Lomo Smena Symbol: A Wonderful Lens!

2

This camera has a wonderful lens, I liken it to the Olympus Trip 35. How does the rest of the camera fare? Overweight tank or heavyweight contender? Find out in this review!

Photo via Lomography Online Shop

A while ago now I picked up all three of the similar iterations of the Smena, the 8M, Symbol, and 35. I got to know them all equally, and posted a review of my findings, briefly covering my experience with each.

At the time I favored the 35, it was light, easy to use and just worked. However, over time I’ve discovered a few quirks that have shifted it down the stacking order.

My 35 leaks light. Not all the time, but enough to bother if you want to experience just that lovely lens, and less Lomo randomness. It also jams which is the most frustrating thing about it. It’s easy to waste a third of a film.

Which brings me back to the purpose of this article, the review of the Smena Symbol. When I bought it mine needed fixing to get the hot shoe to work, and since the review some intense fiddling to get the film counter to work at the same time — but I’ve done it.

Now I’m happy, because the camera is a reliable, easy to use tank. It’s biggish and it’s heavy, but not too much to be as wearisome as some older film SLRs can be.

Crispy, crunchy, contrast. Especially when x-pro’d

But most importantly, one of the most attractive things about the Smenas is the quality of the lens. The lens gives a marvelously crisp and crunchy result, I put it on the same pedestal as the wonderful Olympus Trip 35.

It’s a very contrasty lens, which creates the ‘crunch’ and produces the same beautiful colours that the LC-A does. The photos it takes are a sort of cross between the LC-A and the Lubitel. Sharp like the Lubitel, crisp like the Lubitel but in a convenient 35mm box.

Lots to like, easily focussed due to the way the aperture is set.

The most scary thing about the Smenas and the Symbol is setting up a shot. You must guess focus, like you do the LC-A, but the range of focus is continuous, there are the usual symbols you can use but they are on a rotatable lens barrel, so there is every variation in between also. These are marked in both feet and metres. So if you are good at guessing, then you’ll get great results.

Unlike the LC-A, guessing the aperture and the shutter speed is also up to you — though this is made quite easy. When you load the film, you set the ISO on the front of the lens (on the Symbol these settings are in a different system, you need to convert). This is actually setting the aperture for you. Once done all you have to do is set the shutter speed, which is again done through the usual symbol set. On the Symbol you can see these symbols on the top of the barrel, the actual speeds are marked underneath.

I use this system for most of my Smena shots. It works and if you have good light and a slow film, the aperture is quite small so you get a good depth of field and everything is in focus.

This breaks down in low light. The cloudier settings are very slow shutter speeds, almost guaranteed to produce camera shake. In these situations or when using flash (BTW the camera is synched at all speeds, not common in any camera!), you need to remember your sunny 16 or start working out the best aperture, shutter speed combo.

Interiors with low light and flash work well after some practice.

In summary I love this camera. It’s sturdy, easy to use in bright light and produces quite stunning photos. I recommend it to everyone, beginners included – who will learn a lot from comparing the symbols on it with the numbers, it’ll teach you sunny 16!

Read more about Sunny 16 Rule here.

Read my original review of all three Smenas here.

written by adam_g2000 on 2012-08-24 in #reviews #symbol #contrasty #contrast #lomo #smena #crisp #camera #lens

2 Comments

  1. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I used this camera only once and I remember I was pleased with the results under different light conditions.

  2. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I do like the Smena lens, I just took the 8M with me on a trip to California. The lens was nice in the desert with the same set up of Aperture and shutter speed system. I wouldn't mind giving a Symbol a whirl.

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomopedia: Olympus Trip AF 50/51

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-05-07 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Olympus Trip AF 50/51

    A simple point-and-shoot camera from the 2000s, the Olympus Trip AF 50 follows the "Trip" tradition of providing travelers with a fuss-free shooting experience for documenting their adventures. Find out more about this modern Olympus Trip camera in this installment of Lomopedia!

    1
  • 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!

    7
  • In Focus: Supersampler

    written by cheeo on 2014-07-08 in #lifestyle
    In Focus: Supersampler

    What does it take to be hailed as the “Queen of all Multi-Lens Cameras?” Find out in this instalment of In Focus!

