Lubitel, Kiev ... :-o

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kr236rk, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. kr236rk

    kr236rk Member

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    Hi,

    A sometimes enthusiast for 120 film. I have a veteran Kiev 60 which has gorgeous lenses except for the default 80mm which had fungus and is consequently history - I miss that lens, hard to find a decent replacement.

    Recently I bought a second hand Lubitel 166 Universal - I bought it for indoor 'candid camera' shots with 3200 film, since you can use the waist viewer to frame public gatherings without eye-to-eye scenarios if you don't want that, and without a flash in some light conditions. But first I tried some outdoor shots with FP4 to get used to the camera. I am really impressed, it's not easy focusing with the Lubitel if you wear varifocals as I do, but it's obviously possible to do so.

    sthampton1bampw_zpse345e901.jpg

    sthampton2_bampw_zpsb4f41d8a.jpg

    Of course a hand-held light meter is de rigueur but I like that - otherwise I would never have learned how to use one! :wink:

    Thanks,

    Ric
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    This was my very first medium format camera back in the early 90's. Got it new for $35. It's lens was an excellent performer though the build quality was awful and eventually the front focusing mechanism literally screwed right off as I was focusing for a shot. Could never get it back into proper alignment after that so I trashed it.
     
  3. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    I have always wanted one of these. I have a strong affection for TLRs and yet strangely have never owned one despite the fact that it seems to be beloved by a great many photographers and isn't exactly expensive to purchase.

    One of these days I'll have to pick one up.
     
  4. kr236rk

    kr236rk Member

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    Thanks: am delighted with the results so far - was sure I'd mess up on the focus but its ok. There is something magical about using a waist viewer, I hope it doesn't wear off too quickly. For the Kiev I am limited to a 120mm lens or a wide angle, since I no longer have the 80mm option, so I relied on the wide angle option for up-close subjects. The Kiev is a lovely camera but again you need an independent light meter.

    chrstchurchroad_zps8cbab446.jpg

    pokesdownshopwindow_zps78ce09b7.jpg

    R
     
  5. rbeech

    rbeech Member

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    This was my first medium format camera as well. Think I paid $45 for it new from Freestyle. Tricky to focus but always took great images.
     
  6. kr236rk

    kr236rk Member

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    Thanks guys :smile: Am looking forward to taking the Lubitel out for a 3200 shoot. 120 negatives are a wow, so detailed! I dream about a view camera one of these days but the Lubitel and Kiev are great [thumbs up!]

    Ric
     
  7. Noble

    Noble Member

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    My advice is to ditch the Lubitel and get a proper medium format camera. Bronica ETRSIs with speed grips and prism finders can be had for less than $300. You will be far more productive and have far more keepers. I am not sure what people saw when looking at prints of their Lubitel 166 Universal negatives but for me it was so low resolution I was better off just shooting 35mm fine grain film. For me photography is about images. Taking extraneous extra steps to get the images gets in the way of the experience. And there is no way I am going to go through the expense and PIA of a Lubitel 166 just to get less grain than 35mm film. I soup TMAX 100 in XTOL so you know I'm not a big fan of grain, but less grain is not the only goal in photography. It is only one factor in a constellation of factors.
     
  8. kr236rk

    kr236rk Member

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    Thanks Noble; indeed that is so. The Lubitel is for a specific project which may not work out in the end. But if it does I could well be looking to upgrade :wink:

    Bests!

    Ric
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    You had a bad one. I worked at a pro lab when I had mine. Many of the photo techs were blown away by the quality I was getting from my Lubitel.
     
  10. kr236rk

    kr236rk Member

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    <3 the Lubitel, it is feather light compared to my analogue SLRs, compact, and takes groovy pictures :smile:
     
  11. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    I would stay away from the Lubitel as there are many other cheap alternatives these days unless bad ergonomy and poor quality is what you are looking for.

    Take care.
     
  12. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    OP, keep the way you already have on the other side of the room.
     
  13. Noble

    Noble Member

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    No problem. I just saw someone's review of the Lubitel 166 Universal on the internet and bought one based on the positive things that were said and the screen size images. I can see someone using it for a special project but as an every day shooter I thought there should have been an evaluation with a comparison to other widely available cameras.

    That may be so. I only bought one Lubitel 166 before giving up. My problem with the camera is in all the years I've researched the camera people who like it just say it's "sharp." They never say compared to what. Well I read one person who ranked it slightly lower than a Hasselblad Zeiss and above a Contax lens. Allegedly that guy's Lubitel was even sharper than Bronica lenses if I read his rather lengthy post correctly. I've shot Lubitel and I've shot Bronica ETRS. The Lubitel was not even in the same ballpark. Like I said though I only used one copy of each. I usually don't get into this lens is sharper than this lens debates for the simple reason that once you reach a certain level of sharpness like the better Rollei/Hasselblad and Mamyia lenses other camera/system considerations are what differentiate. But my Lubitel 166 was so inferior to every Canon (including FD), Nikon, Rollei Zeiss, Bronica PE, etc lens I have ever used it really did warrant being mentioned.

    Oh, and the guy that said the Lubitel 2 was slightly less sharp than the Hasselblad also claimed Rollei SLR lenses are sharper than Hasselblad lenses... Not sure if the guy realized several of the Zeiss lenses are the exact same design in both mounts. He did mention "better dampening" with the Rolleis but one can only assume he was unaware of MLU... assuming "dampening" was even an issue with the Hasselblad. Anyway the whole thing was quite dubious.
     
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  15. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    The usual internet BS... Why buying a Planar when a triplet can do the job??? A Lubitel can take decent pictures as long as the lens was correctly assembled and adjusted to the body (optional). But you have to deal with one of the worst viewfinder I never see, a less than average film flatness, a half-decent lens coating and a low grade overall reliability. And don't even think about using 220 film, you still have the red window for film advance.

