Belomo Vilia


Meet the BeLomo Vilia, a cheap, sweet looking camera with a surprisingly good lens.

The Vilia is a camera very similar to the Russian Smenas, but it was built in Belarus and it’s actually an individual design. It looks somewhat bulky and it’s certainly not the most compact or light weight camera out there, but still I find that it holds a charm of its own.

They must have made quite a few of these cameras because they’re still readily available – for little money! In my case shipping was more expensive than the actual camera.

The Vilia takes regular 35mm film. It’s equipped with a hot shoe for flash use. Unfortunately shutter cocking and film advance are coupled, so it doesn’t allow for multiple exposures. However with this tipster multiple exposures are possible.

Credits: cornborn

Let’s now have a look at the camera’s heart – its lens. The Vilia uses a Triplet 4/40mm lens, and this lens is much better than expected. Actually, I’m surprised that such a crappy looking camera would come with such a nice lens. At 40mm it isn’t particularly wide and I find myself using the viewfinder more frequently than with my other cameras. Even at F4 the Triplet shows almost no vignetting and it’s exceedingly sharp. This only gets better as you stop down! So if you’re into dark corners and mysteriously blurred images, the Vilia is probably not the camera for you

Credits: cornborn

Choose a shutter speed of 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, or 1/250, and an aperture of F4, F5.6, F8, F11, or F16, and you’re good for almost any lighting situation. Aditionally, the Vilia offers a ‘B’ bulb setting for those looooong exposures.

Credits: cornborn

There’s one more thing I’d like to mention: the viewfinder. As you look through, you’ll notice a series of weather symbols at the bottom. Each weather symbol stands for an aperture value and as you set your aperture, a white dot underneath the weather symbols indicates where you’re at accordingly. So if you set the aperture at F16, the dot will appear underneath the “very sunny” symbol in the viewfinder. This is not only cute, but actually quite handy in practical use.

So overall the BeLomo Vilia is a very capable camera at a very low price, and a true alternative to a Smena.

written by cornborn on 2011-04-16 #gear #review #user-review #vintage-russian-camera-belarus-vilia-smena-35mm-film


  1. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    not bad! very nice pictures!

  2. acaprahman
    acaprahman ·

    super nice!

  3. romullolima
    romullolima ·

    nice. i want this!

  4. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    Nice job!

  5. ra
    ra ·

    Vilia is really good machine=) and i feel pride that its popular in other counties! easy to use, unusually sees, through the lens, amenable to experimentation!

  6. kvboyle
    kvboyle ·

    Lovely pictures and an interesting review - thansk!!

  7. maelstrom
    maelstrom ·

    Great review!

  8. lakandula
    lakandula ·

    Awesome shots. Very informative review.

  9. nadinadu
    nadinadu ·

    wow! those are some really nice shots!

  10. koalasve
    koalasve ·

    the symbols in the viewfinder are adorable...If I'll have some money to spend, this could be an option! thanks for the review!!!!

  11. holydarkyfied
    holydarkyfied ·

    nice camera :D I seriously like the design

  12. paramir
    paramir ·

    great shots!

  13. chroniczny
    chroniczny ·

    Everything in this article is TRUE! Vilia gave me more than I expected looking at it! I totally recommend this camera. Try and enjoy!

  14. vandal
    vandal ·

    ia have the Vilia Auto and it's really cool...too bad you can't shoot in B mode

  15. gatokinetik-o
    gatokinetik-o ·

    I love the vilia. It's almost my favourite 35mm camera!!

  16. bernardocople
    bernardocople ·

    Yeah, I got my hands in one recently, but haven't use it yet.

  17. so_r3tro
    so_r3tro ·


  18. hanke
    hanke ·

    lovely pictures! I am curious how colors would turn out though...

  19. rio
    rio ·

    very nice pictures

  20. cornborn
    cornborn ·

    Thank you everyone for the amazing feedback!
    @hanke I added some pictures with cross processed slide film, I know this doesn't represent what a regular color negative film would give you, but maybe it helps:

  21. trw
    trw ·

    Great article and very informative. I had never heard of this camera before, but now I think I need one!

  22. martin-hantabal
    martin-hantabal ·

    hi, does anybody know what is for strange dial with symbols "sun, black/white, semi bulb,..." on the back of the top plate of the camera? unfortunately I have no user manual to check it, thank you for advice.

  23. martin-hantabal
    martin-hantabal ·

    Does anybody know what is the upper dial with strange symbols used for (that is VILIA, the original one)? The lower dial is to remember what film is used, I think, but the upper one is a mystery for me.…

  24. vovka1981
    vovka1981 ·

    Dear martin-hantabal this syblos are to set the type of film you've loaded to camera, b/w, color, for natural light or artificial as far as iso type in circle lower :)

  25. naderghanja
    naderghanja ·

    belomo vilia was my first camera, i love it!!

  26. svartur
    svartur ·

    I bought Vilia just one hour ago. Im from Slovakia (central Europe), so Im lucky man because we were part of USSR long years ago. Here it is very easy and cheap to get almost any old camera. I paid about 7€ for this camera. And you can get here Flexaret, Praktica, Zenit, Smena, Čajka... for under 30€ in perfect condition. Enjoy

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