LOMO Lubitel 2

posted in: Camera Gear, Film Photography, TLR | 13

I’ve been really looking forward to shooting with the Lubitel 2 – my dad kindly gave me it; it was his first camera when he bought it back in the 1960s.

Lomo Lubitel 2

Here’s a snap of my dad giving me the camera (taken with a FED5 and Industar 61 L/D lens on Kodak TMAX400):

It’s the second TLR camera I have (I’ve also got the beautiful Yashica Mat) and it’s the cheaper and more basic of the two. The composing and focusing is a bit tricky, especially when shooting kids. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but the results really impressed me. It’s a wonderful little camera, I love it! Even more so because it was my dad’s.

Some of the specs:

  • LOMO T-22 75mm f/4.5 taking lens
  • Shutter speeds: 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, Bulb
  • Apertures: f/4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22
  • 120 Film
  • Film advance knob, which doesn’t cock the shutter. Advancing is manual; you have to watch the frame numbers on the paper backing through the red window
  • Focus via a small ground glass spot in the middle of a bright viewfinder, a small loupe helps with the focusing (a little)

I loaded the film with a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 120 rollfilm and here are all 12 frames (including the duff ones):

01/12 – The first frame was shot using light from our front door (after opening it!)

02/12 – Abi on our door step with Josh still sitting inside after shooting the first frame:

03/12 – Unfortunately Josh threw his head back right as I pressed the shutter button…

04/12 – Abi again

05/12 – Abi doing her usual pose when asked to smile:

06/12 – Jodie in our garden

07/12 – Jodie again:

08/12 – An out of focus Lynsey! Drinking tea…

09/12 – Abi with her toys:

10/12 – Josh looking a little surprised:

11/12 – Lisa, Abi, Josh and Jodie

12/12 – I was busy messing around with the focus and I accidentally set off the shutter – it’s very sensitive! Oops!

13 Responses

  1. Iain Kendall

    What a good post and I’m quite impressed how good the Lubitel is as it is associated with the lomo movement now. I really like “Jodie in our Garden” and “Josh looking a little surprised”. Nice!

    • James

      Thanks Iain! Yes, the Lubitel is tricky to use compared to the Yashica Mat (especially focusing) but the results are really great as you can see. The Lubitel is often wrongly labelled a ‘toy camera’ by the casual observer because it’s made of plastic (though the lens is glass), but it’s anything but a toy camera!

  2. Stephen

    Superb shots, sir. I have a Lubitel 2 still waiting to be used, sitting on top of my camera drawers. Time for a dust-down and some snapping!

    • James

      Thanks Stephen! You definitely should give the Lubitel 2 a try – I really wasn’t expecting such good results. It’s certainly a challenge to operate; focussing is hard (especially with a toddler running around), composing is tricky and even advancing the film was hard because the red window is so dim; it’s hard to see the backing paper through it! Lots of fun regardless, and a good sense of achievement when you get good results! 🙂

  3. George

    Thank you for your excellent images ! Lubitel 2 is almost a 99% copy of the Voigtlander Brillant, but who cares? Most people think: “Ah, Russian, plastic, toy, lomo = rubbish!” But I believe that they will never say anything like that about the Voigtlander Brillant. That is why I am glad that I am able to buy an almost NOS Lubitel 2 (made in URSS) and pay only 10 pounds… even if I already have a Brilliant with metal body, Skopar lens and multiple shutter speeds (B. T, up to 1/300- it’s a Compur shutter.

    • James

      Hi George, many thanks for the kind comments, I appreciate your thoughts and I’m glad you enjoyed the posts! I was really impressed with the Lubitel 2 – it is so far from being a toy camera. It’s impressive how good it is considering it was cheap to buy at the time.

  4. Nassia Kapa

    This post is really helpful! Focus is indeed the most tricky part, not to mention the full manual settings! Just bought my first medium format camera, Lubitel 2 that is of course!

    thanks for sharing! Have a fantastic New Year!

    • James

      Hi Nassia, thanks your comment. I’m glad my post was helpful to you, thanks for the feedback! I wish you luck with your Lubitel 2, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy New Year to you too. 🙂

  5. Christian

    Wow. Great pics. I am trying to make film work and I’ve found that I usually get good pics with the Lubitel2 compared to more “advanced” medium format cams. What f stops were you using in most of these? 4? 5.6? I’m trying to learn more about how to compose a photo but where I live it’s impossible to learn or take a course. Cheers, and thanks for the inspiration. C

    • James

      Thank you Christian! Great to hear you’re using the Lubitel2 too and that you’re making good pictures with it. Fortunately I made a note of my settings for all of these, in fact the EXIF data is available embedded in the pictures above. Here are the exposures (ISO 400):

      1) f/8, 1/100
      2) f/11, 1/200
      3) f/8, 1/50
      4) f/16, 1/100
      5) f/11, 1/100
      6) f/11, 1/200
      7) f/11, 1/200
      8) f/4.5, 1/25
      9) f/5.6, 1/100
      10) f/4.5, 1/50
      11) f/4.5, 1/50
      12) f/4.5, 1/50

      Hope this helps!

  6. Trent

    Hi James,

    Thanks for sharing these fantastic photos! I just purchased a Lubitel 166B off of eBay and have been googling all there is to know about the camera (stumbled upon your site as a result). I was wondering how you manage to focus the Lubitel on an off-center subject–meaning, if I want the focus on a subject that is not centered, how do I go about doing that? Any tips would be appreciated!

    Also, how did you scan the sprockets? I didn’t know you could do that with 120 mm film.


    • James

      Hi Trent,
      Many thanks for leaving a comment and for the kind words! Congrats on your purchase of the Lubitel 166B, I hope you have loads of fun with it and make many great photographs. To focus an off-centred subject you should use the “focus and recompose” technique; you focus with the subject at the centre of the frame and then move the camera to compose the frame you want to capture being careful not to change the distance between the camera and the subject. If you’re not too close to your subject then any change in distance shouldn’t have a big effect.

      120 film doesn’t have sprockets, the edge of the film is straight with just the manufacturers markings. The sprockets you see on my blog is part of the theme (not the photographs).

      Hope this helps – good luck!

  7. John Taylor

    Hi, used a Lubitel 2 back in the 1960’s. Now at 83/have just acquired another one but it is missing the ‘Lubitel 2’ plate from the front and a take-up spool If anyone can help I would be obliged. eBay does not have a wanted column cheers

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