View Full Version : Recommend a TLR. Lubitel?
I have no idea why, but I suddenly woke up this morning with the urge to own a TLR. Just out of curiosity, I did a quick search to see if there were any TLRs that produced a Holga'esque quality and Lubitel TLRs came up. What do some of you think about these? I find the lo-fi, toy camera quality very appealing to it and at $30-50 a pop on eBay, I won't have to put a lot of money down to own one.
Comments or quirks about these? Anything I should look for in particular with these cameras? I will mostly be using it for street photography, so size and weight is somewhat of a factor.
I once used a Lubitel TLR. If everything works, it is can give you decentimages. In my case, each negative had from one side a dark "screw like" object shadow. I never managed to figure out why I got this dark object in each negative. I would not pay more than $15 for a Lubitel.
They're not very toy like but Rolleicords can be rather good value for money, they're compact, have good lenses and are incredably well built (nothing like metal, glass and leather), before I moved up to a 'flex I bought a nice 'cord for $70 on ebay.
For $70, I would buy a beat-up yashica mat, have it fixed up, costing a total of about $100, then put a filter in front of the taking lens covered in vasoline to get the holga look. $70 for a lubitel...?
I bought a Lubitel 166b new (and already rusting) in around 1986, when they had something of the reputation Holgas have now. It was incomparably the nastiest camera I have ever used and I would not recommend it to anyone. Unless the Lubitel badge means everything, you'd almost certainly be better off with any of the innumerable cheap TLRs from the 50s that are easily found on E-bay, usually for peanuts. Or - as Mohan and Kaiyen say - genuine classics for very little more.
Or how about an Agfa Clack? 6x9 negs, lens equivalent to 35mm on 35mm film, and gloriously unthreatening - surely the perfect toy camera for street shooting?:)
Cheers, Ian :)
There are some interesting TLR's here http://www.tanyaclark.com/cameras.htm with photo samples.
Cheap and good TLR? Try a Flexaret from Slovaquia. Cupog sells them CLAD (and cheap) in that well known market (for example item 120146763019).
I have 2 Lubitel-2s They produce half decent photos but it's nothing like a Holga. The suggested Clack isn't much like a Holga either. The lens is too good (not great, mind you, but better than the plastic lens in a Holga).
For $70 you can get much nicer TLRs. I got my Yashica A for 25 euro and it's lens is really nice.
If you want Holga, why not get a Holga? Or, if you want to pay a high price, a Lensbaby (version 1 is the cheapest, around $100 or so).
It's good to go silly :) but no need to throw away common sense. :p
I had a lubitel once. Gave some very nice, sharp images before it fell apart in my hands one day. Was not in the end really worth the $35. Since then I found a beater but working Rolleicord with a Xenar lens for $50. Worked great. I sold it when I got a Rolleiflex later but always regreted it. About a month ago someone on the Rollei forum had about 8 Rolleicords he was selling for $50 each. I grabbed one. It's one with a Tritotar lens but is one of the early rarer ones and works great and the results quite nice.
I'd suggest you have patience and either wait for a Rolleicord to come up on eBay or here in the Classifieds, or perhaps a Yashicamat or Minolta Autocord. You'll find one of those for under $70, perhaps cheaper, within a few weeks or so. If you buy a Lubitel (or a Seagull, another to stay away from---take it from a guy who's owned a few and dust-bined just as many) you'll end up buying one of the latter ones later anyway, you'll just be out an additional $35-50 as well.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Up until about 3 hours ago, I had never heard of a Lubitel which is why I brought it up. I appreciate all the feedback and alternative suggestions.
I guess what I'm really looking for is something that's light and easy to handle. A TLR is ideal because of the waist level finder, so while the suggestion of the Agfa Clack and Holga (which I already have 2 of) are appreciate, they don't fit what I'm looking for. I guess I'm really just looking for a TLR under $100 that's comfortable to handle while I'm out shooting.
@Allan: Your suggestion of a vasoline filter is great! I had completely forgotten to try something like that!
@iņaki: Thanks for suggesting the Flexaret! I'll research it a bit more...
@rich815: I guess I'd be dreaming if there were still any of those $50 TLRs left, huh?
@rich815: I guess I'd be dreaming if there were still any of those $50 TLRs left, huh?
Don't know. The Triotar-lens Rolleicords are not in great demand by collectors, he may have some left. I just emailed you his email address. Email and ask him.