  • Shop News

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    Enjoy a truly analogue moviemaking experience with Lomography's 35mm movie camera and an accompanying accessory to watch your films with. View your masterpieces in the most analogue way possible with the LomoKinoscope. Get it now 20% off the regular price!

  • My First Lomo Affair: Kekskonstrukt and her Fisheye One

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-05-08 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Kekskonstrukt and her Fisheye One

    Back in 2010, while looking for a small camera to take with her on a short trip to London, Helene chanced upon the wonderful Fisheye One. Despite having zero knowledge of shooting about shooting with fisheyes, she gave in to her instincts and bought the camera. Let's all find out how Helene's First Lomo Affair with the Fisheye One got her deeper into analogue photography!

    1
  • Taking Back Tipsters: Go Lomo Loco with the LC-Wide

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-14 in #gear #tipster
    Taking Back Tipsters: Go Lomo Loco with the LC-Wide

    With its ultra-wide and ultra-dependable Minigon lens, the Lomo LC-Wide is an easy contender for Lomography favorite among our community members. Learn a trick or two on using the LC-Wide and why it makes an easy favorite through this compilation of quick tipsters

  • Reviews on Rewind: Lomography Earl Grey B&W 100 ISO 35mm

    written by chooolss on 2014-10-29 in #reviews
    Reviews on Rewind: Lomography Earl Grey B&W 100 ISO 35mm

    Classy, moody photographs in monochrome and with fine grain - what more could you ask for from one of Lomography's very own black and white emulsion for standard 35mm cameras, the Earl Grey? Find out how this film fared among six of our community members in this Reviews on Rewind installment!

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Expired Earl Grey: Does It Taste Nice?

    written by Xiang Cong Tham on 2015-02-22 in #gear #reviews
    Expired Earl Grey: Does It Taste Nice?

    A lot of lomographers have experienced using and even writing about the greatness of the Lomography Earl Grey black and white 35mm ISO 100 film. However, no one has written about using an expired Earl Grey film yet. How does it fare when it is used expired? Read on to find out more.

    2
  • 'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    written by zonderbar on 2014-10-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    Steffen Böttcher's blog is already home to some very beautiful portraits taken with the New Petzval Lens. But the Petzval does so much more than just taking beautiful portraits; Böttcher recently took the lens with him on a mobile home adventure across the South of France. Find out more about the German photographer and his road trip in this exclusive interview.

  • The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    written by Lorraine Healy on 2015-03-23 in #gear #reviews
    The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    An Argentinean writer and photographer living in the Pacific Northwest, Lorraine Healy is a long-time fan of plastic cameras and is the author of "Tricks With A Plastic Wonder," a manual for achieving better results with a Holga camera, available in eBook form at Amazon.com. In this article, Healy explains how she fell hard in love with the Lomography XPro Slide 200 film and why she takes it on her many travels.

    3
  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • Deepfried_goodness and His Weapon of Choice: Horizon Perfekt

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-05-01 in #lifestyle
    Deepfried_goodness and His Weapon of Choice: Horizon Perfekt

    Fascinated by its distinct swing lens, Keith Attard, more popularly known in the Communiy as deepfried_goodness, regards the Horizon Perfekt as a unique gem. Find out what Keith has to say about this powerful panoramic camera in this installment of Weapon of Choice!

    2
  • My First Lomo Affair: Wesco and his La Sardina

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-07-17 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Wesco and his La Sardina

    It may take a while for some lomographers to figure out the perfect combination of camera, film, and accessory that suit their needs. But, Wessel de Haas, aka wesco, has been extremely lucky to find his early on his journey to Lomography. Find out what film and accessory he likes pairing his La Sardina 8Ball with in this edition of My First Lomo Affair!

    2
  • In Focus: Lomography x Zenit Petzval Art Lens

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-17 in #lifestyle
    In Focus: Lomography x Zenit Petzval Art Lens

    Revamping the classic design of the Petzval Lens born in Vienna, Lomography has indeed gone beyond what is needed to bring analogue shooters and filmmakers a one-of-a-kind lens in the new Petzval Art Lens. Read on to find out more about this high-quality lens after the jump.