Is the one to choose for all you creative and restless Lomographers! The settings and techniques possible with this camera are endless and I promise you will never be bored again, no matter where you are, with this one by your side. The name 'Smena' (young generation) is therefore completely appropriate.
Smena 35 is the latest model of the Smena series. I chose this after being familiar with the older Smena 8M, which I also love. The problem I had with the 8M however was that as they are getting old now and both the two 8Ms I bought were starting to have various problems with them. (No connection with the flash; shutter let light in when the shutter cock was pulled.) That’s why I decided to upgrade to the Smena 35 and bought one that had never been used, that came in the original box. It comes with a wacky, bright pink case that you can attach to your belt. It also has a wrist strap, a lens cap and a nice little manual in Russian.
The Smena 35s were produced until the mid 90s so the risk of having problems is less and the design of the camera is very cool and more sleek compared to the older ones. It has slight indentation where your thumb would fit and grooves and curves for a better grip of the camera. This along with the wrist strap makes you feel that this camera has been designed with care and with the user in mind. Another improvement from the older models is the hot shoe that makes using a flash easier.
The lens is ‘hard coated, three-element anastigmat T-43’ (according to the “translated manua”l:www.kataan.org/smena35 ) and produces sharp, saturated photos. You can set the aperture from 4 to 16 and the speeds from 1/15 to 1/250 secs as well as a B setting for long exposures. When using this camera with the aperture set to 4, make sure you focus carefully and the photos will have an amazing depth of field. It is important to consider these settings before every picture and this might be a bit tricky for beginners. New users might find this camera frustrating to use at first before you get used to how these settings behave together with different types of film. My advice is to just be patient, shoot lots of film and with experience you will produce amazing, fun and unique photos.
One of my favorite things to do with this camera is to take double (or multiple) exposures. Try shooting double landscapes, overlapping buildings on a cloudy day and multiply people at night time with a flash. Once you master this you will absolutely love this camera to bits! Also try shooting without using the viewfinder for some interesting compositions. The lightness of the camera makes it fun to point it around in all kinds of directions and snap unexpected portraits (for some genuine facial expressions). The ‘35’ also works really well with cross processing.
My only disappointment when buying this camera is that there is no longer a hole for a cable release on the shutter button. I never use this camera on a tripod for this reason, as I would probably cause the camera to shake anyway when pressing the shutter. The camera takes nice long exposure shots however, but I have noticed a few annoying flares that appear in my long exposures that really should not be there! Whether this is me or a flaw in the camera I am not sure of. Another quirk that happens quite often is a red semi-circle that appears at one end of the photo. Some kind of red reflection. This looks cool though!
The camera is so light and small and is very convenient to bring around with you anywhere. With this in your bag you are ready to shoot and have fun in all kinds of surroundings and situations. I recommend this camera to Lomographers who always want to try out new things and who always try to improve their techniques.