The Belair X 6-12 is finally available at the Lomography Gallery Store and can be given a hands-on review. For those who have pre-ordered the camera, this article can be help you familiarize yourself with the camera and understand how it works so as to minimize burning some shots on your first rolls.
An ideal gift (especially for ladies). The small format size, expensive development, and scanning costs are slightly prohibitive to me, who has been used to shooting in 135 format. Fortunately, October saw the launch of the Belair X 6-12 camera which didn’’t come with a launch party and ready samples – a rare event. But based on its bellows camera design and LC-A+ Silver Lake color schemes, rare auto exposure 6×12 format, interchangeable lenses, and pre-launch discounts, it’s well received. Even photographers who had never used Analogue cameras previously made the pre-order.
When the Belair X 6-12 was officially launched there were 2 models: an all black plastic body (City Slicker), and a silver metal body with brown PVC leather (Jetsetter); the 300 pieces of faux snake skin limited editions had already been sold out, hence not being discussed here. The model available for pre-order at the stores is the Belair Jetsetter model with a metal body.
According to Camera R&D staff RON you can transform a Jetsetter into a City Slicker by changing all the Silver parts（hotshoe, strap hook, bellow frame, viewfinder facade, shutter release) into black plastic and change to black PVC.
It’s not mentioned in the Microsite, and I don’t have a weighing scale, so using the subjective hand weighing method, it’s considered light for a metal edition 6×12 camera. It is much lighter than the plastic body, steel frame Horizon but heavier than the plastic Lubitel 166+.
Different from most bellows cameras the Belair uses a layer of rubber material, but the disadvantage is that it attracts a lot of dust. The rough folding design minimizes folding errors after long usage.
Shutter and light meter
The shutter has a 5 blade ring shaped design. The fastest speed is 1/125s under Aperture priority mode. The fastest shutter speed is like the Lomo LC-A+ – once the light meter detects enough light, the shutter will close (there is a bulb mode). There is no link between the shutter and film advance mechanism. The ISO can be set higher for MX and stitching and is comparatively easier than a Holga, Diana 120 camera. The auto exposure system gives better exposure accuracy.
For the time being Belair X 6-12 comes with 2 lenses: 58mm 1:8 (90degrees) and 90mm 1:8 (65 degrees) made up of 1 set with 2 pieces (58mm) or 3 pieces (90mm) of plastic lens group. The apertures are F8 & F16.
58mm (1:8 on a 135 format）
- 21mm (6 × 12)
- 26mm (6 × 9)
- 35mm (6 × 6)
90mm (1:8 on a 135 format）
- 32mm (6 × 12)
- 40mm (6 × 9)
- 52mm (6 × 6)
Limited by the larger film format (easy to get out of focus with larger apertures) and the 2 slots joint design, these 2 lenses and any future lenses, including glass lenses, would have only 2 apertures. Focusing is similar to LC-A+'s Zone Focus. The distance marking on the lens body are 1M, 1.5M, 3M, and infinity. Don’t expect any rangefinder mechanism such as automatic 250 on Lomography cameras.
A lot of 120 negatives and slides have stopped production. But Lomography revived the trend and launched many types of 120 films for instance 120 Rescale and 120 ASA 800, which are unique in today’s market.
In addition, people are wondering if an instant back will be launched. Based on the format and back cover design, I think it is possible (but I had forgotten to check with camera designer Ron, after Friday’s (23/11) Lomography 20th Anniversary party). I will publish new articles and share with everyone.
In the last 2 years I only bought the LC-Wide among Lomography’s newly released cameras. I am used to cameras with AE function and am less interested in new toys. But the launch of Belair X 6-12 has provided me with a bigger surprise than in recent years. Finally, Lomography developed a more serious and less toy-like 120 camera to help bring the serious photographers back to using film. I expect the Belair X 6-12 to liven up the dying 120 film market. Regardless if you are interested in this camera, do let more people know about 120 cameras no matter what. Medium format cameras are not popular, costing approximately 6 digits. Even the basic Pentax 645D costs 45k. 120 film cameras are still the cheapest and best way to get into medium format photography.