Lomo Smena 8M - Staff Review


Lightweight and simple to use, the Smena 8M is a good camera choice for the amateur photographer.

The word “Smena” literally means “Young Generation” in English – an apt name for a line of cameras produced by the esteemed LOMO factory in St. Petersburg, Russia – as it was designed to make photography affordable and convenient to the hardworking young Soviets at the time. Introduced in 1952, the Smena line proved to be very popular, sustaining production until the late 1980s.

The Smena 8M, a fully manual 35mm shootbox, came to light in the early 1970’s. It was lightweight and boxy, feels like a toy camera in your hands.

Surprisingly, for a plastic camera, it’s capable of producing sharp pictures. While the viewfinder is rather useless – it’s just a lens-less, clear frame that’s pretty inaccurate – it has a coated “Triplet” lens that delivers nice saturation and contrast. The fully manual controls (aperture, shutter speed, and focal distance) allow you to create your images as you please. It’s even equipped with a leaf shutter and PC flash sync – enabling flash syncing at various shutter speeds.

kylethefrench has a cautionary tale to tell:

Don’t try to do Lomography when intoxicated. With that being said, the 8M is the perfect camera for late night adventures – it is small and light as heck and has a fantastic B setting. In addition, it has a few simple features such as focus control, aperture, and shutter speed, making it very easy to screw up your pictures in the most fabulous ways, especially right before last call! When you add in the fact that you can make multiple exposures anytime you like or anytime you simply forget to advance before re-cocking the shutter, the fun cam reaches true glory. The pictures end up looking like how you feel in the morning and that is simply the best way to remember a great night out on the town … of course if you are clear heading you can use this mighty mini for all kinds of high quality realism but either way it is a winner!

Check out his gallery!

written by shhquiet on 2008-05-30 in #reviews #lomo #smena #8m #staff #review


  1. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    Nice, I made it!

  2. heppy
    heppy ·

    I found that loading this camera was tricky and in some cases didnt even produce exposures because the film wasnt loaded properly (even when it cocked to the next exposure!). My advice is to catch the first 'hole' of your film onto the first prong in the feed. Seems to work everytime for me [:

  3. jonasfx
    jonasfx ·

    very fun to use camera! trying to learn the basics of photography with this.
    btw, thanks for the links~

  4. tommyrambles
    tommyrambles ·

    Smena cameras seem to be tricky to load. I have a Smena Symbol (amazing if you get it right!) and have had numerous films come back blank and been really disappointed :(

    Might try an 8m, looks like you get some great pics when intoxicated! What film were you using?

  5. reachforeignhighs
    reachforeignhighs ·

    The Smena 8m is a bit tricky to load, and rewind, film. But with all my rolls I've managed to get decent, if not fantastic, results. This is the first camera I've owned that has a manually operated shutter and focusing, etc. But it's all in good fun; I think I've become a more accomplished photographer, for being an amateur, after using this camera. The viewfinder is a bit useless, but not as useless as say a Fisheye's.
    The best feature by far is the simplicity of double exposures. I would also recommend using at least 400 speed film unless you want to be patient and use a tripod; or settle for interesting blurs.

  6. javensbukan
    javensbukan ·

    I think the Smena 8M is soo much better looking than the Holga or Diana, I may start a war here; but for me, its just better looking.

  7. bumbles
    bumbles ·

    I have looked at some FANTASTIC results and reviews on this camera .. too bad they are unavailable to Canada T_T

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