LOMO Smena-8M Vintage Camera
LOMO Smena-8M Specifications
|(modern day Russia)|
|Made in:||Leningrad, USSR|
|Saint Petersburg, Russia)|
|Dimensions:||11.5 x 7 x 6 cm|
LOMO Smena-8M Review
The LOMO Smena-8M was introduced in 1970 by the Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Union. The Russian term “smena” translates into “young generation” or “relay” which is interesting because the 8M’s 25 year production outlasted the Soviet Union itself. The Smena name has existed since 1939 when the original Smena, a 35mm folding camera, was introduced by GOMZ, one of the state-run optics factories that eventually merged to become LOMO. Smenas are made almost exclusively from plastic and were designed to be inexpensive. As a testament to its success, there have been roughly 25 camera models bearing the Smena name starting from before WWII to the mid ’90s.
The Smena-8M comes equipped with a LOMO T-43 40mm f/4 lens with a minimum focus distance of 1.8 meters (about six feet). Mated to the lens is a leaf shutter capable of speeds ranging from 1/15 to 1/250 seconds and bulb that can be triggered by pressing the shutter button protruding from the top plate or via shutter release cable. There is a self-timer lever located at the 10 o’clock mark on the lens barrel, and a flash sync post at 4 o’clock. The shutter speed can be set by the bottom-most ring on the lens barrel, the aperture is controlled by the next ring up, then comes the focus and, lastly, the film speed is set by adjusting the smaller ring immediately surrounding the lens’ front element. Once the photograph has been taken, the film is advanced by rotating the black recessed wheel on the back which will then adjust the silver frame counter next to it. Once the roll is finished, the silver knob on the left-hand side of the top plate can be used to rewind the film.
The 8M is widely considered to be the most popular Smena model of all time which is no surprise as it can be found all over the former Soviet Union and in the hands of countless camera collectors worldwide. The Smena-8M had been on my wishlist for years because of its mechanical simplicity, ease of use and sleek design so I just decided to finally buy one. It cost me about $30 on eBay and arrived from Ukraine in about two weeks.
Find your very own LOMO Smena-8M on eBay.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg, WI, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), p 253-254.