It's true... Me and TLR cameras just don't get on. And I'm sad about it because that means no awesome looking self portraits like this one.
Lets start at the beginning shall we... This year I've mostly used just one camera and that is not something I usually do, so a few weekends ago I decided to shake things up a little and finally use a camera that I've had sitting around for a while since I bought it with some Lomography piggie points a while ago (back when it was worth earning piggies to spend) - a Lubitel 166+ with the 35mm kit converter.
I've been putting off using this camera because I think deep down I knew it wasn't the camera for me - but it looks so pretty and the romantic idea of
being Vivian Maier using a TLR camera was so much nicer than the tough truth of knowing it could be a huge flop. Luckily it wasn't a complete flop - just a partial flop, but still a flop non the less.
So... things that went wrong
- I loaded the film badly. Yup good old user error. Even with watching Youtube videos and being really careful, I still managed to load the film in a way that it got completely scratched up whilst being wound on. Bother. You can see the scratches on the photos.
- I also managed to knock the back of the camera open - the lock device is a bit flimsy I think too - but that meant I burnt out a couple of photos. Luckily I love film burn photos - so I'll be sharing them but I'm frustrated that I lost some photos in there too.
- Focusing. Luckily I did manage to get the photos in focus, but using the camera with my glasses was hard. I've never felt like my eyesight and glasses have impacted my photography before but I did not enjoy the looking down and holding the camera away from me experience at all. In fact being reminded how terrible my eyesight really is was just distressing.
- Moving the camera around - left was right, right was left.... I was ready to throw the camera in a mud a number of times because I moved the wrong way so many times!
However there were some things that went well. I actually quite like the results (minus the scratches...). The focusing is really crisp considering how hard I found it and I got the exposure right too which is always a worry with a fully manual camera (yeay 5 years experience!) and I am really pleased about that. I even quite like the larger panorama size photos.
But even with the photos turning out pretty well considering - I still didn't feel comfortable with this camera. I saw someone comment on the Film Shooters Collective group the other day that the issue was a 'techno emotional issue' - and thats exactly the problem I have with this camera at the moment, it just doesn't feel right. I'm tempted to try another roll to see if we get on and then I can finally run some 120 through it but I'm also just as tempted to sell it and find another 120 camera to use up my growing stash of film.
Have you used this camera? What do you think of it? I've seen some amazing results with it - but then I've seen amazing results with other cameras I haven't quite mastered too haha.
Camera: Lubitel 166+
Film: Agfa Vista 200
Location: Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds