Craigslist Lubitel 166B

Yes, I found my Lubitel 166B on Craigslist.

A Craigslist Picture is better than a Thousand Words

I passed on this original Craigslist ad about two weeks ago.  I originally emailed the owner and I still didn’t see the magic word “Lubitel” in his response.  Silly me.  Most people can’t read Russian (I learned a bit 35 years ago).  The camera’s name was written in Cyrillic script, not Roman script (English).

Then the owner re-posted his ad on Craigslist with photos and I saw that a Lubitel 166B was being sold with 3 other cameras for $15.  I emailed and phoned the owner immediately.

Does the Lubitel 166B Work?

I phoned the owner immediately and asked if the Lubitel 166B worked.  I expected some double-talk but instead the older gentleman said:

Yes, it works.  I used it last year.

I believed him and made arrangements to pick up his four cameras early next week.  I sealed the deal by sending him an email with my full name and phone.

A Lubitel 166B for under Five Dollars?

As I spoke with the owner Mat a second time, it became clear this man knew his cameras.  After all, he owned a Leica.  I re-confirmed on the phone:

So, I am purchasing all 4 cameras for $15 ?

He said “yes”.

His initial Craigslist ad had no nibbles.  But when he posted a photo I knew he had a Lubitel 166B and some other fun cameras.  Not expensive cameras, but fun cameras worth a roll of film.

Mat did say he was given all 4 cameras by the “cheapest son-of-a-bitch” he ever knew.  After doing tons of carpentry work for someone, they “gave” him these 4 cameras.  For some reason, Mat decided I would get these cameras.  Thanks Mat.

Visiting Mat and Purchasing his Craigslist Lubitel 166

I drove 45 minutes to Mat’s home to purchase his Lubitel 166B, Smena, Holga, and old Kodak camera.  He invited me into his home, showed me how the cameras worked, and we discussed cameras.

Mat is into his 70’s I’d say and was a carpenter (still is when his arm doesn’t hurt).  His wife Kathleen looked on approvingly as she walked to and from the kitchen.  This is why I love cameras.  You get to purchase old cameras and meet the people who owned them.

Mat took me into his basement and showed me his basic photography set-up.  Then he showed me photos he had taken 50 years ago.  He served in the U.S. Army, took photos of Irish-American events in the 60’s around Chicago, and dabbled in sports photography.  He even showed me a photo of his friends with protest posters from Ireland when he was a young man.  I only wish I could have asked for a copy or two of those photos.

Then he even told a dirty photography story from when he was in the army.  Sorry, I can’t mention it here…

We returned to his front room, discussed life and religion a bit (his choice, not mine), and parted as photographic friends.  As I left Mat said:

The next time you come over I’ll show you more.

I still wonder if I’ll meet this Irish-American carpenter again at the Fotorama camera meet in Schaumburg, IL, one day.  Mat’s a good reason to collect old cameras and meet the people who used those cameras 50 years ago.

Two Russian Cameras, a Chinese Camera, and an American Camera Walk into a Bar

It’s almost like the beginning of some joke.

The Lubitel 166B is Russian and so’s the Smena 3 in the photo.  The Holga is actually a Chinese camera.  And the owner said he used the Kodak 30 years ago (still don’t know how old it is).  Apparently the Kodak is a Kodak Vigilant Junior Six – 20.  So there should be some cameras to experiment with once I make the purchase.

I purchased Mat’s cameras in August 2012.  So thanks to Mat, I now have a Craigslist Lubitel 166B for less than five dollars.  Thanks for reading about my Craigslist Lubitel 166B today and visiting What is a Film Camera today.


Craigslist Lubitel 166B — 2 Comments

  1. It’s great that you get to meet folks like that with stories to tell through your collecting. It’s sort of the same reason I like collecting postage stamps with postmarks on them. The postmark means it’s been someplace instead of stuck in someone’s stock book! Thanks for your fun posts!

    • Steve,
      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my fun posts.
      I do obviously enjoy cameras. But I also enjoy the people who sell their cameras and the stories each camera can tell, if only we listen carefully.

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