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Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything Part 1

The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact and is capable of shooting photos in 3 different sizes: 6x12, 6x9 and 6x6. Equipped with high-quality interchangeable lenses and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots with every roll. It can also take 3 different film formats: 120 film, 35mm and instant film. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.

The short description that I have given above is enough to explain why the Belair is one of the most complete and versatile cameras around. Perhaps it is also one of the most appreciated cameras by Lomographers.

The Lomography Belair X 6-12 can be bought in 4 different models – the City Slicker , the Jetsetter, the Trailblazer (limited edition) and the Globetrotter (also a limited edition camera).

Unlike the City Slicker, Jetsetter ,the Trailblazer and the Globetrotter all have the outer aluminum coating and a leather strip decoration. The bellows of the Belair adds to its retro look.

I spoke of compactness earlier, and as a matter of fact, the camera fits easily in any backpack. To do this, there is a need to close the bellows (operated by a button placed under the camera body).

Once the bellows are closed, you can insert the two LR44 batteries into the slot, to power the light meter of the camera. The Belair’s automatic exposure system lets you shoot perfectly exposed shots given the right conditions and film settings.

After the batteries are inserted, we can pick which lens we wish to mount. We can choose four types of lenses. The Belair comes with a 58mm and a 90mm lens, while the other two can be purchased separately – 90mm glass lens and a 114mm all with their respective viewfinders.

The lenses have a focus ranging from 1m to 1.5m and 3m to infinity. We can choose an aperture and focal length that varies between f/8 and f/16.

To mount the optics, all you need to do is align the white dot on the lens with the black dot of the camera body and turn it clockwise until it locks the lens in place. Once you have selected and assembled the desired lens, remember to also attach the respective viewfinder so you get the best overview of what we you are framing.

Now we’re almost ready to shoot with the Belair but we still have to make one last adjustment and that is to select the format we want to use. We can choose three different photo formats thanks to the three masks included in the package: 6×6, 6×9 and 6×12. It’s too bad that the format can not be changed during shooting.

Now we can load the 120 film and open our small window counter to check the progress of the film. For example if you’re shooting with the 6×12 mask, you must click on the numbers this way: 2-4-6-8-10-12 6 to get photos that are 12cm in length.

To properly frame shots, we need to use the viewfinder to estimate which parts of our subject can be captured on film. Depending on the format, we have to take into account the portion that is impressed with the help of the mask.

If we use the 6×6 mask we have to consider the 4 marks at the center.
If we use the 6×6 mask we have to consider the 4 marks in the middle.
If we use the 6×12 mask we have to consider the image seen in the whole viewfinder.

This way, we compose our shot in all formats.

Below you can see some sample photos taken with the various masks:

Belair X 6-12 and 6×6 mask

Belair X 6-12 and 6×9 mask

Belair X 6-12 and 6×12 mask

With the Belair X 6-12 is possible to obtain panoramic images in all situations.

In addition to that, it is possible to obtain excellent double exposures easily and quickly thanks to the switch which immediately resets the shutter without having to advance the film.

Lastly, setting the ISO wheel to B or bulb mode can also accommodate long exposures. In this case, I recommend that you use a good tripod and stand still the whole time of the exposure. You also need to keep your finger on the switch trigger to keep the shutter open.

written by simonesavo and translated by simonesavo

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