Lubitel (cyrillic: Любитель) means "amateur" in Russian. It was made in great numbers by the Leningrad GOMZ or Lomo factory. Some sources claim that between 1957 and 1979 over two million were produced. There are versions with a cyrillic name plate or with one in latin script as the one shown, and it was rebadged for various other markets as Kalimar TLR100, Спутник (Sputnik), Amatör-II and Global-676. It has some Russian "relatives" such as the Komsomolets and the Lubitel 166B It shows great similarity with the Voigtländer Brillant, a line of cameras that started before the war. It is however not a direct copy; The accessory door opens by turning and the viewing lens focuses. Later Voigtländer Brillants also focused, but by then they used wider aperture lenses. The camera body is made of plastic, possibly bakelite. The waist level finder and focusing rings are made of metal. These cameras were delivered with a case and strap made of artificial leather. There is a stepless aperture scale under the taking lens with apertures from 4.5 to 22. Winding the film is done by a black knob on the right side of the camera. This does not cock the shutter.
- SovietCams page shows each of these names
The most exceptional feature of the Lubitel is its brillant finder. Its finder is not a matte screen nor are there any focusing microprisms. It looks like a plain glass lens with a center-spot of soot in the middle. This very clear finder helps you compose your picture in dim light situations. The focusing is done on the small center spot. Four wedges help you orientate the picture. While very bright, this finder gives a "dancing" picture. This happens especially when the camera is hanging on your belly and you look down into the waist level finder. This is rather strange, isn't this the position you're supposed to look through it? When you look onto glass from closer by, you often get a "tunnel" vision; the edges become darker (light falloff?). A loupe allows more critical focusing on the center spot. The Lubitel's loupe is a bit smallish for this purpose.
The Lubitel has a T-22 75/4.5 taking lens. It is actually a little wider than the normal 80mm medium format standard lens. The shutter is cocked with a red-dotted lever. The aperture and shutter button are all positioned around the taking lens.