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Get the Lowdown on the Lubitel Hoedown

Even a Texas-sized belt buckle ain't big enough to hold the Lubitel 166+ twin-lens reflex camera. But with a little help from this review, you'll be totin' your Lubitel everywhere and become a real rootin' tootin' hip shootin' square lover.

Howdy pardner, it’s time to sharpen ‘dem spurs, cinch yar belt, and mount dat bronco. We’re headin’ out on the lonesome prair-ee huntin’ for the wildest two-eyed varmit dat you’d ev’r done seen. Why, I’m talkin’ ‘bout dat crazy Lomo Lubitel 166+ twin lens reflex (TLR) camera. What’d you t’ink I was jawin’ ‘bout? He-he, I no’d; who’d of thunk it? A crazy high-priced camera that can do both 120 film and dat fancy thin stuff, 35mm! Not at the that same time, mind you, but close enuff. Why dem kind cowpokes at Lomography Society International (LSI) even included da conversion set for 35mm inside the Lubitel box. ‘Magine dat? Usin’ all of da film in the world, in da same dag-gum camera dat you view at yer belt buckle.

And, that, my friends, only touches the surface of what makes the Lomo Lubitel 166+ a unique, breed apart of all other cameras. Before we go any further, though, let’s end my mediocre Western melodrama and take a closer look at all of the delightful goodies that LSI has crammed inside the Lubitel box:

  • Lubitel 166+ TLR camera
  • Lubikin 35mm Conversion Set
  • Twin-Lens Lens Cap (covers both lenses at once)
  • Leather Neck Strap
  • Deluxe Cable Release
  • 6-x4.5-cm Format Mask
  • “Endless Panorama” 56-x46.5-mm Format Mask
  • One Roll ISO 400 120 Film
  • Lubitel+ Love from Waist Level Hardbound Book

That’s an incredible amount of worthwhile equipment for an affordable price. Yes, there are some very vocal critics who cry that the Lubitel price tag is woefully inflated. A recent examination of used camera prices, however, indicates otherwise:

  • Hasselblad 500C w/waist-level finder, 80mm lens, and 120 film magazine = $593 USD
  • Mamiya 645 w/waist-level finder and 80mm lens (and 120 film insert is included) = $224 USD
  • Mamiya C33 TLR w/waist-level finder and 80mm lens = $223 USD
  • Rollei 3.5 T TLR w/waist-level finder and 80mm lens = $546 USD
  • Rollei “Baby” 4×4 w/waist-level finder = $325 USD
  • Rolleicord V F3.5 Xenar w/waist-level finder = 245 USD

Each of these examples was in a heavily used “bargain” condition and sold “as-is.” Conversely, the Lubitel 166+ is a new product that includes an LSI warranty (14-day ‘no questions asked’ return policy and a inclusive 2-year ‘material defect’ product warranty). This demonstration is not meant to imply that the Lubitel is comparable to a Hasselblad, Mamiya, or Rollei vintage cameras. It’s not. These examples are merely studies of today’s “affordable” medium format film camera market for price comparisons. That’s all.

So the Lubitel 166+ bang for the buck is much more than just a sum of its packaged parts. This is a brand new medium format camera that can easily elevate your photographic expressions to an elite level.

Specifications

  • Film – 120 film and 35mm film
  • Picture Size – 6-x6-cm, 6-x4.5-cm, 24-x36-mm, 56-x46.5-mm
  • Focus Range – 0.5m – infinity
  • Shutter Speed – 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, & Bulb
  • Exposure Control – f/4.5, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, & f/22
  • Flash – none built-in; hot shoe
  • Battery – no batteries required (yeah!)
  • Lens – 75mm (~47-degree angle of view)

Before you hit the Lubitel streets, however, you might want to consider the purchase of one filter. Not just any filter, but a lens protection filter. This filter can be either a “skylight” or a “UV” filter, it doesn’t matter; you’re looking for a piece of protective glass that will remain permanently attached to your Lubitel 166+ taking lens.

An attractive alternative to these more conventional filters is one that is specially manufactured to just protect your lens and not provide any kind of light filtration. This purist’s filter is the Lens Protect Digital High Grade filter by Marumi. Although priced considerably higher than either a typical skylight or UV filter, the Marumi filter is great for protecting your taking lens and, thereby, enabling you to leave the lens cap off your camera.

Want to shoot from the hip? No problem and, more importantly, no lens cap to worry about. In fact, after you protect your taking lens, you can safely leave the lens cap at home.

Yes, the Lubitel 166+ taking lens is threaded for holding a filter (for the record, the viewing lens is also threaded). The filter size for the Lubitel 166+ taking lens is 40.5mm. This oddball size is tough to find and its size contributes to the Marumi filter’s high cost. This Marumi lens protection filter (AMDSLP405) was recently for sale on Amazon.com for $27.95 USD. Likewise, a unique Marumi circular polarizing filter (AMDCPL405) was available for $43.95 USD.

Take heart loyal Lubitel lovers, filter manufacturers like Hoya, Tiffen, B+W, and Vivitar are entering the 40.5mm filter race (in part, due to the popularity of analogue-copycat digital cameras like the Fuji X10) and prices are coming down. For example, if the high-end Marumi is too rich for your blood, you can find a Hoya 40.5mm UV filter costing under $20 USD or a Tiffen version for less than $10 USD.

Therefore, no matter what your budget you can equip your Lubitel 166+ for pro-quality photography and get the shot you want, every time you want, without having to fumble with a lens cap. So Yahoo!; git goin’ and rustle yerself up a 40.5mm filter, den hit da trail for an analogue hoedown that won’t let you down. Oh brother, OK, no more grade “B” Western reviews, Yee-HA, I promise.

The Lubitel 166+ is a loving recreation of the Soviet-era classic. Based on a design that dates back over 60 years, this camera is updated with new features like the ability to shoot both 120 and 35mm film. Shoot mind-blowing images with the Lubitel 166+, available in our Online Shop.

written by themindseye

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Français & Italiano.