Good, bad and a little bit ugly. Looking like a box, the Smena 8M has a lot more to it than a first glance might suggest.
image from camerapedia
Produced as a cheap camera in the Soviet Union the Smena 8M looks like a plastic box with a lens stuck on it, but is in fact so much more. With fully manual shutter speeds, aperture and range finder focusing the Smena 8M is the obvious step up from a more simple toy camera (such as the Holga 135BC in my case) to a more sophisticated camera with greater control over your photographs, whilst keeping the charm of a toy camera and not breaking the bank.
As well as its low price the Smena also boasts a coated glass lens which provides sharp, vivid and saturated results, and the ability to re-cock the shutter without advancing the film means that double-exposures are a breeze.
However, whilst the Smena has many pros, it also has a number of cons. Cocking the shutter before taking each photograph is a chore, and when you take a picture 9 times out of 10 on your first roll the lever that you used to cock the shutter will get caught on your finger, meaning that the shutter speed will be different. Although you do get used to these flaws the more you use the camera.
Overall, using this camera is a learning curve, and it’s unlikely the first roll you take will be a great success. However, throughout use you will get used to using the settings to their greatest advantage, and will also get used to it’s flaws, and maybe even learn to love them.