Smena 8M Has Me Satisfied


I finally found the camera I've always wanted––I just didn't know it was the CMEHA 8M. It has the balance of control and lack of control that I want. And the details are charming.

As a child I wanted more control. As an adult (and graphic designer) I got TOO much control. This caused me to step back. Enter the Diana, followed by a Brownie, and then . . . Enter the CMEHA in its original box. I didn’t know what to expect. Some bloggers liked it but others described it coldly, not honoring the “toy” with their opinion one way or the other.

The first thing I noticed was the smell: acrid and amber, like the old plastic had been marinating in its own fumes for years in a closet. I loved it! The focus barrel pivoted smoothly like it was buttered. The aluminum was bright. The coated glass shone that futuristic purple haze when the sun hit it. The body’s industrial texture is honest and charming.

Once I loaded the film (kodak negative, 800) it became heavier and felt substantial. I left off the case since it had gotten stiff with age. Many users moan about cocking the shutter and warn that you will ruin shots by derailing the shutter speeds with your fingers. I found that if you’re awake and glad to be taking a picture, this will not be a problem. If you hold the camera from behind keeping your finger on the button, the cock will swing free and give a lovely cough. This may sound awkward but feels quite natural.

The viewfinder and exposure counter are not helpful. The shutter release is not soft but not too hard so I doubt this will cause any more hand shake than usual. The flash sync is fantastic! I used colored gels and sometimes just held them over the lens. In all cases the colors reproduced beautifully.There were some light leaks but not always and they looked great. I ended up with many photos I love.I love the rewind experience. I don’t like the kind where you pull out a tiny crank. The CMEHA instead has a classy knob that you twist like the tuner on a sound system.

The pictograms on the lens barrel are adorable and helpful. For the more technical, real numbers are indicated. The setting notches are splashed with a tiny blob of paint and remind me of the way little girls paint their nails. This next detail may only appeal to designers but the CMEHA 8M has a priceless lomo logo: a funny stylization in which the cyrillic “L” has been stretched and set atop the remainder “omo.” it looks like a satellite or a space-needle or the head of a robot. It’s clumsy and optimistic and beautiful!! Even the superficial details have me smiling. If nothing else this camera is a valuable member of my design object collection, but most importantly the CMEHA 8M delivers photographic results whether for personal memories or artistically flexible design and art projects. It has a satisfying balance of options and simplicity, control and lack of control. It’s my new favorite analog and will be hard to beat.

written by orlando_a on 2009-06-08 in #reviews #double-exposures #35mm #smena #simple #minimal #easy #8m #fun #cmeha #soviet-design #flash-sync-options #control


  1. dogma
    dogma ·

    Oh yee! this camera rocks!

  2. d_i_hunter
    d_i_hunter ·

    Yeah, it's a sweet little camera. I love the way the film counter works!
    You've taken some nice shots with it - 5 is great!

  3. sibu_sen
    sibu_sen ·

    Yeah!!! Smena is so quirky and wonderful, I love it too!!! Nice review!

  4. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    # 1 could be the cover of a great LP or CD......

  5. stouf
    stouf ·

    Super review ! And I really love the double (N°10) !

  6. thegroundabove
    thegroundabove ·

    I like my Smena 8m so much, I had to buy a backup for when I inevitably wear this one out.

  7. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    im thinking about adding this camera to my weapons of choice.hehe
    i like no.7 & 9, suits the song "walking on a dream"

  8. davethegrinch
    davethegrinch ·

    She's a charmer, that's for sure. I now have a light leak in mine. Nothing serious just wonderfully random. The film counter broke after the first roll which is actually good because I now always carry an extra roll of film around. I've taken to using the case it came with now that the summer is here and I don't always have pockets. I look like a tourist in my own town who's stuck in some kind of 1970's timewarp. I love the stupid camera it's so addictive.

  9. emptyjonz
    emptyjonz ·

    Wonderfull camera with more manual settings than a LC-A !

  10. violet_rayy
    violet_rayy ·

    Super review. I wish I could use this. I have shaky hands and think it would be better saved for people who can use it better than me!

  11. neurodiaz
    neurodiaz ·

    Great review bro. Smena 8M, simply awesome.

  12. jdfarrugia
    jdfarrugia ·

    I'm moving onto my third film with this camera and I'm loving it. While I'm not a big flash fan I'm getting interested in trying it out here. From what I read, the flash situation doesn't appear to be very straight forward with the 8M however. Do you have any tips or types of flash I can use with ease on this Smena 8M?

  13. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·

    one smena is never enough...

  14. carolinabhering
    carolinabhering ·

    i just bought mine and can't wait to shoot some rolls! by the way, amazing photos those of yours, in the article. hope i can get results as good as yours!

More Interesting Articles

  • The World According to Herr Willie: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

    written by wil6ka on 2015-07-03 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

    Singapore, like Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, is a likely stopover when you fly far. The city is a tiny urbanized hub but it's very favorable if you know some high-spirited locals. I was lucky to hook up with king kimbo (@hakimbo), who showed me around. He took my lame limbs to the Gardens by the Bay, an amazing place which was visually striking. I was hugging some artificial trees there when I found a baby—a very big baby.

