Aiming with Your Smena Symbol


After a couple of rolls using my Smena Symbol and framing many pictures horribly, I finally found out how to frame subjects right and get better pictures from my Symbol!

Credits: clare_eee

I don’t know how many of you have tried out your Smena Symbol and ended up with horribly framed pictures like the one above. I have… Unfortunately for more than a couple of rolls.

When I first got my Symbol, I was so excited to get a roll of film into her and start shooting. And so, I brought her to my hometown, Sandakan in Sabah, to shoot. I was worried about framing my shots as I had read an article reviewing the Symbol, which said that it was pretty hard to estimate the framing as the viewfinder is not compensated for parallax error.

Even so, I was determined to use her and began shooting. My first roll turned out somewhat iffy. And as I had read, it was incredibly hard to estimate how to frame the shot.

Credits: clare_eee

Nevertheless, I loved shooting with my Symbol and so loaded her with another round of film. I ended up with somewhat similar results to the first roll of film

Credits: clare_eee

But on my 3rd roll, I brought it to Central Market in Kuala Lumpur for an outing with a couple of friends. Shooting was a lot of fun, but I when I got my film back, most of the pictures were horribly framed.

Credits: clare_eee

However, I managed to learn something about my beloved Symbol. The lens seems to magnify the object that you are photographing, while the viewfinder kind of decreases the size of the object you’re viewing. These to things combined make you feel like you’re too far away from the object, when in fact you are too near.

Credits: clare_eee

And since the viewfinder is not placed above your lens, instead it is a little to the left, taking vertical shots is a challenge. I still haven’t found a solution to it.

Credits: clare_eee

The best thing to do is to take horizontal shots and from a significant distance. Or if you’re taking of something close, whatever you see through your viewfinder, imagine it 2 times bigger and frame your shot accordingly.

Credits: clare_eee

Hope my tips helped!

written by clare_eee on 2012-04-16 in #gear #tipster #quickie-tipster #viewfinder #smena-symbol #framing #camera #tips


  1. bloomchen
    bloomchen ·

    thanks for sharing.

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I only use it once and I don't remember how it work, however the lenses is not bad at all!

  3. clare_eee
    clare_eee ·

    @bloomchen :) no problem @superlighter yeah, the lenses are really good and produce really sharp images~ ^^

  4. sayekerink
    sayekerink ·

    Hi there! I bought symbol early 2012. I've loaded it with an expired film, I didn't finished the roll though. Did couple of shots. Will shot more soon. Thanks for sharing! I am still learning how to handle this symbol. If you have more tips/info, do tell me. hehe. Thank you so much! ;]

  5. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I have a Smena 8m and the view finder is all the way to the left. I take my pics using my right eye normally. All my shots were miss-framed and way off because I misjudged with my left eye. Now I just look over the top of the camera and skip the viewfinder all together. I like the Smena lens. I hope you get a lot of use out of that camera. :D

  6. clare_eee
    clare_eee ·

    @sayekerink :) glad to hear you got a symbol. It's a wonderful camera and easy to use once you get the hang of it! :) I'll definitely write more tips once I learn more about my symbol! :D
    @neandethalis the smena 8m was one of my first camera choices, but the placement of the viewfinder put me off... so I got the symbol~ ^^ hope you continue shooting with it... even with the miss-framed shots..

  7. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    The first thing I did this morning was looking through the Symbols viewfinder, I lined it up (leftside) with a wall in my house and watched careful where it stopped at the right end (it was a chair) and then I took a shot. Then I took my SLR with 50mm lens on and it gave the same angle of view, while the Smena Symbol has 40mm lens. So Clare_eee has a point, the viewfinder of the Smena does not cover the range of the lens. But when I tried again and watched the Smena’s viewfinder again I noticed the angle of view was really small, like an 85mm. How could that happen. Well my nose was in the way, so my eye was like 1.5cm from the viewfinder. Nex,t I literally made eyecontact with the viewfinder, my eye touched the finder, quite uncomfortable but the angle of view widened a lot. This ofcourse does not correct the parrallax error.

  8. iamtheju
    iamtheju ·

    such a strange little camera. I have one on it's way to me in the post as i speak so i'll post post my successes and (more likely) failures as soon as i get my first roll of film developed.

More Interesting Articles

  • Simple Color Gels or Filters Holder for the Diana Mini's Flash

    written by grungyjodie on 2014-04-25 in #gear #tipster
    Simple Color Gels or Filters Holder for the Diana Mini's Flash

    I've always been looking for a really simple solution to hold my color gels of my Diana Mini's flash WITH the camera and make them easy to grab when I want to use them. I also wanted something to keep them from getting damaged. Let me show you how I found a simple way to make it.

