"When I found one issued to commemorate the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, which appeared to be in near mint condition. It also had the original box. I jumped on it."
The plasticized surface on this side of the camera has been marred by coming into contact with the strap or vinyl case. I have lighted this picture in order to exagerate the marring, so that any potential buyer would be fully aware of it. In my judgement, this camera was never used prior to my owning it. It shows little ware and the film spool that ships with it was in the take-up position as it would have shipped.
Soviet Engineering long demonstrated a remarkable ability to do much with little. The Lubitel was a cas of simple, cheap (both in materials/construction and in price of purchase). This quasi TLR camera is an excellent example. I have enjoyed the versions of the ones I have owned, but especially proud of the Olymic labeled camera and box featured here. It has a rich history and is rare.
Don't get me wrong; these cameras are cheaply made and only make fair images, but within certain limitations, they are not too bad. But it is definitely their history and popularity that makes them especially notable. My own camera featured here for example captures an important moment in world history.
"Fifty-six American Diplomats were being held hostage by Iranian Islamist students. I spent a great deal of time listening to a new talk radio show in Little Rock that had been born out of nightly discussions of the hostage incident. I was a regular listener as I ran a general photography studio, and most often played catch-up on darkroom work, bookkeeping, and what not."
"Bringing us up to date with a special Lomo camera that I own, we see President Jimmy Carter declaring that the Olympic Summer Games, to be held in Russia, would be boycotted by the allies if Soviet Troops were not withdrawn by a given deadline."
I was riding high on full-filled dreams. I had my own studio, lots of photography equipment, plenty of work to do. I was also taking a few classes at the University of Central Arkansas. My wife and I had three of our soon to be four children, and lived in a picturesque ancient rock cabin that stood on the sight of a historic portion of the Cumberland Overland Stagecoach road. Thirteen acres and a lake stocked with three varieties of fish. Goats and chicken, and a huge garden. This was my Walden Pond experiment. Life was good.
As summer approached, there were no signs of the hostages being released, and President Jimmy Carter’s administration was twice more embarrassed, before they would be. An ill-conceived attempt to rescue the hostages was doomed from the onset by the failure to predict military helicopters’ operational ability in Iranian desert sandstorms.
So the US was already embarrassed beyond belief, when faced with the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan. Our military had sunken into disrepair, disuse, low morale, and lack of funding as a result of a politically prolonged war in Viet Nam.
"So the US was already embarrassed beyond belief, when faced with the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan. Our military had sunken into disrepair, disuse, low morale, and lack of funding as a result of a politically prolonged war in Viet Nam."
These failures underlined a low point in Ameica's modern military capabilities. The American government had been defeated in Viet Nam by its own political system, and the media's slanted leftist slant, which endctrinated, agitated, and mobilized a loud young crowd of spoiled American's College students and drop-outs who had enjoyed a prosperous upbringng and eroding moral strictures. We were a generation of access, and we led the charge of a tail-tucked and gutless government away from danger into the pacivity of cowardess. We turned our backs on the people of South Viet Nam who had struggled valiantly against the Soviet and Chionese backed communist North Viet Nam.
America left South Viet Nam's free people to be slaughtered and ravaged by a vengeful NV. And we (the American public) did it with a falsely-enlightened belief that we were doing the "right thing". In reality, we were gutting the numerous brave soldiers who died fignhting there, billions of dollars invested, and a military establishment who had been hamstrung from victory by studpid politicians.
An emboldened USSR Communist government thumbed its nose at the Free World and began anew its expansionist policies with designs on Afghanastan--which offered them new stategic access to the sea. The minority of Communist ideologes in Hollywood and in control of the Press defeated the USA in the courts of public opinion. This was one of the most remarkable victories over the mind ever perpetrated.
Bringing us up to date with a special Lomo camera that I own, we see President Jimmy Carter declaring that the Olympic Summer Games, to be held in Russia, would be boycotted by the allies if Soviet Troops were not withdrawn by a given deadline. the deadline came and went. And though supposed to be void of politics, the games went on without the USA and many of its allies. If it was a disappointment to the USSR, no one knew it as the Soviets maximized their showcase by sweeping the games.
"... we see President Jimmy Carter declaring that the Olympic Summer Games, to be held in Russia, would be boycotted"
The following link is devoted to cheap Russian Cameras, not just Lomo 166’s, and actually not just Russian cameras, but definitely analog cameras and mostly 6x6/120 film format. This site is devoted primarily to amateur art photos. The blurry quality of these photos is not the experience I have had with this particular Lomo Lubitel 166, which makes very clear images, given circumstances; however, I am using a photo from this site,of a NEW Commemorative model of this very camera, priced at $355, with the exception of the Olympic Symbol on mine.
Years later, I had an opportunity to buy my first Lomo. I was by then acquainted with the cameras reputation, and was actively looking for one to buy. When I found one issued to commemorate the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, that appeared to be in near mint condition along with the original box, I jumped. I don’t recall how much I paid, but it wasn’t very much—relative to other TLR cameras. I was a bit skeptical, as reviews varied widely.
I ran my first roll of Tri-X through the camera one Saturday afternoon. I was surprised to see the bright view through the finder. A circle in the middle of the viewfinder cleared and fuzzed as I moved the simple geared focus ring around the lens. That’s pretty cool, I thought. The camera was gloss black and felt like it was made of metal, but it was coated with some type of synthetic plastic.
"Though I had not yet even heard of the Russian Lomo 6x6 120 Twin Lens Reflex camera, it had been in production for many years in one form or another. It was already famous for making good pictures on a small budget in the parts of the world where it was distributed."
Concentric rings around the lens controlled the shutter and diaphragm settings. The shutter release was a simple sprout from the taking lens. The camera was solid-simple. I developed the film the same day, along with some other commercial work I needed to soup. It would be a few days before I got back to the negs that hung drying in the dust-free cabinet.
When I did get back to the negs, I took a brief look at them on the light-table, picked one, and stepped into the darkroom. It those days, I used a Couple of different enlargers. An Omega B8 was my preference for 6x6 (which we called “two-n-a-quarter”). I quickly enlarged and placed an 8x10 piece of paper in the Quick Easel. It took two seconds to focus and stop down to the exposure I knew from habit would render a perfect exposure.
Five or so minutes later, I flipped the lights on and grasped my stainless tongs to flip several prints over where they were finishing up in the hypo tray. My eyesight was especially keen then, but I squinted slightly for an even better view in the not so bright overhead light. The prints were not only crisp and clear from right-on exposure and development both in the camera and in the darkroom, they were sharp-sharp from the excellent camera optics.
This was the beginning of my experience with the much discussed Lomo Russian TLR. All of my experiences since then have been good.