The LOMO Smena Symbol


An odd but pleasing combination of fully manual controls and small size which was manufactured in the USSR

The Smena Symbol is not ideal for people who have to shoot quickly and lack the time to adjust shutter speed, aperture, focus and crank the film. You have to think some before “just shooting”. It’s waterproof enough for some rain and going to the beach. You can take it pretty much everywhere else. It gives sharp pictures without a lot of fuzz or color distortion. So they’re not very “Lomographic” color-wise unless you modify your film. If you’re looking for color distortion, fuzziness, and unpredictability, buy a Holga or Diana. Definitely capable of taking more serious photos.

The cameras sports a Triplet 43/40 mm lens. The aperture can be adjusted by this little ring around the lens. hard to do if you trim your nails closely. f4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16. Shutter speeds are 1/15 to 1/250 (weather symbols for assistance) and there’s a B setting for longer exposures. don’t use ISO 800 or above in bright sunlight. It’ll get over exposed. Focusing is easy. just twist the lens barrel. It’s numbered from 1 meter to infinity with metric and british standard units.

Instead of a button on top to open the shutter, there’s a lever next to the lens. It’s more ergonomic than you’d think. There’s a hotshoe for flash on the top center, and a tripod screw on the bottom. No lens cap or hole for a neck strap, but it comes with a case that covers the lens and has a strap. Be careful when loading the film; the little tooth on the film spool (where the film loads onto from the cartridge) doesn’t catch the film sometimes. Try using tape if you have that problem. Focusing is unaided, since this is a very basic camera and lacks a range finder. Over 10 million were made before it went out of production in 1993 and there’s probably some floating around at a thrift store nearby or on resale stores online for thirty, twenty dollars.

Anyways, the Smena Symbol is easy to use (if kind of slow) and it takes excellent photos that can range from totally Lomographic to classic and composed. It all depends on what the photographer does. You have a lot of control. The LOMO Smena Symbol does not guarantee photographic awesomeness unless the photographer had it before buying the camera.

written by rose_screw_selavy on 2010-04-15 #gear #deadstock #35mm #review #soviet #smena-symbol #manual


  1. stouf
    stouf ·

    Nice review and shots ! And I love the concluding sentence ! : )

  2. paramir
    paramir ·

    interesting and detailed review, nice gallery... great conclusion indeed :)

  3. dogma
    dogma ·

    It was one of my first cameras! love it till now :)

  4. makeyuu
    makeyuu ·

    no 6 is totally brill

  5. mcrstar
    mcrstar ·

    5,6,8 and 18 is awesome! Cool story and photos!

  6. rose_screw_selavy
    rose_screw_selavy ·

    well, this is weird. They published this article twice, with different sub-headings and pictures.

  7. bonooobong
    bonooobong ·

    Great review, I think I'm going to give it a try, my father still has got his one in the garage :) I can remember on the leather case of it. And we also have a smena 8m, but the symbol model is pretty much better and more professional.

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