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Home Camera Repair: Epic FAIL

Posted 2009.10.29 9.39 in Hobbies, Photography

Just so nobody thinks that home camera repair is all fun and wine, there are the occasional FAIL moments.

My Lomo Lubitel 166 was in need of some work – when I got it, it was filthy (“refurbished” my arse) and the Bulb mode did not work. A simple cleaning was easy enough and I was sort of prepared to live without Bulb mode since it didn’t come with a cable release socket anyways. (Though wierdly, it actually came with a cable release.)

The final straw came when I had loaded it up with the second roll of film, then the back flopped open and ruined a couple exposures. At that point, I figured I’d fix the Bulb mode and see about doing something to improve the way the back closed.

Repairing Bulb mode proved to be pretty simple. But putting it back together… well there was the kicker. I could get it back together, but the shutter wouldn’t cock. Or I could get it so the shutter cocked, but it wouldn’t go back together. It was frustrating. I fiddled with it for a few hours then gave up and set it aside for a week or two.

Camera Repair Failure

Last night I tried again, but found myself to be still frustrated – I have no idea how they hooked the cocking gear to the winding gear. I can hook them up in a dozen different ways, but none of them work.

In frustration I “removed” one side of the camera, to see if I could get at some of the gears. I got at the gears, but still no luck. The camera body is mainly plastic, and the outer bits were ‘welded’ in place so getting at the gears meant breaking some of the outer casing.

At this stage, it’s pretty much a write-off. All I can do now is scavenge it for parts. Sigh. Well, you can’t win them all. And I did get one roll of film through it. Still… after spending 29 years waiting in a box, it found me, shot one roll of film, then I killed it.

Mind you, a little failure is good now and then, helps to keep us mindful of consequences and helps us learn.

Lomo Lubitel

Posted 2009.10.02 20.28 in Hobbies, Photography

The Lomo Lubitel (Olympic Edition) is a Soviet-made Twin Lens Reflex camera that was made by the Leningradskoye Optiko-Mekhanicheskoye Obyedineniye – or Lomo for short.

The first Lubitel was made in the 1950’s but this model is based on their later Lubitel 166. According to the serial number, this particular one was made in 1980 – same year as the Moscow Olympics, and the reason for that red logo next to the viewing lens.

Aside from the comemorative aspect, there’s not too much to brag about. The body is plastic and metal, the taking lens is 75mm f/4.5 and the shutter speeds are 1/15 to 1/250. It’s supposed to have a Bulb setting, but this doesn’t work on mine. And even if it did work, there’s no way to attach a cable release, so bulb wouldn’t be too useful. Wierdly, a cable release was included in the box.

The Lubitel takes 120 rollfilm, and the Olympic version has a counter and automatically cocks the shutter when you advance the film. The film advance is a bit stiff and took 1/3 of a roll for me to figure out how it actually works. There is a X-sync hotshoe on the left side, but the shoe is slightly strangely sized and it’s difficult to get a flash to work right. It does work though, you just have to tinker with it.

Whining aside, here are a few shots I took with it, once I figured out it’s quirks:

I had taken some indoor shots but the flash wouldn’t work so they didn’t come out. The outdoor shots all have a wierd sort of dreamy feel to them. Like there’s something unreal about the light, the sky. There’s also a wierd fog effect that I think might be internal reflections. The 6×6 chamber is not matte, it is black but more of a ‘satin’ or ‘semi-gloss’ so it’s possible for light to reflect around in there.

Now that I know the camera’s quirks I’ll have to try another roll (with some more-interesting subjects) and see how it goes.