This was my very first TLR camera, and remains one of my favourites (I think I say that about all of my cameras, don’t I?). I have a soft spot for old Soviet cameras, maybe because they’re cheap or maybe because it’s a mixed bag of it they’ll work or not. Probably because they are the knock-off versions of some of the best cameras made. This one is likely a Soviet version of a Voigtländer; Kievs are Contax or Hasselblad; Zorkis are Leicas… If you can get a working Soviet camera, you have a very affordable and very well made camera.
My Lubitel does work, though it took me a while to understand that the magnifier used to help focus was bent a bit and therefore complicating my focusing game. I wanted this specific camera because I really wanted one that had a rangefinder focus rather than the always-frustrating guessing version. (I purchased external rangefinders to help me use such cameras but do I always remember them? No.)
The shutter mechanism is the simplest, yet most difficult to interpret at first, design they could manage.
Another reason to love this camera, is the attractive square format to the photos. And it uses 120 film which is easy enough to find and use with no need to respool on to a smaller spool. 1:4.5 is not bad, either, but of course we always wish we had more depth of field, don’t we? Focusing distance, well, that’s like all older cheaper cameras with 1.3 metres being the closest one can be to a subject. I’m always on the look out for lens adapters to help me with focus distance but haven’t found anything for this camera yet.
Bakelite and metal: such a nostalgic aesthetic.