There are many, many reviews of the LC-A. This one is different. This one is about the LC-A Russian Lens. This one steps back and looks at the heart of the LC-A and why you should want one.
It seems strange to write a review for the LC-A aimed at Lomographers. Amongst our ilk, the camera is ubiquitous. The go-to tool.
I think the thing to highlight is that it does have competitors, there are other LC-A’s. You can ebay an original, you can choose a completely new one with Chinese glass, or you can choose the wide version and maybe you will. This review is intended to explain why you may not want to.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. No LC-A, no Lomography. It’s the camera that started it all. Is this a good enough reason to buy one? I think so. Jeremy Clarkson of English Top Gear says you can’t be a petrol head unless you’ve owned an Alpha Romeo. You can’t be a Lomographer without owning a Lomo camera. Yes there are other cameras, like the Olympus Trip or the XA series, you may have one, but does that make you a Lomographer? I don’t know. You may have the spirit, but you don’t have the tool.
Why the LC-A? The LC-A has some, not unique, but definitely fascinating attributes and perhaps the combination of them is unique.
The lens enhances the contrast of colours in colour photography. This makes for wonderful, colourful shots, it enhances reality.
The distance of the film in the camera to the lens causes a vignetting effect. This draws the eye to the middle of the picture, which really frames snapshot photography.
Ease of use, the camera is automatic, except for focussing and this is a simple operation.
The LC-Wide is simply a tricked out, wider version of an LC-A but in truth, it isn’t an LC-A; it’s a hybrid, an excellent hybrid, but we don’t have to talk about it here anymore.
Many of my Lomography friends are sticklers for ‘original’ — they want or have an original LC-A , the full Russian deal. They struggle with light leaks and jamming. I don’t. My LC-A is reliable I can also shoot a wider range of film types. But to an extent, I am like them. I want the original but I want reliability. I get the best of both worlds with the Russian Lens version.
So in essence you have a reliable camera that can produce shots more interesting than any digital camera (these strive for perfection), is as easy to use as any auto point and shoot (analogue or otherwise), and one that lets you into a club of thousands of like-minded, creative artistic people.
Why wouldn’t you want one?