This camera from the last days of the soviet era is the “poor man’s TLR” (or so I’ve heard) It was made from 1983 to 1996 in LOMO in St Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad).
I found this camera in a flea market in Mexico City that I like very much. There’s a man there that sells only cameras, the first time I saw his stand (between a telephone and an antiques stand) I was blown away by this camera and bought it right away for a pretty good price in my opinion.
This camera was made in the Soviet Union (later the Russian federation) from 1983-1996 (ish) and was the successor of the Lubitel 1, 2 & 166, and it was targeted to amateur photographers (Lubitel means amateur).
The Lubitel 166 Universal (that’s what the “U” stands for) can take 12 6×6 cm or 16 4.5×6 cm pictures in a 120 roll of film and it has a pretty cool mechanism on the back with two windows and a knob to see what photo you’re in (unfortunately mine didn’t have the 4.5×6 mask when I bought it and I didn’t bother to do one since I really like square format); also you can stick a 35mm roll into the camera to get sprocketed “panoramic” shots (Holga style) and tape the little red window on the back, later you just have to take the roll out in the dark.
It has a mechanical self timer, six shutter speeds (1/250, 1/125,1/60, 1/30, 1/15 & bulb) and six apertures (4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 & 22), it also has a cable release and tripod thread and it can use a flash (although I haven’t tried that yet) so it can be used night or day. You have to cock the shutter every time and remember to wind the film (unless you want to double expose which can be done easily).
The viewfinder is quite nice but it’s kind of hard to focus even withe the tiny magnifying glass that pops up (I think mine is a bit off focus anyway); you can push down the front part of the viewfinder (where it says LOMO) to use it as a “normal” viewfinder if you don’t have enough space to shoot from the hip (or the chest or the stomach) but it’s not that accurate.
I’d recommend you to tape the heck out of the back (well maybe not the heck out of it but do tape it a bit) so that it doesn’t open (it happened to me twice) and set the film speed in the little wheel on the side of the camera.
Overall this is a pretty cool camera, I really like the results and I just love the engines in the lenses and the fact that the lens reads “MADE IN USSR” and since almost nobody knows nowadays what a TLR is everyone is intrigued and surprised about it.