Cosmic 35: A Lovely Little Lomo Camera


As part of my Soviet camera collection, I had to have a completely manual compact and one day hoped to own an automatic one. And you all know which camera that will involve buying. I recently got the Cosmic 35, or the Smena 8, a small viewfinder camera made by the Soviet manufacturer Lomo.

I bought the Cosmic 35 off eBay about a week ago for the sum of £6.70. It arrived swiftly and came in mint condition and included a lovely little leather Lomo case. After testing the camera on all speed and checking, the aperture the camera was ready to have its first day out.

Here are the specs of the Cosmic 35:

  • The model is similar with Smena-6 but has an added film rewind, possible to use just one cassette with take-up spool and blocking system
  • Pop-up rewind knob
  • Shutter speeds of 1/15 to 1/250 plus B with synchronizer
  • Lens: T-43 (Triplet) 40 mm f/4
  • Aperture: f/4-f/16
  • Hot-shoe
  • Self-timer

I used a cap from a Kodak film canister as a lens cap as it fits perfectly.

The first thing I noticed about the camera was how surprisingly heavy and solid it was. I also noticed that gripping the camera with my long skinny fingers was going to be difficult without disrupting the shutter release.

Anyway as you may have read in my Pentax Espio Mini review, I participate in “A Roll in a Day/Day in a Roll” on Flickr, I decided to use this camera for that particular day and I thought I would treat it to some lovely Ilford FP4+ as it was a relatively bright day.

So I waited for May 19th to come as it was the chosen day for the Flickr project mentioned above. I jumped onto a train to my nearest town and decided to use my Cosmic 35 for some street photography as it is very small, discreet, and has a very quiet shutter. The camera fits nicely into my coat pocket and was very easy to quickly grab when I wanted to take a photo of something. Focusing is done by guessing the distance between you and your subject. It is relatively easy and if you use manual focus cameras often you should be able to do it quickly.

Anyway here are some of the results from the day:

As you can see, the images are nicely sharp and has lovely contrast and tones, and I’m pretty sure it would produce lovely colors, and combined with Ilford FP4+ it looks fantastic, I found that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought to grip and I only blocked the shutter once (image 5). Also please note that the double exposure was accidental.

Overall, the Cosmic 35 or Smena 8 is a lovely little mechanical Lomo compact, and I think it would be a great partner for the LC-A. The glass triplet lens produces lovely images that have a unique look and feel, so if you have a spare 7 quid definitely pick one up and load it with some black and white and hit the streets.

Thanks for reading! Keep shooting!

This article was written by Community member brandkow93.

written by brandkow93 on 2012-06-04 #gear #monochrome #review #street-photography #lomography #smena-8 #ilford-fp4 #lomo #user-review #cosmic-35


  1. alex34
    alex34 ·

    I've seen these a lot in shop windows and junk shops. Enjoy it, they have a bit of a cult reputation for the high quality photos they give. Only downside-they apparently break incredibly easily :-(

  2. nineteen68
    nineteen68 ·

    Ive just bought one of ebay and I'm really looking forward to seeing what it can do.

  3. caitchew
    caitchew ·

    hello! i recently just got one of these cosmic 35 but i have no clue how to work it! could you give me some help? :)

  4. caitchew
    caitchew ·

    hello! i recently just got one of these cosmic 35 but i have no clue how to work it! could you give me some help? :)

  5. mikefromlfe
    mikefromlfe ·

    @caitchew The manual is available online as a pdf - search "lomo cosmic 35 manual butkus" (Mike Butkus puts lots of old camera manuals up online - he asks for a donation if you use his site)

  6. mfdaustrey
    mfdaustrey ·

    Just got a 3rd version copy off eBay. This was my first 35mm camera in the mid 60s. The only problem was the accidental double exposures. I had a small ring over the shutter release to help avoid this. The lens gave really good results, helped by them not making it wider than f4.

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