Posted on December 15, 2012
Journey Into Analog: Belair 120
Just got my first shots from my new Belair camera by Lomography. The Belair is a 120 film camera that can shoot 6X6, 6X9, or 6X12 frames. It also features interchangeable lenses and an auto-exposure. At the bottom of this post I’ll post a little mini-review.
The Belair is definitely a step up from a Diana, but I haven’t been blown away by any of my shots so far. Hopefully with more practice I’ll start getting some better results, but it’s a little hard to get the time in when you only get 6 shots per roll (at the widest setting). I’ve probably never used a camera this large before, so I was really caught off guard at how high the viewfinder was in relation to the final shot. In the top shot, for instance, I had framed the bag out of the shot and had intended to capture the top of Jaclyn’s head. It’s surprisingly far off.
The auto-exposure seems questionable too. There’s no “test” light to let you know the circuitry is working, all you can do is put the batteries in correctly and hope it is. Many of the shots I got back were way too over or underexposed, which seems like it shouldn’t have been a problem considering it was fresh batteries and I entered the correct ISOs. It’s also worth noting the Belair doesn’t include batteries like many of the other Lomo products do.
As with my Diana, Focus is an issue here. I wanted to capture as much light as possible, so I set my aperture at F8, but looking at the shots now I wish I had messed around more with F16 for a wider depth of field. It’s also hard to tell what’s out of focus and what’s simply the result of a not so high quality lens. This will take more experimenting too. Lomo does offer some even nicer lenses for this camera, which I may invest in, but I’ll really have to get my zone focusing down for (because of their narrower depth of field).
I like this camera, but perhaps I was hoping for a nicer medium format camera when what I’m seeing is more like a wider Diana. No qualms with the Diana, I love mine, but I’ll have to wait and see if this was really a big step up or not. If you have some thoughts or shots from your Belair, I’d love to see them. Oh, I should have some concert shots from the Astronuatilus show next week. I’m excited to see how the Belair did with those.
update: I didn’t intend to write a little mini-review when posting this, but since I did, I should clarify that the images above were all processed in Snapseed. The 800 ISO shots didn’t need much, but my 100 color negative and 200 x-pro totally did. I’ve posted some of the unedited originals below