First impressions: Belair X 6-12

Credits: gauthierdumonde

The build quality sucks, but I don’t care

It really does, and knew it was going to. My Belair got a metal finish, but the interior is plastic. I know a camera is not supposed to fall but sometimes they do. I do not want to drop this camera, certainly not when it is unfolded. It looks really vulnerable. My biggest problem with the camera is the unprotected leaf shutter. When you change lenses you can easily touch the shutter by accident. Leaf shutters are vulnerable. I have a lot of cameras and never saw a shutter this unprotected. I have read a lot of reviews on many sites and nobody points this out, strange.

What they do point out is the poor quality of the viewfinders. Eeuuuh, who cares? They are only meant to give you a sense of what you are going to shoot. The viewfinder does not need to be sharp, you are not using it to focus anyway. I have a few cameras with wideangle panoramic viewfinders, they all have this problem, even the expensive ones.

The lack of a cable release is also a major concern in many reviews, especially because the Belair is able to do real nice long exposures. Just look at the way it is constructed, adding a cable release would have made the camera more expensive.

I am the guy who loves heavy cameras, so you can guess my opinion on the Belair. You are probably going to guess wrong, I like the light weight ! I really do. I am a big fan of the 6×12 format and my other cameras which shoot this format weigh about two or more kilograms. With the Belair I have a 6×12 camera in my bag without the heavy weight that normally comes with it.

I also do not agree with the commonly heard critique that the LSI sells cheap plastic for a lot of money. This is a camera for a small market, I am actually glad someone produces a camera like this in 2012.

So why did a guy with almost 100 cameras buy a Belair

Because it shoots 6×12 with a 58mm lens. Nothing more, nothing less. The other masks are in the box and will probably never get in my Belair.

It is a great camera for starting lomographers, you have lots of possibilities with two lenses and three formats, but I only need one format.

A detail: I like the small counterwindow and the winding system. It makes a great clicking sound, so it’s good for microcliks and if you respool a roll to do doubles, it’s easy to frame it on exact the same spot.

I don’t need the Russian lenses

The Russian lenses will be great, but I have for every format better cameras if I want sharp pictures. If they should make a 58mm glass lens, I would consider buying it. But they probably won’t do that. A decent 58mm lens that fills a 6×12 frame will cost a lot of money. The 58mm plastic lens is the best plastic lens ever !

Greetz Wouter, Gauthier

written by gauthierdumonde on 2012-12-14


  1. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    I got a card from the Post Office to collect a parcel tomorrow. I'm guessing it's my Jetsetter...Yippee! But damn, plastic lenses...? I must have missed that - I thought this cam had glass optics. Oh well, the results look pretty impressive, so who cares...?

  2. clickiemcpete
    clickiemcpete ·

    That's pretty much spot on. It's not a superior build quality but as you point out it's very light in weight and it's got auto exposure. Also the super wide 58mm. Just for that it's impressive. If you want really nice build quality there are other choices out there but they are different cameras entirely. I'm so busy right now that I have not had the chance to put mine through it's paces but I will after the xmas season is over.

  3. pearlgirl77
    pearlgirl77 ·

    i have problems with my belair.. i'm not in love after the first two films.. i think i must learn and try.. the next film i'll testing the 6x12 format and i hope then i fall in love *G*

  4. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    @pearlgirl77 I have seen your shots. They are not sharp and knowing you, you focussed correct. Some people say the wobbly front causes camerashake, but there is a guy on flickr who tested the 90mm lens with a focus screen and he says his belair can't focus on infinity. This is probably not a lens problem, but a folding problem: if the folding system is not precise, your focussing goes totally wrong. So I will update my bog entry: Build quality is poor and I do care. if you drop this camera and the folding mechanism gets hit: bye bye Belair

  5. pearlgirl77
    pearlgirl77 ·

    no.. the first roll is more better than the second.. :(( and when the folding mechanism is the problem by focusing.. so i can't change it right? or there are things i must look better?? hope you understand my bad english ;)