  • The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the New York Fashion Week

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-06-01 in #gear
    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the New York Fashion Week

    Lomography has just launched the new Petzval 58 Bokeh Control lens campaign on Kickstarter. Luckily, I was able to try the prototype of the lens back in February. And if you're in New York City in February, there is one thing you can't miss: the Fashion Week.

  • Travel Stories: June '15 in Peru by sallycanela

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-08-11 in #world #locations
    Travel Stories: June '15 in Peru by sallycanela

    You know that place you always picture in your head when you think of your dream holiday destination? That was Machu Picchu for me. Last May I decided to go for it and embarked on a two-and-a-half-week trip around Peru with my boyfriend.

  • Shop News

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get the perfect self-portraits or group photos with your friends with this instant camera! This camera allows you to be picture ready with its mirror next to the lens and gives you an idea where is best to smile!

  • How (Not) to Make It in New York

    written by carlybrunatti on 2015-09-05 in #world #lifestyle
    How (Not) to Make It in New York

    Everything I had fit into eight boxes and two suitcases. That’s all I had collected in my 22 years on earth, eight boxes and two suitcases. My friends and I moved to Brooklyn in the dead of winter, just after a huge snowstorm. I came from California and had no real experience living in snow. All of it was magical to me.

  • Behind the Picture: The First Photo of Machu Picchu

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-08-28 in #world #lifestyle
    Behind the Picture: The First Photo of Machu Picchu

    Although its existence has always been known among locals, it was only in 1913 when the rest of the world was introduced to the Inca site of Machu Picchu through an expedition headed by Yale University and professor Hiram Bingham.

  • Transient Living: Armitage & McMillan in Denver, Colorado

    written by maliha on 2015-01-07 in #world #locations
    Transient Living: Armitage & McMillan in Denver, Colorado

    If you want to know the heart of a person, peek inside his/her wardrobe! And no, nobody famous said that; I only just made it up. But really, don't you think it's true? After all, the way we dress screams our personality; at least for most of us. And that is why, as soon as I land on a new city, one of the things I absolutely must do is find the local boutiques. Sure, I love the fancy chain boutiques as much as the next person, but there's just something else about a local clothing store. It's unique!

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-04-12 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. March was for caffenol. You have probably heard of the amazing fact that you can develop black and white photos with coffee, sodium, and vitamin C. I had tried this before but with less than stellar results. Somehow, there's always something going wrong. Time to devote a few rolls to caffenol to finally get the hang of it.

  • LomoAmigo: Courtney Barnett

    written by Lomography on 2015-10-14 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Courtney Barnett

    Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett sings about the frustrations, disappointments and the mundane aspects of life in her own animated and sometimes Dylan-esque style. Her debut album "Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit" was released this year and has been getting positive reviews. We tweeted about her new album and she responded to say that she loved Lomography. It was the perfect opportunity for a shoot and an interview.

  • Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-02 in #gear #lifestyle
    Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    Some people say instant photos bring about a feeling of nostalgia. Although I often use the Lomo'Instant Camera with different crazy accessories such as the Splitzer and color gels, I have to agree there is something about it — dreamy vignettes maybe? — that always makes me want to go back in time and experience it all over again. In the name of analogue photography and good old memories, we passed by some classic spots in Vienna and took one shot after the other. Take a closer look at our gallery.

  • Shop News

    Check Revolog 36exp Plexus Effects!

    Check Revolog 36exp Plexus Effects!

    Feeling experimental? We have the perfect film for you. Load up a roll of Revolog Plexus 200 on your favorite 35mm camera and shoot as you normally would.

  • A Weekend in Madrid with the Petzval Lens

    written by ninouchka on 2014-12-10 in #lifestyle
    A Weekend in Madrid with the Petzval Lens

    At the beginning of November, I went to Madrid for the first time. I wanted to bring back home unique memories and photographs of what I was going to discover in the Spanish capital, so I brought the Petzval Lens with me to capture this trip within a beautiful swirling bokeh.

  • My Key to Escaping Digital Confinement: The Lomo LC-Wide

    written by nickpage on 2015-01-09 in #lifestyle
    My Key to Escaping Digital Confinement: The Lomo LC-Wide

    I'm Nick Page, a graphic designer based in the UK. After 20 years of working in advertising, I returned to film photography five years ago and found that the analogue life was just what I needed to get away from the "pixel perfect" images I deal with every day in my job.

  • The World According to Herr Willie: Ilha de Marajó

    written by wil6ka on 2015-11-08 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: Ilha de Marajó

    Brazil is an awesome country for traveling. There's so much to explore, each place very different from one another. It will definitely take a stretch of trips just to get to know this this South American pearl. I finished my copa tour last year in Marajó, the island of bulls—it just might be an eternal highlight for me.