The Elikon 535 is one of my prized possessions. Didn’t order this from LSI though, I came across this little Russian camera at a flea market (sounds familiar, no?).
At first glance, it’s just an ordinary 35mm point-and-shooter from yesteryear. But take a closer look and you’ll notice all sorts of awesomeness the camera offers. I’ve heard people say the 535 is a “poor man’s LC-A” due to its multicoated Minar 2 lens. I have to agree, the output has all the ingredients of a good lomo picture; classic tinge, screwy colors and vignettes especially when using slide films.
Another interesting feature is the ability to manually set the focusing and aperture. I think it’s great when lomographers have control over their tools of trade, albeit limited in this case. Focal range is measured by a dial with three icons; Portrait (1 meter), Group (about 3 meters) or Building/Trees (infinity). Being an aperture- priority camera, the appropriate shutter speed is served according to the aperture selected using a slider with weather icons. You can also opt to use the traditional f-numbers 16 to 3.8. At the bottom of the camera is an additional slider for film speed; ASA/ISO 50, 100, 200 and 400.
Technical issues aside, the camera is lightweight and easy to carry around if you’re the type of people who go by Golden Rule #1. What stands out is the conspicuous red shutter button and Cyrillic lettering on the camera body. A practical lens blind not only protects the Minar 2, it also prevents the shutter release from going off accidentally. The viewfinder isn’t properly aligned with the lens so it takes some time to get used to. Atypical than most viewfinders, this one has a purplish pink tint to it for reasons unknown. Other traits include the standard hotshoe that will sync with basically any flash. I recommend using the Colorsplash Flash so it wouldn’t be top heavy. There’s also the tripod thread but I don’t think it’s of any use since the 535 doesn’t have bulb mode or timer.
In conclusion, the Elikon 535 is definitely a good choice for lomographers alike, be it a beginner trying to take their first lomographic steps or a seasoned veteran looking for something to add to their ever-increasing camera collection.