Thanks Richard, got the email :)
My Lubitel is a fun little camera but it has an unfortunate tendency to scratch the film. I got a good deal on mine but anything over $30 sounds a little high given the spotty build quality.
I also have a Seagull which has been a wonderful shooter for me. From what I've seen on the Internet about Seagull cameras, I think I got really lucky. Don't worry too much about the weight or size; most TLRs are pretty compactly built and fairly easy to handle.
I'd spend a little more money and get a used Yashica or Rollei TLR as suggested above.
Hi, I bought a Lubitel 25 years ago, it gave me some cracking images, worked perfectly, never scratched the film, I sold it on ebay for a lot more than I paid for it, but I may have been lucky, the lens was OK as long as you didnt use it wide open F8 onwards cracking! but I would really go for something more substatially built, have a look at the Chinese Seagulls, (as long as they dont c*** on you) they have a reasonable reutation.
le vrai rdu
I bought a lubitel 166 2 month ago, everything is fine but focusing between f4.5 and F8 is a bit hard. Got some picture with my lubitel in my web site ;)
I looked my scan and as far as I can say the lens is fairly sharp
I bought it 30€
top left corner (http://www.cyrillerabiller.net/HFR/bord.jpg)
near the center (http://www.cyrillerabiller.net/HFR/centre.jpg)
film: kodak portra 160 NC
I have a Yashicamat 124G, which I think I paid around $150 or so for. You can also check out the Seagull models from China, they are around $200 for a new one.
Sienarot, check this thread for sample images from a Flexaret TLR.
Im hunting TLR's aswell. I could get a Lubitel from a local market, but i dont want one of those. Minolta Autocord is what floats my boat, though I've been looking at Yashicas aswell on ebay.
The Lubitel is a descendant of the Voigtlander Brillaint from the 1930's ( a mediocre design) and the 166 variety in my experience are as nasty as Jocko says. I have one I bought new in the 1980s for a college project and it leaks light horribly.
However, I also have Lubitel 2 which is an older model and much better made and also more aesthetically pleasing. Results are not what you would expect from a Japanese or German TLR camera but have their own look that I like a lot.
I got one a few years ago on a whim, horrible nasty thing it is, and has this weird problem where sometimes the iris sticks so I can only use f22-f11 or if it sticks on the other side, f4.5 to f8.
I've not really got on with TLRs, but I do like this picture taken last year with the Lubitel, of Worthing Pier.
If "under $50" is the criterion, hunting for a Yashica might take a while. The most serious contender to the Lubitel is definitely the Flexaret. The old Flexarets have a Triotar-type lens (Mirar 80/4.5) that has a beautiful, if not super-sharp rendering; on eBay Germany they regularly sell between 25 and 50 EUR. I have a friend who used to use an oldish Flexaret almost exclusively for 6x6 (well, later he also used a Kiev 88 with a 65/3.5 lens) and who produces some outstanding images (http://samuli-schielke.de/foto.htm) with it. The camera is quirky, but it's definitely worth it.
Cheap and still good quality, take a Rolleicord IV or V or one of the best Flexarets. In the past I have taken pictures with both and they give sharp images. Once the Ikoflexes (Zeiss Ikon) were are cheap, but nowadays pricy because they are more and more collected
... The old Flexarets have a Triotar-type lens (Mirar 80/4.5) that has a beautiful, if not super-sharp rendering; on eBay Germany they regularly sell between 25 and 50 EUR. I have a friend who used to use an oldish Flexaret almost exclusively for 6x6 (well, later he also used a Kiev 88 with a 65/3.5 lens) and who produces some outstanding images (http://samuli-schielke.de/foto.htm) with it. The camera is quirky, but it's definitely worth it.
I have a Flexaret III (1948-?), but it doesn't have the Mirar lens but the Belar 80/3.5. And obviously the shutter mechanism has been changed also to accommodate for the maximum aperture of f3.5. It'd be nice to do comparisons between the two. Anyone up to it?
I've got a Lubitel 166U and also used to have a Seagull TLR.
A few samples using the Lubitel: http://www.pbase.com/niblue/lubitel_166u
A few with the Seagull: http://www.pbase.com/niblue/seagull_tlr
The Lubitel is useable but prone to light leaks and has a nasty viewfinder. The Seagull is much better and the lens is pretty sharp though uncoated.
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