My Cameras

Lubitel 2



Zenit 11 (Зенит 11)

Produced: 1981-1990
Frame size: 24×36.
Shutter: 1/30s-1/500s + B.
Weight: 930g
Original price (in year 1986) 140 rubles (equivalent to 3.50 euros today!) Source: Sovietcams.com

Zenit 11 is a great machine. I should admit my opinion is not very objective because this camera has a sentimental value to me but experts don’t hide their appreciation towards this black solidity-built camera. My family has it since 1988 and all my baby photos were shot with this beast.

Zenit 11 is a Russian SRL (Single Reflex Lens) camera produced in the period 1981-1990 by KZM BeLomo in St. Petersburg. It has an external selenium light meter but unfortunately mine doesn’t work  which it makes the speed and aperture pretty tricky to set. The Zenit uses the M42 Pentax screw-mount lens so there is a variety of lenses which could be mounted to the body.

This model of Zenit is still not difficult to find. For instance the price of used Zenit 11 in eBay varies between 30 and 80 dollars. I personally have encountered it also at flee markets in Vienna, London and its price depends often on the agreement with the seller. If he or she is not very well informed or simply doesn’t care much about money, you can get it for a ridiculous price.

Recently Lomography announced they started selling again rare Zenit cameras (the diamond in Lomography’s collection is Zenit MF-1 for 800 bucks) and luxury bundles. I am sure every Zenit fan dreams about having some of the lenses and filters adaptable for various Zenit models.

  • Yashica 17 Half Rapid

Produced: 1965
Frame size: 18×24.
Shutter: 1/30s-1/800s + B.

I loved this Yashica as soon as I saw it because it’s simply stylish and elegant. I got it in April 2011 from an antique shop in Veliko Tarnovo, a beautiful historical city located in central Bulgaria. At first the salesman told me the Yashica is among these cameras which he finds unique and doesn’t sell. He saw, however, that I really liked it (plus he was happy because a successful deal he had earlier that day) so he sold it to me for 70 leva (35 euros). The camera didn’t have a single scratch, it was just perfect.

If it works perfectly I still have to find out because the only time I tried it out was when a friend of mine developed the film which I used with it. Unfortunately he made and error and the film appeared blank, so I don’t know if it actually works or I can use it only for decoration. As soon as I get some results I will post them here, in my blog :)

… but if I don’t get any results, I’ll try to find the same one either in internet or I’ll try to convince a seller at some of the Viennese flee markets.

The production of Yashica 17 camera has a beautiful chrome top and the selenium light meter around the lens (so called “Electric eye”). As the model suggest, namely Yashica 17 Half, it’s a half-frame camera ( 18x24mm, while the standard frame is 24×36), which is nice because this way there are 72 exposures, instead of 36, 48 instead of 24 and so on. My model is additionally Rapid, which means that the 135mm film is located in two special Rapid cassettes (instead of 126 Instamatic film cartridges). Basically, in order to use a standard film in the Yashica, the film must be taken out of its container and replaced in the rapid cassette, since the original doesn’t fit. Unfortunately, the Rapid cassettes aren’t available since the 70s, so finding two of the could be a real challenge.

Personally, I don’t think such Yashica could be found easily, even on eBay. The probability that the camera in good condition, it’s working and has the Rapid cassettes unfortunately is really low, so..good luck!

  • Welta Penti

Produced: 1959
Frame size: 18×24.
Shutter: 1/30s-1/125s + B

I saw this camera in an antique bar in Veliko Tarnovo (central Bulgaria) the spring of 2011. Among the 100 year old accordions, violins and typing machines almost hanging from the ceiling there were also some vintage cameras. I felt immediately attracted immediately by Penti’s shininess so i permitted myself to take a closer look at it. I couldn’t say from which year this camera was but I guessed the 70’s. You can imagine my surprise when I read this model was produced at first in 1959.

I asked the waitress if she thinks the owner could sell it to me but she stressed that her boss is an passionate antique collector and he wouldn’t sell it. One month later, however, I found it in a Croatian web site, for €20 in perfect condition.

It’s a compact viewfinder camera with a complete set of manual setting controls, all as rings around the lens: one for distance, one for aperture, and one for shutter speed and as the Yashica uses the Rapid cartridges. The model could be found in 5 different colors and mine is entirely golden.

