One of the cheapest, widely available toy cameras out there: the lovely Lomo Smena 8M. I've found that she is a seriously sentimental trinket. This camera is a great addition to any Lomographer's collection. And have you seen the price?
The name of this camera, Smena, translates to “Young Generation.”
My Smena 8M was one of my first Lomo cameras, after my Diana Mini. My amazing boyfriend bought me the Diana Mini while on a trip to San Francisco, and I immediately wanted more. Due to my somewhat meager pocketbook, this cheap camera seemed like a great choice. Bought one on eBay for $9 and waited in anticipation!
Needless to say, this is a seriously manual camera. There are settings for focal distance, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. But what’s nice is the dial on the front of the lens connects your choice aperture to ISO, or vice versa. I’m a huge fan of large aperture (the Smena 8M opens wide up to f 1/4), so I kept in mind to usually keep my shutter speed at the highest, 1/250, to avoid overexposure.
I absolutely love the mechanics of this camera, and I find them to be pretty cute. The symbols drawn on the camera to help one remember the focal distances are priceless. But the viewfinder is extremely useless, set on a corner of the camera….but nevertheless, it is there — which makes me laugh every time when someone tries to look into it. The Russian lens is a decent “triplet” lens gives a reliable batch of robust, saturated, and sharp photos. And the best part? The shutter cock/release! In order to set the shutter, there’s an archaic lever that is pushed down. Then, by pressing the release, the lever swings back upward, making a cool swish sound. MX? Just push down the lever and release again!
There are other parts about this camera that I could go into more detail about, but overall I’ve come to the conclusion that the Lomo Smena 8m has got huge amounts of sentimentality, charm, and approachability.
I’d say, with such a low price, you can’t afford NOT to have this gem in your collection! It will give anyone great practice for estimating light exposures and you’ll look like a true Lomographer fiddling with this Lomo Smena 8M! :)