  • Paint the Town Purple: Lomochrome Purple First Impressions

    written by saidseni on 2014-09-07 in #reviews
    Paint the Town Purple: Lomochrome Purple First Impressions

    After many months of reading about the Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 and looking at pictures on the website, I finally can say a word or two about my own experience with the latest Lomography film.

  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Shop News

    Uncrate Long Lost Lomography Treasures - 30% Off in our Discount Section

    Uncrate Long Lost Lomography Treasures - 30% Off in our Discount Section

    Fly over to our 30% Discount Section to discover previously unavailable Editions & Clones! Be quick and make one yours before they are all gone again!

  • I am a Mad Analogue Scientist: New Experiments with 35mm Films and Chemicals

    written by blackfairy on 2014-08-07 in #gear #tipster
    I am a Mad Analogue Scientist: New Experiments with 35mm Films and Chemicals

    Unfortunately, it happens sometimes that your resulting pictures are not what you expected - the image doesn't look that good, the colors are bland, and the subject is banal. Indeed, it couldn't be picture of the year! Herein I propose a second chance for your pictures by modifying your 35mm negatives. Just pick up some ideas from here, experiment, and scan your negatives with the Lomography Smartphone Scanner. Anything is possible: burning, scratching, putting on hydrochloric acid, balsamic vinegar, nail polish, bleach, or raspberry juice... use your imagination and write down your new film soup recipe! You can find a sample of the effects in this article.

  • 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.

  • Stacy_mcpommes and her Weapon of Choice: Lubitel 166B

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-10-09 in #lifestyle
    Stacy_mcpommes and her Weapon of Choice: Lubitel 166B

    Not knowing exactly how to do deal with its odd appearance, Nadica first regarded the Lubitel 166B as a complete monstrosity. She left it untouched on her shelf for months after receiving it as a gift. After using other Lomo cameras and getting familiar with the rules on exposure, she finally had the courage to test it. Find out what made stacy_mcpommes fall in love with the Lubitel 166B in this installment of Weapon of Choice!

  • Shop News

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Build vivid hanging LomoCurtains, robust free-standing LomoCastles, and dazzling mounted LomoMosaics! Just click them together with the Lomography Photoclips!

  • Sprocket Rocket: a Great Camera for Your Beach Life!

    written by sirio174 on 2014-07-09 in #reviews
    Sprocket Rocket: a Great Camera for Your Beach Life!

    If you are looking for a panoramic camera to document your adventures on the beach, you should try the Sprocket Rocket. It's easy to use, cheap, and can get you amazing results! In this article, you can see how I used this camera to document a short vacation in Liguria, from Varazze to Alassio. Take a look after the jump!

  • My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-05 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    For a short time, Blaine Vernicek, otherwise known as clownshoes in our Community, needed to be away from his beloved muse, Miss Katie, and stay in another state because of his new job. But thanks to his Lomo Smena Symbol, he was able to bring with him photographs of his sweetheart that somehow helped him forget the unnerving distance between them. Read on to find out more about this heartwarming story in this installment of My First Lomo Affair!

  • Lomography x We Were Evergreen Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-05-05 in #competitions
    Lomography x We Were Evergreen Rumble

    Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty because Lomography has teamed up with super cool indie-pop electro band We Were Evergreen to give away 2 tickets to their London Scala show on May 15th and a Pop9 camera. You're just a few clicks away from finding out how to participate.

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Fresh from the Lomolab: Yoga for Charity in Cernobbio

    written by sirio174 on 2014-06-25 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lomolab: Yoga for Charity in Cernobbio

    A few days ago, I received from the Lomolab the scans of a roll that I used a couple of weeks ago when I documented a Yoga for Africa public demonstration in Cernobbio, a small town near the city of Como, using my Sprocket Rocket. In this article I'll explain to you the reason that led me to choose this camera. Read more after the jump!

  • Side Effects: Cocktail Red Passion

    written by simonesavo on 2014-07-16 in #gear #tipster
    Side Effects: Cocktail Red Passion

    This month, I'll be teaching you how to use different techniques to add effects to your photos. BE patient enough and follow these quick tips to find out how I manipulated my film to achieve reddish tones in my photos.

  • Skate Spots Around the World: A Skater and his Shadow

    written by sirio174 on 2014-06-07 in #world #locations
    Skate Spots Around the World: A Skater and his Shadow

    While walking in Como with my Praktica camera, I found a young skater at a square in my city. After having chosen an elevated position on an overpass, I mounted my 85mm lens and played about with his performance and his shadow. Check it out after the jump!