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