The LC-Wide is the latest update to Lomography's founding camera, the LOMO LC-A. In some respects it's a refinement of the models that have led to this point (the camera is housed in the same distinctive body as the original LC-A and its predecessor, the LC-A+). However as its name indicates, there's a whole lot more to this latest generation of LOMO.
The defining feature of the LC-Wide is, of course, its super-wide 17mm f4.5 MINIGON1 lens. Allowing its users to dive right into the scenes they’re photographing and getting up close and personal with their subjects, while still producing shots with the same vibrant colors, deep saturation, vignetting, and other occasional quirks as the MINITAR1 lens of its predecessors.
But the lens is not the only feature that sets this model apart from earlier LC-A’s.
A quick glance at the base plate of the camera reveals a little switch beneath the multiple exposure (MX) slider, which allows its user to choose between shooting full frame/square pictures (FF/S) or half frame (HF) shots on a roll.
The ability to shoot half frame not only doubles the number of shots you can squeeze onto a roll of film (which is a massive benefit in itself), but it also allows you to access a focal length comparable to the 32mm lens of the classic LC-A. Two focal lengths in one LOMO! This is huge.
The integrated lens blinds on this model open horizontally and serve the double purpose of protecting the lens/viewfinder when closed, and setting the framing parameters between half and full frame when open.
What else? Focussing this LOMO is easier than ever before, with only two zones of focus: 0.4-0.9m for close ups and 0.9-infinity for everything else. This means less fiddling with controls and more capturing of decisive moments for the lomographer.
Finally this model has an extra little bump on either side of the lens/viewfinder assembly with a classy lick of red paint over the top of each for good measure.
Lomo LC-Wide specification highlights:
- Super-wide 17mm f4.5 MINIGON1 lens
- Half-frame option converts (approximately) to original 32mm lens
- Square-frame option
- ISO 100-1600
- Automatic exposure
- Multiple Exposure (MX) switch
- 2 Zone Focus (0.4-0.9m & 0.9m-infinity)
- Flash hotshoe with second-curtain shutter
- Thread socket for cable release in shutter button
Things to Watch Out for When Using the Lomo LC-Wide
There are two red lights in the viewfinder which should light up whenever you press the shutter release button halfway, one of which will go off when you press the full way and trip the shutter. The idea behind these is that as long as they are lighting up, the batteries should be working. However in my experience of using the camera, the batteries had enough juice to light these up at the end of their lives, but not enough to actually open the shutter, resulting in some blank rolls and much frustrated hair pulling.
A better indicator is the subtle sound that the shutter makes when the batteries are out of juice: a single tinny “clunk” rather than the usual double “click” of the shutter opening and closing.
Besides battery function, you’ll want to be careful not to advance the film too quickly and check that the film winding handle turns when you wind on between shots. If it doesn’t, there’s a good chance you’ve torn the sprockets. You’ll want to take the camera into a very dark room and carefully open the back to advance the film manually past the torn sprockets if this is the case.
Also be sure to check the zone focus when you pick up the camera to make sure it’s at the right setting. It’s very easy to think that everything on this camera is automatic and forget to set the right focus.
Finally, because this camera’s lens is so wide, often the tip of your finger may find its way into your pictures if you’re not careful about how you hold it while shooting. My advice is to try and keep your fingers behind the little bumps with the classy red licks of paint, well away from raised sides of the lens/viewfinder assembly.
I’ve used the LC-Wide with a wide range of films in a wide array of situations and I’ve found the best results by far to be with the Lomography 100asa Fine Color film as it renders the most saturated and vibrant colors with a very pleasing vignetting effect.
In addition to generally adhering to the 10 golden rules, it especially pays to keep rule #5 in mind and get as close to your subjects with the LC-Wide as possible so they adequately fill the frame. The camera’s compact and small size makes this is fairly easy to do in most friendly social situations, as you can see in the picture above where my wife is getting cozy with very a large and happy serpent.
The LC-Wide is the latest edition of the classic camera we’ve all come to love and treasure, but with a wider lens, even simpler controls and an extra helping of versatility, making it a very handy combination for any analogue enthusiast.