Lubitel 2 query

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by andrew_gormley, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. Is anyone there familiar with the Lubitel 2? What sort of quality are
    these cameras. Btw on the lens it appears to have the following: <br>
    T=22, F=7.5cm 1:4.5, 088333<br> Thanks <br> Andrew
  2. Lubitels are favorites of "toy" camera afficianados. Originally, they were inspired by the Voigtlander Brilliant TLR, but they have since come into their own as a cult camera. They tend to each have their individual lens character, which some would call bad while others would call unique. You can check the Toy Camera website,, for galleries that include Lubitel images. You can also check for the skinny on your particular model, as well as Roland and Caroline's page,

    Happy atmosphere!
  3. Thanks Jorn. Although the camera is not actually mine (yet). Am looking at buying one, but have just found out that the pictures of the "mint" camera offered for sale we grabbed off the net! Thanks for the links.<br>Andrew
  4. Have a look here:
    and at related pages on Bob Monaghan's site for more info than you could ever want on the Lubitels.
  5. If you can find it, I'd suggest the newer Lubitel 166U (Universal). This model has a mask that allows for 6x6cm and 6x4.5cm negatives. While focusing on all of these models are difficult at best, the bright glass viewfinder, has a small ground glass dot in the center for focusing, and f8 or f11 will give you the best results; these are good medium format starter cameras if you're curious about 120 film and want to spend less than dinner for two on a camera. You can usually find the 166U new in the box for $20-30 dollars on the 'bay. As to quality...all I can say is that you get what you pay for.
  6. Thanks for the info. Seems as though they are not of the greatest quality, and it is therefore unlikely that they were used by the Soviet Secret police as the seller claims!!<br>Andrew
  7. Having owned both the Lubitel 2 and the 166, I strongly prefer the 2. The back on the 2 is much more light proof than on the 166 and the catch is far more robust. I had to seal the 166 up with insulation tape in order to get rid of the light leaks, and this was rather tiresome. I never had this problem with the 2.
  8. Andrew:

    Not the best quality, but I did not mean to say without an image quality - that is, they create a distinctive image, though sometimes inconsistant in appearance from camera to camera. A fingerprint in other words. Some toy camera fans actually think they take too GOOD a photo to qualify as truly toy/plastic camera worthy. If the price is good, buy one. They are fun.
  9. Lubitels might well have been used by the secret police -- at least as cover props, since they, along with Holgas, were some of the cameras cheap enough to be affordable to ordinary comrades in the days of communism. In fact, a Lubitel is capable of producing pictures significantly better than a Holga, in part because it was originally designed for 6x6 negatives instead of requiring modification to produce them, and in part because it has a better lens (older Lubitels, even as late as the 166B, had glass lenses, though I can't say for certain about the 166U). It's focusable, after a fashion, and has more exposure control, as well as being less prone to light leaks. I'd put the Lubitel's image quality as generally ahead of a box camera or fixed focus bright-finder TLR, but behind nearly every "real" TLR.

    If you want to make good quality pictures on 120, a Lubitel is about as low as you can go. If you want a toy camera, the Lubitel is about the top of the heap. I almost bought one a couple years ago, then thought better of it when a trade came up for a Seagull 4B -- a much better camera, except that the Lubitel is less prone to sudden, unexplained shutter failures.

    If you want to play with a TLR cheaply, Lubitel is a viable choice; if you get one that looks good it will most likely work. If you want to play with 120 film and 6x6 format, look for a cheap folder -- the Speedex Jr. makes much nicer images than the Lubitel, even though it's fixed focus and only one non-time shutter speed (1/25), and unlike most other Speedex and Isolette models, pretty commonly has good bellows, and a Speedex Jr. shouldn't cost as much as $10 plus shipping. Plus, it'll fit in a suit coat pocket.
  10. I should like to discourage you from dropping any money on a Lubitel 2. As a conversation piece it's mildly interesting but as a picture-taking device it's a disaster. If you pay $10 or less and use it as a paperweight, OK.
    I had one briefly and got so frustrated that I only shot one roll in it. The viewfinder is a complete joke. Rather than treat it as a focussing TLR you might as well guess focus and guess framing.
  11. My Lubitel 2 was a joy :) A little soft in the corners wide open, but stopped down a bit, nice and crisp. Definitely benefitted from a lens hood. One problem : the shutter cocking lever is so close to the shutter release lever that (too often) both happen at the same time :-( ... so I cut off the release lever and used a cable release !! Never did trust the catches for the camera back, so I kept it in it's case. This would have contributed to the lack of any light leaks.
  12. I don't have any problems with light leaks or the back latch with my 166U, but I'm sure the quality control is much like the Holga, so results may vary. Personally I prefer my Agfa Speedex B2 as a better, and less expensive 6x6 entry level camera for medium format. Its collapsible lens makes it easy to carry. It has a decent range of speeds and apertures for ASA 100 film, and can be found for less than twenty bucks on the 'bay. Finally the coated Anastigmat lens yields better results. Ultimately there are so many different classic cameras available for medium format at less than $20, with decent quality that if you personally like the Lubitel get it. You can always try something else later. At those prices why not, but beware, you may soon have dozens of cameras all over your house. That's how the addiction begins...
  13. Pretty soft wide open, but decent closed down a few stops. Very light weight, easy to carry.

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