A much cheaper version of the Lubitel 166+ and in my opinion, just as good. A TLR which I feel is very underrated in the Lomography community and in the whole photography community. It has a nice bright waist level finder, sharp T-22 75mm f./4.5 lens, and very easy to use fully manual controls.
I have a huge interest in Soviet cameras, not only because of the very intriguing stories behind them, but because they offer great cameras for very low prices, I was missing a TLR in my collection so I set off looking for a Lubitel. Though I had very little success finding one for a good price, I also came across the Lomo Lubitel 166+ in the Lomography shop but I’m not spending that much when I could get a professional TLR or medium format SLR for the same price (£289.00).
A few months passed, whilst I was visiting my girlfriend’s grandmother as we do everytime we go, we visit a small camera shop near where she lives. It is my favourite shop in the world and I could spend hours in there looking at the marvellous cameras they sell (mainly film), on this occasion I was looking for a Kiev lens but they didnt have any. In the glass cabinet was a TLR, I instantly recognised it, a Lubitel 2 complete with a strap and lens cap. I asked the woman if i could have a look at it, the delightful elderly woman was coincidently Russian and the wife of the shop owner. She clearly knew a lot about cameras and she took interest in my Kiev 4, she said the Lubitel 2 was in fantastic condition. I agreed it looked unused. I check the little price tag, £35 it read, a good price for the lovely little camera in fantastic condition. I said I’d have it but I had to nip off the bank. Off I went and drew the money out. Back I went and paid, but the Russian woman had a surprise for me, the original leather Lomo case! The case, just like the camera, was like new.
The camera is completely manual, just like a camera should be. You set everything yourself and all that is located around the lens. It’s equipped with a lovely T-22 75mm f4.5 lens, which is very sharp and I feel gives images a very unique feel. As with all TLRs you have a waist level finder, the one on this camera is brilliant, it’s very bright. Once you get used to the way it works, focusing is very easy. There’s also a small magnifier to help you focus.
For me, this camera is just as good as the £289 Lomography camera. It has the exact same lens, but doesn’t focus as close. However, it is the original Russian version of the lens, which is always a good thing. The construction of the Lubitel 2 is superior to the completely plastic 166+, the 2 is bakelite (most models are) and it generally feels sturdy. The 166+ can shoot different formats, this is very good but, for 35mm I’ll just use my £5 Smena 8, the lens on the Smena and Lubitel are very similar, both triplet designs and give similar results. Also, one of the improvements of the 166+ is the hotshoe, but for me thats not an improvement as the 2 has a pc socket. And well the exposure guide on the 166+, I’ll stick with sunny 16.
Anyway here are some images taken with the Lubitel 2:
This was more of a test roll than anything, but I really like the sharpness of the lens and the detail it captures. Please note image 9 is blurry due to the fact my finger blocked the shutter cock and left the shutter open for way to long.
All in all a great camera and one I definitely suggest you look out for, makes a great substitute for the 166+, not that there’s much difference. Also, look out for the Komsomolets (lubitel predecessor), the original Lubitel, the Lubitel 166,166u,166b and also the Voigtlander brilliant series cameras, which the Lubitels are copied off.
As with all reviews this is my opinion you my have a completely different one. Thanks for reading,