The particular thing about shooting with this camera is that when the the shutter button is released a metal button pops out on the left side of the camera and the only way to reload the film is to push it back. That’s why you could never forget loading the film (therefore, don’t count on this cam for multiple exposures).

It’s not impossible to find it but like the case of Yashica you can rarely find it working, without scratches and with at least one cartridge so that it could be usable. In eBay.com it costs from 100 to 300 dollars (wow, I was really lucky!).

P.s. This camera is so classy that it could be a great accessory to a vintage wedding! ;)

  • LOMO LC-A

Produced: 1984-2005 (since 2006 LOMO LC-A+ made in China)
Frame size: 24×36.
Shutter: Electronically controlled
Weight: 250g

LOMO LC-A is special camera for all Lomographers. Lomography has built its 25-year history on this camera. Since I worked for Lomography I am familiar and I understand pretty well the excitement about the LC-A. The particular about this camera is the shadowy vignette effect, good saturation and bright colors the camera produces. Unlike its updated versions LC-A+ and LC-Wide, the classical LC-A has only the automatic aperture speed to brag about. The LC-Wide in addition to Multiple exposure option offers wide angle lens and choice of three different formats.

Many people think it’s a toy camera but they’re wrong. The camera has a good quality, doesn’t waste film and surprises with its results. The bad news is that you should say farewell to €250 at least to get one of the LC-As. Totally worth it!

  • Lubitel 2 (Любитель 2)

Produced: 1955-1977
Frame size: 56x56mm
Shutter: 1/15s-1/250s + B
Weight: 570g

Holding one of those Lubitel cameras feels like holding a piece of history. Very often it could be seen in advertisements or professional photos of a sexy girl posing with it.

It is a TLR (Twin-lens reflex) middle format camera taking 12 pictures in a 120 roll film. Its viewfinder is on top with a magnifying glass which is coupled with the taking lens. So basically, looking through the viewfinder on top of the camera you see the reversed image of the photo. Personally, I can’t still get used to this particularity also because of the “dancing” image, but I guess it’s a matter of time.

I got this camera from a Croatian web site of used stuff. I met the guy who sold it to me on the way to the Croatian sea side. I could see his attachment to the Lubitel. One of the few things he told me in weird English was “Enjoy it, it’s a very good camera”. Although I don’t have any doubt it his words, I have to examine that personally :). In ebay a used Lubitel could be easily found for €50 to €100 or refurbished one in Lomography’s online shop.

  • Spinner 360

The Spinner is an unique camera in the panoramic world. It makes a photo of 360 degree simply by the rotating head of the camera which is triggered by pulling a cord attached to the body of the cam. The photo itself is stretched over 6 to 8 poses on a standard 35mm film and captures really everything around you!

It’s really easy to use, makes definitely impression on the people around and it could be a great conversation starter :) When we used it at Frequency Festival this summer, for example, some people behind us started asking about this weird object.

The camera is a product of Lomography and you can buy it from their online shop for €89, unless of course it’s on offer. Lomography is nice enough to welcome their new interns with a camera as a welcome package. That’s actually how I got it :)

The Spinner is ideal not only for vacations but also for parties, concerts, weddings and other events, since it makes great group photos, that’s why I am so happy for having it in my modest collection!

  • Sprocket Rocket

Lomography’s Sprocket Rocket is a compact plastic panorama camera. It uses a standard 35mm film and shoots 105° photos, which basically means that one photo made with this cam will occupy around 3 poses of the 35mm film. The other specific thing about this camera is that its photos expand even over the sprocket of the film. This effect could be also reached by loading a middle-format-film camera (120mm) with a standard 35mm film, since the shutter is wider.

The camera is veery easy to use, it’s just it need plenty of light for a good photo, it doesn’t amaze with high quality and often the left and right side of the photos are blurry. On the other hand, despite of its cheap plastic look, I like it because of the sprocket-effect and because I can experiment with the multiple exposures. If you feel like taking a light easy camera for your bike tour or pick-nick the Sprocket Rocket is a good candidate.

The original pries of the Sprocket rocket is €69 and it could be purchased from Lomography’s online shop or second hand one from eBay.