Main -> Photography -> Classic Cameras -> Russian Cameras -> Vilia [sitemap]

Created 7 July 2007 ... Updated 13 May 2009


Vilia This camera is as plastic as cameras get. It looks cheap, it feels cheap and well, you won't expect the pictures taken by it to look too great either, however, I've never tried. Apparently the picture-"quality" is that of a real Lomo camera but maybe it's better to try the Vilia for yourself and you might be surprised what this cheap (going rate on eBay USD 5-10) camera is capable of.

The looks of this camera are great, extremely basic, as in: a plastic box, and you only notice on second sight that you do actually have more control over picture taking than you would have with a 1920 box camera. Well, that's maybe a little unfair, it does have shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/250 second and Bulb, it does have aperture settings from f4 to f16, which is also quite nice and you can actually focus the lens, which is, by the way, made of real glass. A cool feature not too often found on other cameras is that of parallax correction for subjects closer than 1 meter. So the camera really is not as bad as its appearance.

BelOMO produced these cameras from 1973 to 1986 and sold over 2 Million of them. So they're not exactly rare or expensive. The earlier cameras, like mine, came with film speed reminder on the back and a metal film winding crank. The later versions came without the film speed reminder on the back and possibly also with a plastic winding crank instead of a metal one.

Another version of the Vilia was the Vilia-Auto. This camera sets the exposure automatically via the exposure meter cells around the lens, much like a 1960s Olympus Trip 35 and the Olympus Pen cameras. Apparently this camera also had a manual mode, in the same fashion as the basic Vilia but I have not found any evidence of this, neither do I have an "auto" to check it myself. The Vilia-Auto was produced during the same time as the Vilia and was probably the more expensive version.

Manufactured by  :  MMZ-BelOMO
Model  :  Vilia
Type  :  view finder camera
Production span  :  1973 - 1986
K.D. Müller Reference  :  K 89448
Film  :  35 mm, Type 135
Picture size  :  24 x 36mm
Made in  :  USSR
Quantity Made  :  Over two million
Original List Price  : 
Material  :  Plastik
Lens  :  Triplet 69-3 40mm f/4, Fixed mount.
Filter size  : 
Focusing  :  Manual, distance settings in meters and pictograms
Focus range  :  0.8 meter - infinity
Viewfinder  :  simple view finder.
Shutter  :  1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, Bulb
Aperture  :  f/4 - f/16
Self timer  :  none
Exposure  :  manual
Exposure meter  :  none
Battery  :  none
Flash  :  hot shoe
Flash Contact  :  standard flash hot shoe on top
Film Advance  :  single stroke lever
Other  : 
Dimensions  :  125 x 80 x 67 mm
Weight  :  approximately 400 g
Body serial number  :  9018593
Collection status  :  to be sold

links Vilia weblinks
links Vilia Manual [pdf, 246 kByte]
links As competition to the original Lomo camera, the Lomographic Society
links provides a manual in the English language free of charge.

links Alfred Klomp
links The Vilia cameras in Alfred Klomps collection of Russian cameras.

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2007

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