plastikcam.com          Lomo Belair X 6-12

The Lomo Belair X 6-12 is a strut-folding 120 film camera, 3 formats: 6x6, 6x9 and 6x12, released in 2012 by Lomographische AG, Vienna. It's a toy or fun camera, all plastic, even the lenses. There is an instant film back available, it takes Fuji Instax Wide film, shown here. The camera design resembles to early Polaroid J66 cameras with their struts and their "electric eye". It's not a cheap camera, but it has reasonable prices second hand.

The Lomo Belair X 6-12 is a recent model of a 120 film camera. It has 2 basic finders with format index, 4-zone focus, an electronic shutter system and 2 Lomo plastic lenses.

Size (mm): 180 x 84 x 49 body only, 180 x 108 x 68 folded, finder and lens attached
Weight: 400 g, 450 g
Lens: LOMO Plastic 8/58, 8/90, closest focus 1 m
Shutter: electronic, B >1 - 1/125, F 8 or 16
Finder: 2 simple finders, 1 for each lens
Film advance: red window

Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.

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Camera front, folded. No lens attached. Left: shutter lever. To the right of the lens opening: photo cell.


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Seen from the back. 2 red windows, slider for choice, one stays open.

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Front, wide lens and finder attached.

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Seen from the bottom.
Camera unfolding button, tripod socket. Far left and right: camera back unlock.

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Seen from above. Hot shoe, Finder attached (and lens), film winding device.

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Camera extended. Lens board: battery compartment on the left side (2x LR44). Aperture and distance setting at the front of the lens.

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Left side. Shutter lever.

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Right side.
Film speed setting dial and B mode setting at the back of the lens board.

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Camera open, film chamber and back detached, with 6x12 frame installed.

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Detail of film chamber. I put some foam the prevent film slackening, as there are no springs. If you have "fat rolls", i.e. rolls that are not wound tightly, you can put some foam into the other film compartment as well. Have it well glued, if not, it detaches and will be wound into the film roll and ruin it.

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Roll film equipment. 3 format masks, 6x6, 6x9 and 6x12.

If you never had a Lomography camera, this one might be too expensive for a start. Get yourself a simple one like the Diana, maybe second hand, and have a test, whether you can live with this kind of basic plastic camera. Lomography is more a state of mind, there is also some hype about it. Seen the quality, you may find them expensive; on the other hand people buy I-Phones although you can easily find out how much the production costs have been. Lomography still believes in film and they make new products, like this Belair.There is a price for this, just take it or leave it. It's capability to take 6x12 photographs is quite unique. If you want to buy a solid camera for this format, it's 10 times the price of the Belair.

The Lomo Belair can do 3 different formats. You have to make your decision before putting the film roll and to clip the according mask into the camera. The 58mm lens gives you the equivalent of 21mm (that's really wide!) on 6x12, 26mm on 6x9 and 35mm on 6x6. The 90mm lens gives 32mm on 6x12, 40mm on 6x9 and 52mm on 6x6. The lenses are simple all plastic and only do F8 or F16, which isn't very bright and neither a wide range. So high sensitive film is a better choice. Focusing has 4 zones, no intermediates; it's 1m, 1,50m, 3m and ∞. At F8 with the 90mm lens there are gaps, areas out of focus, e.g. between 4m (3m setting) and 6m (∞ setting). At F16 zones just overlap. The 58mm just overlaps at F8 and has wide margins at F16. If you keep this in mind, you can adapt your picture composition and have nice effects.

Handling a
Lomo Belair X 6-12 is a bit different, but easy once you are used to it, the rest is quite like other folding cameras. Loading film is fine. Open the camera back and put the film roll into place, the pegs are on bendable plastic, so don't force. Same procedure for the take-up spool. Insert the film paper backing into the spool and advance it using the advance device until it's firmly engaged. Close the camera back. Advance the film via the device, until the appropriate red window will show "1" for 6x6 and 6x9. For 6x12 it's the even numbers, 2, 4, ... in the 6x6 window.

Press the camera opening button on the bottom and extend the struts. Set aperture and focus distance. Look through the finder and compose your picture. Press the shutter lever. That's it. Advance the film to the next picture. Press the middle of the struts and collapse them to fold the camera. The finders are quite random, they show much more than you will have on the photo. So leave some margin. The exposure measuring system gets it quite right under normal circumstances. If your subject is in the shade and you are in a more sunny area, it gets it completely wrong, it under-exposes severely. You can easily compensate with the ISO dial, but don't forget to put it back.

I bought the Belair for the 6x12 format and the Instax back.

The
Lomo Belair X 6-12 is a nice, very light camera, easy to use. It fits into a coat pocket. It's Lomo, so it should be fun, no strive for quality. You should want and accept some surprise results. I like it a lot.

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