    As long as you know what you are buying, it is OK. After all, eveyone has different expectations in life, but a Lubitel "slightly" lower than a Planar, really? this is total BS. But you already knows that as you noticed that your ETRS lenses were better than a russian T-22 lens which is just plain logical.

    Take care.
     
  16. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    My Lubitel was also my first MF camera and it was FREE! Not bad at f16 and below. Picky about the backing paper quality.
     
  17. edp

    edp Member

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    I have a Sputnik, which is effectively two Lubitels joined together, and it looks and feels exactly like what it is: a clunky, poorly-designed (it's shiny on the inside!), badly put together, hard to use chunk of bakelite that came out of a Russian tractor factory sixty years ago.

    It's the only camera I really enjoy using.
     
  18. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Fun? But does the Sputnik impress people? :smile:
     
  19. vfalendysh

    vfalendysh Member

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    During last few years I got one simple but very true thing - in photography result directly depends on photographer's skills, experience and creativity, and only a little bit on equipment used. Yes, Lubitel (mean "amateur" in russian) is simple and low quality camera. Of couse "better" TLRs are more easy to handle, have more features and better build quality etc. But if you know and understand what you are doing Lubitel may give you very good results.

    Here are two links to galleries with pictures from 2 very first 120 rolls I did in my life - Gallery 1 - (click here) and Gallery 2 - (click here). I understand that they aren't that great from "artistic" point of view, but from "technique" side I do not see any issues there. They are good enough medium format pictures so the most people will never ever guess that pics were taken with Lubilel if they will not be told so.

    Is Libitel my favorite TLR - no, not at all. But I will definitely spent another $30 to buy one more of those on *bay in like new condition to have a fun shutting it once a year. They have great value for $$ and very good ones to start and learn medium format with low $$.

    Vic
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2013
  20. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    Of course it is possible to get pictures from a Lubitel, after all it is supposed to be a camera. And to paraphrase you, if you know and understand what you are doing, any camera may give you very good results. My question is: why limit yourself with a low quality camera? There is plenty of used TLR to buy for a reasonable cost (Yash A, some 'Cord and Ikoflex, Ricohflex, etc...) which IMO offer much more and are more user friendly.

    I won't comment about your picture (even if I see some vignetting and uneven zones coming maybe from flare or light leak - BTW your first link does not work) as small picture from the internet is not a valid way to assess their technical value. Come with 16in x 16in prints and I am pretty you will change your mind.

    Don't get me wrong: I enjoy using some Soviet cameras (FED and Zorki 1, FED 3) because they can be the equivalent of western cameras. Sorry but the Lubitel is not in the same league.

    Take care.
     
  21. vfalendysh

    vfalendysh Member

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    You missing my point here. As most people who use TLR or any other film camera modern times, they doing it for fun and joy only. There are no that many pros left who constantly use film. I like Lubitel not because of results (I have over 20 tlrs including 5 yashicas, 2 mamiyas with 65mm, 80mm, 105mm, 135mm and gorgeous 180mm "Super" lenses, few zeises, ricohs, rolleicords, and even rare mamiyaflex with olympus lenses, plus few other ones) but once a while I'm going back to Lubitel just because I like. I'm just enjoying process with lubitel which forces me to be more careful and think more, and I'm surprised every time when I see results from this plastic camera. And I never had feeling that I'm limiting myself.

    As I said - there nothing that much to talk about my sample pictures. They aren't perfect and I know it. They were my first tests I took with lubitel that I assembled from 3 donor cameras that I got as a gift and first medium format I ever did...

    Going back to the topic of this thread - guy made some pictures with lubitel and he enjoyed his results (whose I like too, btw). Why should we tell him that camera he used is not perfect?
     
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  22. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    You are right, there is nothing to discuss about. My apologies.
     
  23. momus

    momus Member

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    I've never seen a Lubitel, much less used one. If it's like the Russian cameras I've owned, and there have been plenty, it is probably cheaply made, poorly manufactured, but has a killer lens. That alone should be worth the tiny price they go for. Weren't they modeled on the old Voigtlander Focusing Brillants? I have one of those. The camera, while mostly bakelite, is a Voigtlander, so it's well made. The focus "patch" stinks. Mine has a Heliar lens though, and the negs from it look better than the ones from the Rolleiflex w/ Planer I once owned, so I put up w/ the focus patch. I've replaced the mirror on mine, and see no reason why a regular focus screen couldn't be put in there, so that should be possible on the Lubitels as well. One could make a case for getting a Brillant TLR, focusing model or not, w/ a Skopar or Heliar lens and be done w/ the whole image quality question, but I still would like to try a Lubitel some day. The Novar and Triotar are 3 element lenses too, and mine are superb stopped down a bit.
     
  24. edp

    edp Member

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    Ha.
     
  25. momus

    momus Member

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    This is such a weird forum. People seem fixated at picking apart comments, rather than focusing (I like how that fit in. Feel free to pick on it) on the topic at hand. It's like people are lurking to pounce on the least little thing. Not a fun site at all. But then, I had thought it was a photography site, not an opinion site. My mistake.
     
  26. Noble

    Noble Member

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    momus, you said you never used the camera and then through some convoluted logic declared that is must have a "killer lens." I actually went out and purchased the camera and you still contradicted me. I chose to ignore it not because I want this to be a "fun" place but because it was such an absurd situation. Don't think just because people are silent what you said makes any sense. Internet forums are a place where people exchange information. "Fun" is something you do on a play ground. I don't think we should sacrifice the integrity of the information just to make the place "fun."