is the 6 × 10 cm. If we add a 58 mm wide angle lens then it’s a great pleasure.
The camera is designed to take pictures that impact with minimal effort or technical expertise required. Another advantage we have with the Belair is to count with its interesting light meter, inspired by his veteran siste, the Lomo LC-A. This means you only have to worry about deciding which aperture choose to get the depth of field required. I recommend using the f16 aperture. This option will give you more depth and get sharper photos when taking a portrait of one or two people who are placed two meters from your camera. If what you want is to shoot a scene, you can use the F.8 wider aperture, the shutter will automatically run faster. The Belair, having a light meter built-in, handles herself to calculate the exposure time depending on the two diaphragms available: f8 and f16.
I recommend to use a protocol before taking any photo.
1. Set the right aperture according to what you want to take.
2. Check the focus; there are 4 options in each lens.
3. Make sure the viewfinder belongs to the lens you set on your Belair.
4. Check out the ISO dial fits with the sensivity of the film.
5. Remember to open your camera and extend the bellows.
6. Make sure the two batteries are in their places and, before loading the film, make sure the shutter works right.
7. If the camera hasn’t got batteries or these are worn-out, don’t fret… it has a solution: the Belair works always without batteries at a 1/125 speed. This means that in a sunny day you’ll be able to keep shooting wonderful photos.
8. Choose the format you like the most among the three available options. Read the manual to know how to wind the film properly with each format.
It’s that easy… you just have to frame properly and hold tight your Belair. I have to say that the Belair is a lightweight camera; it has the shutter lever on the front where the objective is placed and you need to use both hands. Hold your camera steady and nail your elbows against your chest, this will make your body behave like a tripod and your photos will come out sharp and avoid any motion effect.
I also recommend you to look through the viewfinder staring at its center. Do not try to look too much to the sides, what you see is what you will get in your photo. In close-ups I suggest to rectify the frame slightly up in order to reduce the paralelism error, as the Belair is not a typical SLR camera.
In low light conditions you got to keep in mind that it estimates the exposure time, this means that we always have to wait to hear the second click before releasing the shutter. If we release it earlier, the photo will be underexposed. Take care with this kind of situations and put always the Belair on a tripod to get sharp photos at 100%.
If the camera has a flash connected to the universal shoe, this will automatically fire when releasing the shutter. If the light from the scene is poor keep the shutter pressed until you hear the shutter closing. If you’ve chosed the “B” (Bulb) option, you decide how long the shutter must remain open.
In these cases, and if the camera is not on a tripod, it is almost certain that the picture will come out blurred.
As in almost all Lomography cameras, the new Belair allows to take double and multiple exposures. This is one of its great advantages to me. I usually carry a LED flashlight to see easily the number of each frame. The red filter on the back window is a bit dense and it may be difficult to see the numbers on the film paper when the light conditions are poor.
Changing lenses is very easy, and you can do it easily. When not using the camera I recommend to remove the viewfinder to prevent breakage by some stroke. I usually do it as a precaution measure.
We can cheat the light meter if we cover it with our finger when taking the photo. With this trick what we do is to extend the exposure time and get a thicket negative. This trick is very interesting in low light conditions and when we in backlight conditions.
Well, as you see, the camera is very simple to use. Being a lightweight camera maybe, the most important thing is to hold it with determination and always with both hands. Also calculate accurately the distance of the subjet in order to get terrific sharp photos. The lens quality is great, and if you follow your protocol you will be a happy good lomographer with your new Belair.
Enjoy it and don’t forget to carry it in your best moments.
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Good luck and congratulations for your new Belair X 6-12!