Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter by Lomography
If you’re looking for a medium-format camera that will take you back to the good ol’ film days, try out the Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter by Lomography. This analogue camera combines today’s technology with classic film processing for a refreshing change of pace from the digital point-and-click devices that have flooded the market.
Designed and developed by Lomography to grab the attention of panoramic and medium-format film lovers, Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter is surprisingly compact. It features a fold-out “bellows” system that collapse into a convenient, portable camera great for the wandering photographer. When collapsed, Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter is 3.5 inches tall, 7 inches wide and 2 inches deep (without the lens or finder attached). The lens and finder each add about an inch to the height and depth; when the bellows are expanded, it’s 5 inches deep. The entire camera – bellows, lens, finder and all – weighs about 500 grams, which isn’t too heavy, though a nice camera strap may be in order to give your hands a rest.
There are several models of the Belair X 6-12 available; the Jetsetter is my favourite, with its retro-style metal body and tan leatherette design. It makes for an aesthetically stunning camera.
Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter has a wide range of customizable features that take beautiful panoramas (6×12 film). Capture a vast space for jaw-dropping photos in landscape, portrait or really, any orientation your imagination can dream up. While it is designed specifically for 120 roll film, you can also shoot square (6×6), standard (6×9) and more recently 35mm; you just need to purchase and connect the correct film chamber masks. These masks are interchangeable, snapping into place with an audible click. Once attached, they sit tight against the camera – but they are a bit difficult to remove. Like any film camera, once you’ve snapped your photo, you have to advance the film with the conveniently located and sturdy knob. The auto frame counter keeps track of how much film you have left.
Belair X 6-12 features interchangeable lenses – it comes with two plastic lens mounts in 90mm and 58mm Ultra-wide-angle; given that plastic lenses are the best for quality photography, you can easily swap in your own lens. Belair X 6-12 has four focus zones, 1 meter, 1.5 meters, 3 meters and infinity, which requires a bit of experimentation and experience to ensure your photos are crisp and in focus. The electronic automatic shutter system makes things a bit easier – you have to set the film sensitivity (ISO/ASA setting; 50 to 1600 range available) before you set out, but once set, the automatic shutter ensures the correct exposure time (anywhere between EV4 and EV15). The highest shutter speed is 1/125 and the lowest (in Bulb Mode) is unlimited, so you can take beautiful, long-exposure shots. Since the film advance knob isn’t connected to the shutter, you can easily take multiple exposure shots by clicking the shutter a few times on the same frame.
Overall, the Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter is solid with some flimsy parts. It takes a bit of practice and skill to get amazing, professional-grade photos (not to mention needing to actually get the film developed, if you can’t do that at home!). But if you love experimenting with photography and are looking for a good analogue panoramic camera, this should be your next purchase.