LOMO Smena Symbol Vintage Camera
LOMO Smena Symbol Specifications
|Country of Origin:||Soviet Union|
|(modern day Russia)|
|Made in:||Leningrad, USSR|
|Saint Petersburg, Russia)|
|Dimensions (cm):||12.9 x 7.8 x 6.4|
LOMO Smena Symbol Review
The LOMO Smena Symbol (ЛОМО Смена Символ) is a simple 35mm viewfinder camera introduced by LOMO in 1970. The Symbol belongs to the long-lived Смена (Russian for “relay” or “young generation”) line of cameras that were manufactured by three different Soviet factories (MMZ, GOMZ, and lastly, LOMO) from 1939 until the mid 1990s, effectively outlasting the Soviet Union itself. Smenas like the Symbol, 8M, and the 2 are mostly made of plastic and were purposely designed to be inexpensive.
As with many cameras, there are a significant number of variants for the Symbol and most of them only have very minor differences. This particular Symbol is a Type 4B which denotes a unique set of characteristics. The screws on the top plate straddling the hot shoe and film rewind knob and the top plate itself are black as opposed to other models that have grey plastic and/or metal-colored screws. The film speed indicator wheel on the back has gold-colored icons instead of white. The serial number is located on the bottom plate next to the film rewind release and tripod socket unlike other models which have it located on the lens barrel. There is also a Soviet State Quality Mark located at the base of the LOMO T43 40mm f/4 lens which certifies that this particular variant has met or exceeded international quality standards, a label that is notably absent on the vast majority of Symbol variants.
The Smena Symbol is very straightforward and simple to operate. Simply set your current film speed with the dial on the face of the lens and it will simultaneously set the appropriate aperture. Shutter speeds can be chosen by rotating the ring at the base of the lens barrel using either the weather condition symbols on the top or the shutter speed numbers (1/15 to 1/250 seconds and Bulb) on the bottom. Once shutter speed and aperture are dialed in, focus can be adjusted by rotating the forwardmost part of the lens and by using the illustrated distance scale. The shutter button is located at the 9:30 mark on the lens barrel and the film advance lever can be found on the back next to the frame counter and viewfinder window.
My wife bought this Smena while we were in college but put it into storage shortly after she graduated. After spending several years in a cardboard box, it was finally rescued when we cleaned out the storage unit and now it sits in my display case with my other Soviet cameras. The Symbol is in good cosmetic shape showing only normal signs of wear and is in fine operating condition.
Want one for yourself? Find your very own LOMO Smena Symbol on eBay.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 254.