This is my Belomo Vilia Camera

This is my Belomo Vilia with a range finder. I love how this photo taken on a mobile cameraphone looks as low tech as the Vilia feels.

I’m very lucky to have a friend who passed this camera and range finder onto me because she’d knew I’d enjoy playing with it.  I’ve had it for at least a year now (actually longer I think) but finally I’ve decided to get to grips with it.

Once I did a bit of searching it isn’t so difficult to use and the manual settings are pretty straight forward once you know what does what.

This English manual helped a lot!

The camera is Russian, is quite heavy and has that sort of clunky engineering that appeals to me.  They were made between 1973 and 1986.  It takes standard 35mm film although my adjustment for film speeds only seems to be suitable to go up to 200iso. Lucky then that I have a stash of expired 200 iso film donated by another friend. If you ever have any old film you need to get rid of – I’m your girl.

When my husband looked through the viewfinder of the Vilia he said it made everything look like it was from the early eighties. We’ll have to wait and see how the photographs turn out.

My biggest problem is keeping the camera steady when I press the shutter and I may have to experiment with how I hold it, partly because it’s not weighted too well for snapping. But it does make a delightful noise and I love winding the film on – it’s like a cross between a snazzy camera and an old typewriter making a very satisfying noise.

Could be some time before I finish the film and get it processed but I’ll let you know how I get on. 
I’ve just sent 6 films for processing (Holga, Split-Cam and Vivitar Utra Slim & Wide) so I’ll no doubt have quite a few photos to blog before the film in the Vilia is even near finished. 
It’s good to be taking pictures again – though I do need to budget the cost of processing.  Now Spectrum Imaging is closing down I’m trying out Peak Imaging and planning to scan my own negatives with my Epson 4490 to keep the costs down a bit.


  1. i recommend taking two shots of anything you really want to come out well as i found that click-related wobble was high with it, even though like you, i was aware that i needed to hold it extra steady… good luck!

    1. Oh I’m glad it’s not just me! Yes hadn’t realised or would have practised a bit with technique before I put the film in. Will have to learn live. But I saw quite a few on flickr had a … ummm … softness to them so perhaps it’s part of the Vilia’s charm. Or perhaps trying to tame it is the charm?

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