Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
Like with most Russian optics, I found that you have to spend a lot more to rival the qualityof the glass (at least in the two I have had, one that I still do).
Its simple to use and impossible to break unless you drop it on concrete amd/or kick it with a steel-toe boot.

While I knew that my TLR experience, consisting solely of a Lubitel at this point, would not meet the rarified standards of the people who sneer at things that don't say Haselblad, Leica or Rollei on them - I think the little camera deserves better than it gets (and yes, I may have sentiment on my side - I got my first one when I was 10!).
Believe it or not, I agree with you totally. The Lubitel lens is not at all bad and you can take good pictures with a Lubitel if you know what you are doing and are willing to put the work in which is necessary to overcome its design faults (which mainly affect the viewfinder).

BUT - for the kind of candid/off-the-wall pictures you are talking about, it is handy if you have a larger (f3.5) lens which you can focus accurately at full aperture and a shutter which is also accurate and has speeds down to a full second. Considering that in the UK a late-model Rolleicord or an early Mamiya can be had for 100 or less, a Lubitel for me personally is just too much work. I have owned many TLRs, including Mamiyas (C3, C330f, C330s) and several Rolleiflex Ts, probably my all-time favorite. I now have just a Rolleicord Va which I take out now and again, although the passage of the years has dimmed its viewfinder mirror a little and also not improved its owner's eyesight! I never sneer at anyone's choice of equipment and recognize that a minimalist approach (e.g. LOMO, etc.) can be refreshing. What I am saying, however, is that I think a BEGINNER whose first TLR was a Lubitel would be needlessly confused and discouraged.