{guest post} my favorite camera: lubitel 166 universal

Hi, friends. The interview series will take a short break, until everybody is coming back from their holidays. But in the meantime, I have a lovely guest today, sharing her story about her favorite camera. I know there are plenty of photographers out there who will enjoy Katie‘s insights into the world of Lubitel 166 Universal. Photos in this post are taken by Katie with her beloved Lubitel, while traveling solo around France and discovering the world of permaculture. Check out her blog soon for more stories from her travels.


Hello, it’s Katie from Je Suis Une Monstre.  Many thanks to Anca for having me on Happy Hang Around to talk about my favourite camera.  I love photography and the magical act of taking pictures, and whilst my digital camera saves me endless money and time, my all-time favourite camera has to be my Lomo Lubitel 166 Universal… here’s seven reasons why.

1. It takes film!  Remember that delicate stuff that you used to have to manhandle into your camera, only to forget about it; open the camera back exposing the film and ruin the whole lot?  Well this camera uses that stuff!  I love love LOVE the quality of film photography, and the excitement in WAITING for the film to be processed and not knowing what will turn up on film.  Plus you have the film developed and you have REAL PHOTOGRAPHS to display, rather than digital images, lost forever in the dark depths of your hard drive!

2. Medium format film.  Not only does this camera take old-school film, it takes medium format film, which means that all the negatives and prints are perfectly square.  The very best way to frame a shot if you ask me.  There are no more than 12 exposures per roll of film, making each shot more precious, forcing you to consider your photograph with more care, and capture a better picture.  I particularly like Lomography Earl Grey film for classic black and white shots, whilst the lenses on this camera make colour film POP!

3. It’s a twin-lens reflex, meaning that it has not one but TWO lenses that work together like a pair of eyes to make your photograph.  You look from the top down the view finder and see the image as the lenses see it, making it ideal for candid street photography – as no one is shy of someone who appears to be gazing at their shoes!

4. For extra elements of surprise, there is no light meter – you use your own judgement to guess the settings (and the results are usually excellent!).  To focus, you guess how many metres away your subject is, and set the top lens accordingly.

5. The Lubitel Universal 166 is a neat little rectangular cube of photographic goodness; lightweight and feels robust in your hands. Made of plastic, it often falls into the toy camera category, but it does have glass lenses, apertures and shutter speeds.  Despite all the estimations involved when taking the photographs, it’s capable of some pretty sharp results.

6. After each shot, you wind the film on manually, which allows you to double, triple, quadruple (etc) expose the film; or to wind it on halfway between shots for an endless negative with layers of images blending across each other.

7. It’s a genuine Russian Lomo camera, designed and built in the days of the Soviet Union.  Lomo cameras were originally made to lightweight cost-efficient specifications because the Soviet Union wanted ordinary Russians families to capture moments of what they thought of as the glorious Soviet Era.  It feels like I am using a geniune historical relic everytime I take a shot.

One of the best things about the Lubitel 166 Universal is that you can pick them up second hand on ebay for not so much money!  Mine cost me about £30 and arrived in fully working order.  Enjoy your photography adventures, I’d love to see your Lubitel experiments!

Thanks, Katie, for stopping by. Looking forward to many, many photos from you!

(2) Comments

  • Katie
    Jul 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks so much for having me on your wonderful site Anca, it’s a pleasure to be here. Happy snapping everyone! xxx

  • ana pina
    Aug 25, 2012 at 2:13 am

    This post looks great! I’ve being researching a bit lately about lomography, because I’m very curious to try to photograph on film (again… I mean!). This post got me even more curious, I think I’ll buy a camera to experiment soon 😀

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