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Belairgon 114mm Lens: Give Your Belair the Lens it Deserves

The Belair 6x12 camera is truly a surprising and beautiful camera. The 2 lenses that come with the camera are made out of plastic, and even if Lomographers are used to plastic lenses, I had the impression that something was missing for achieving great shots with the Belair 6x12. And then appeared the word "Belairgon": 2 brand new 90mm and 114mm glass lenses made specially for the Belair 6x12 camera. I knew that I found what I was looking for!

I was very enthusiastic about the Belair 6×12 camera when it came out. A brand new folding camera with a lightmeter and a set of 2 plastic lenses, that was very attractive. When I received the camera, I tested the 2 different plastic lenses (58mm and 90mm) and even if the pictures had the typical Lomographic mood (especially with the very wide 58mm lens) I was truly disappointed by the quality of the plastic lenses. The lack of sharpness – specially at f/8 – was the main problem in my opinion. But, well, it’s plastic and we Lomographers are used to love plastic lenses & cameras that aren’t so sharp but create some moody shots, no? Diana, Holga, or Sardina are amongst our favorite toys, and made only out of plastic, but produce great pictures…

And then, LSI announced the launch of 2 other Belair lenses, but this time Russian glass lenses: the Belairgon! I loved the name, reminding me of the old fashioned lenses all ending with “gon” and also the “Minigon” lens of the LC-Wide. I always liked the sharpness of the Minigon 17mm lens, and I thought that the Belairgon glass lenses could be what I was looking for!

So I pre-ordered the 114mm lens and after some months of waiting for delivery, it was finally in my hands! The first impressions were very good: the lens, built by the famous Zenit factory, is heavy (especially compared to the plastic lenses, of course), the focusing ring moves smoothly and precisely. The feeling is the one of a well built glass lens.

The technical specifications of the lens, are the following (taken from the Belair microsite):

  • Lens material: Special multi-coated Russian Glass
  • Lens Focal Length: 114mm
  • Maximum Aperture: 1:8
  • Minimum Aperture: 1:16
  • Angle of View: 54 degrees (6 × 12)
  • Standard 35mm equivalent Focal Length: 42mm (6 × 12)
  • Standard 35mm equivalent Focal Length: 52mm (6 × 9)
  • Standard 35mm equivalent Focal Length: 67mm (6 × 6)
  • Focusing Zones: 1m, 1.5m, 3m, Infinity

After shooting some rolls, I can confirm that this lens is really sharper and of better quality than the plastic lenses. The pictures are far better, and my impression now is that the Belair 6×12 is closer to the spirit of the Lubitel than of Diana or Holga.

So, if you have the Belair 6×12 camera and are a bit disappointed by the plastic lenses, I can only tell you that the Belairgon glass lenses are a good investment for your camera. Of course, these lenses are a bit expensive, but you can’t expect a great glass lens for the price of a cheap plastic one, right?

written by vicuna

12 comments

  1. djramsay

    djramsay

    Very expensive though compaired to the camera

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    @djramsay Glass is an investment. Camera backs are replaceable; but a nice solid lens will last you a life time.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. deepfried_goodness

    deepfried_goodness

    I've been patiently waiting for my Belairgon lens for quite some time. I have high expectations for that lens. So far, everything I've seen that was shot with it is nice and sharp.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. djramsay

    djramsay

    @clownshoes true but isnt this limited to the belair only?
    I love my Belair, i recieved one of the first test ones, had to return as the light metre didnt work, but i'm not sure i want to spend £400 give or take on two lens

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. djramsay

    djramsay

    @vicuna photos are beautiful :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  6. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    @djramsay :D nothing 'has' to be dedicated. Seeing how these lenses are for 6x12; I'm curious of the results when mounted on a lens board strapped to my Graflex. I've been trying some secret experiments with the Belair and lenses; I might share some after this weekend if I get any where with them.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  7. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    @djramsay Oh and as for price; I just saved up piggies from writing articles, competition, LHOTD, and I think POTD from the end of the year. I bought both lenses and spent less then what it cost me to Pre-Order the Belair.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  8. djramsay

    djramsay

    @clownshoes yeah i have 219 piggies that run out in september but holding on to see if any new cameras are released, i've got 8 rolls from the belair that need to go to the lab so will see how they go :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  9. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    @djramsay Cool man! I think the new glass is going to make a huge difference in image quality with the Belair.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  10. ihave2pillows

    ihave2pillows

    Thanks for the review. I have yet to produce convincing quality 6x12 images that justify the cost of my Belair. Your review will certainly help, should I consider getting the glass lenses :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  11. pussylove

    pussylove

    Thanks for the review, I might consider!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  12. adam_g2000

    adam_g2000

    I'm still waiting for mine. Maybe not so patiently...

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Русский, 中文(繁體版) & 中文(繁體版).